Raymond is one of New Zealand’s most senior practitioners in the Performing Arts arena. His impressive repertoire (now spanning fifty years) commenced in 1955 when he became a member of The New Zealand Players (New Zealand’s first major professional theatre company under the direction of Richard Campion) with whom he toured for two and a half years. In 1957 he was granted a NZ Government Bursary to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London (RADA).
On his graduation from RADA in 1959 he pursued a career in the UK as a singer, actor and dancer but became aware that his interest in the performing arts was moving towards directing for theatre and to the teaching of acting. A career change into these areas was successful and he remained in England for the next 13 years, returning to RADA to teach and direct.
Raymond returned to New Zealand in 1971 and joined the Mercury Theatre (then under the directorship of Anthony Richardson) and within two years had instigated the formation of Theatre Corporate (a Community Theatre/ Theatre in Education / Resource Centre) in Auckland. He was Director of Theatre Corporate for eight years until 1981.
In 1982 he was Director of the National Opera for New Zealand. He directed two landmark operas for the company, Brecht/Weills’ The Rise and Fall of the City of MahagonnyT and Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.
In 1985 Raymond was appointed Director of Mercury Theatre. This was a major position he held for seven years. During his tenure there he directed 12 major operas, numerous musicals and a wide variety of classic and modern plays.
In 1992 he established his own acting studio, THE ACTOR’S SPACE. This recessed in 1997 but resumed classes in June 2005. In November of 1997 he became the Head of Major in ‘Directing and Writing for Theatre and Screen’ at UNITEC School of Performing and Screen Arts. At the end of his sixth year involvement, he was made Head of School.
Raymond directed the first Auckland Theatre company production LOVELOCK’S DREAM RUN and has acted and directed for the Company in the last 16 years. Highlights include performances in SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME, TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT, THE JUDAS KISS, WAITING FOR GODOT, WHO WANTS TO BE 100? and THE CRUCIBLE.
Other directing credits include LE SUD, ANGELS IN AMERICA, THREE TALL WOMEN, THE HERBAL BED, JULIUS CAESAR, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, CABARET, INTO THE WOODS, TRAVESTIES, HIGH SOCIETY and OLIVER!.
In the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Raymond was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for Services to the Theatre.