It is the last of the four plays in his main canon of work that we haven't done at the Mercury, and I've been lucky enough to have been asked to direct it. It is such a beautifully written play, and it's only when you examine it closely that you actually realise how truthful and moving it is.
What relevance does it have for a 21st century audience?
It concerns many of the most common problems that continue to bother us today. Identity, immigration, the role of women, honour, truth, relationships and sexual freedom.
And for a Colchester one?
It has a strong element of the Old World versus the New World, and with all its history Colchester maybe struggles with its identity in a modern context. Is it a Roman town, Britain’s oldest town, a garrison own, or whatever? The play is so strong however that it holds relevance for all audiences.
How did you come to be directing productions at the Mercury?
I started out as a stopgap director for the panto one year, and ten years later they are still employing me – so I think I did something right. However, I did have quite a lot of directing experience elsewhere before that.
Which are the favourite shows which you have directed ?
Oh What a Lovely War and Road at the Mercury Theatre and Chicago at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.
How did you become a director in the first place?
I started out as an assistant director on a large-scale community play at the Belgrade Theatre. I was kept on and stayed for nine years, working my way up to associate director, and working with and directing just about every style and genre.
What other productions do you have in your pipeline?
I am working on a shared European project for the Mercury, and some very exciting projects that may happen in Scandinavia. Oh, and this year’s panto, of course.
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