I began my career working as part of the Mercury Theatre Company, a rep company in Colchester staging modern classics. The ideology of this organisation was the work on the stage is as important as the work that takes place in the community, and this has carried through my work. It is this grounding that built the foundations of my values in outward-looking, inclusive, community-engaged theatre while continually striving for excellence.
Beyond my roles on stage in the Mercury Theatre Company productions, I undertook numerous assistant director role on main-stage productions at the Mercury, I undertook roles in stage management, community and education projects, and ultimately directing and producing new work. I believe this multidisciplinary approach to my learning is the foundation of my career today: my skill set is broad, and my understanding is interconnected. I believe it is very important to know the whole machine in order to understand how my cog best fits.
During my studies at RCS I undertook a placement at the National Theatre Scotland shadowing Laurie Sansom, artistic director, and the senior management team for four months. My time there explored the connections between departments, how work is communicated to audiences, and the tricky balance of a national artistic programme.
It is through assisting Tony Casement, Dee Evans, and Gari Jones that I built my approach to directing work, growing a playful and bold style in the process. The heavy use of sound design, irreverence and emotional undercurrents of their work can be seen plainly in my own. My work with Graham McLaren on projects from 2015 promoted ambition, scale, and how to make work collaboratively. This is the backbone on my practice today.
Colchester Gazette – Young actor’s view of life at the Mercury (10 Apr 2011)
Creative Scotland – Saving the world (…ish) at Chrysalis Youth Theatre Festival (13 Nov 2017)
YTAS – Directing Emergence (20 Jul 2018)
Header photo: Andy Catlin for YTAS
Photos, top to bottom: Lukas Dagilis
Tommy Ga-Ken Wan