Richard Thomas's comedy career began in 1987, doing a musical act on keyboards. In 2000, he wrote and performed a one-act opera called Tourette’s Diva with four actors, which aired at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Thomas had the idea for an opera based on Jerry Springer at this time, and wrote it over the next two years, chiefly in workshops at Battersea Arts Centre. Thomas would offer a "Beer for an Idea", where any audience members submitting a good idea would be rewarded with a can of Foster's (and poor ideas with a supermarket store brand).
After a number of small scale performances of the first act, which was in much the same shape as it remains today, the second act (where the characters descend into hell) was vague and unformed. Thomas brought his friend Stewart Lee in to assist with the writing. Six months later, the opera was in a far more recognisable state, and was snapped up by the National Theatre.
Thomas has also worked on BBC comedy shows such as Attention Scum and This Morning with Richard Not Judy. Starting on 25 February 2007, BBC Two aired his series, Kombat Opera, comprising five standalone musical parodies of well-known television programmes.
- http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/?lid=7662 Interview with Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2003/nov/11/classicalmusicandopera3 Maddy Costa, "Jerry Springer the Opera" The Guardian 11 November 2003
- http://www.olivierawards.com/about/previous-winners/view/item98547/Olivier-Winners-2004/ "Olivier Winners 2004"
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jan/22/mark-anthony-turnage-opera-composer "Mark-Anthony Turnage: A life in music" Nicholas Wroe The Guardian 22 January 2011