You’ve worked with many regional theatres in your career to date. What have been the highlights?
This is tough – every company I’ve worked with has given me the opportunity to be part of projects that I’ve been proud of, but a few particularly stand out. Firstly, AMERICANS by Eric Schlosser at the Arcola back in 2003; when Dominic (Dromgoole) suggested that we produce this unknown play about the Assignation of a US President I didn’t know much about, I thought he was nuts! But the whole team at Oxford Stage Company pulled together to produce an exquisite piece of theatre. Then there was PLAYING FOR TIME by Arthur Miller at Salisbury Playhouse. Producing the UK premiere of this epic tale of the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz with a cast of 24 led by the luminous Joanna Riding, showed that regional producing houses really can punch above their weight. Finally, Howard Brenton’s Anne Boleyn; this project blew us away at Shakespeare’s Globe and showed how an epic piece of new writing can capture an audience’s imagination - to see it on tour in Edinburgh playing to over 1,000 people made your heart sing.
What have been your greatest lessons working as a freelance producer and arts consultant?
You’ve got to be a magician with your time. Make sure that you don’t take on too much but also take risks - being freelance offers you the chance to work with new people and in areas that aren’t in your comfort zone. For example, working with Manchester International Festival gave me the most extraordinary opportunity to engage with new artists, creatives and work with a s**t hot festival team at Blackfriars House!
Can you tell us about your plans to continue the great producing and programming of your predecessors Patric (Gilchrist) and Ian (Forrest)?
We want to build on Patric and Ian’s amazing time here in Cumbria and develop our seasonal model to expand the canon of great plays, rediscovering neglected writers, breathing fresh life into established classics and premiering adventurous new work. Our 2017 Season will be announced in December and I hope this will surprise, delight and entertain our audiences from Keswick and beyond.
What are you enjoying most about working at the Theatre by the Lake?
Apart from the work on our stages and my great team of colleagues it simply has to be the view. There is nowhere like it in the world – as the Telegraph says we truly are ‘the most beautifully located theatre in Britain’.