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Director of ArtsEd Extra Jonathan Goodwin: ‘Dare to take risks and embrace failure’

Jonathan Goodwin. Photo: ArtsEd

How did you start off in performance?
Many of my teachers were inspirational, as well as my youth theatre directors. They guided me towards pursuing drama as a career. Eventually, I trained at Central School of Speech and Drama [1].

What your best advice for students today?
Dare to take risks. Embrace failure. Students are obsessed with getting things ‘right’. This can choke creativity. As Paulo Coelho said: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

What would you change about training?
We need to find ways to open the doors to first-class training for whoever wants to train no matter what their background is. My role at ArtsEd [2] has been to implement affordable part-time courses that work around modern lifestyles while maintaining our ethos of nurturing potential. The industry wants unique individuals, but not everyone can train full-time.

What is the best part of your job?
Seeing the amazing positive effect taking part in acting or singing or dance can have on the people I work with, who range from children as young as four years old to adults in their 60s.

And your least favourite?
Not being able to offer more places.

Which practitioners do you admire most?
Companies and organisations such as Emergency Chorus [3], Trip Hazards [4], Poltergeist Theatre [5], YesYesNoNo or Box of Tricks [6] that take risks and give voice to young people.

The Accident Did Not Take Place review at the Pleasance, Edinburgh – ‘clever questioning of truth’ [7]

What one skill should every successful theatre professional have?
The ability to keep learning.

What are the benefits of taking a part-time course?
Having taught for 25 years, I have seen young people on our part-time course get into a diverse range of careers including not just performing arts but also medicine, law, social care, teaching and psychology. Participants say the part-time foundation course has helped them develop core skills they use every day.

Jonathan Goodwin was talking to John Byrne