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Director Lucy Curtis: ‘There’s nothing more challenging or rewarding than making your own work’

Lucy Curtis. Photo: Luce Newman-Williams Lucy Curtis. Photo: Luce Newman-Williams
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Where do you teach?

Fourth Monkey Actor Training and a variety of other venues throughout the year.

How did you start off in theatre?

I trained as an actress – it was there I became interested in the actor/director relationship. When I graduated, I wrote Where Will We Live? inspired by the housing politics in Brixton at the time. I didn’t know any directors, so I decided to direct it. I fell in love with directing and wanted to get into as many rehearsal rooms as I could, so I assistant-directed across the country alongside making my own work. I’m also part of the MFA Theatre Directing community at Birkbeck.

What is the best piece of advice you have for drama students today?

When you graduate, make your own work. There’s nothing more challenging or rewarding, and it connects you to theatres and artists that may, in future, produce, direct or write for you.

What would you change about drama training in the UK?

I’d like to see more of an emphasis on training actors to become self-reliant: how to go about making a show, budgeting for a show and creating opportunities for themselves, motivating self-empowerment.

What is the best part of your job?

Working with actors who are open and generous to any process they are thrown into.

And your least favourite?

Keeping an eye on the time.

Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?

I’ve found most practitioners generally connect to each other – it’s like a genealogical tree – Stanislavski to Michael Chekhov; Meyerhold to Grotowski; Laban to Lecoq – most of the time the principles of the piece will guide you towards who to use in rehearsal.

What is the one skill that every successful actor should have?

A sense of humour.

Lucy Curtis was talking to John Byrne. She is directing Jack Thorne’s play Bunny, which runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre until January 27

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