My first significant job in theatre was as the Boris Karloff trainee assistant director at the Young Vic on A Doll’s House, directed by Carrie Cracknell, in 2013.
The year before, I had taken part in the introduction to directing course led by Lyndsey Turner. I was blown away by how amazing directing is – telling stories through bodies in space, words spoken, light and sound. Working collaboratively with actors and designers to create something alive and impacting was really compelling to me.
I decided to move away from a law career and was accepted into the director’s programme. At the time, I thought I wasn’t qualified as I had little experience of theatre, even though I had directed youth productions. Associate artistic director Sue Emmas encouraged me to try. I remember going for the interview with Carrie and being nervous at first, but quickly realising that it was just a conversation.
I was overjoyed to get it and it gave me an insight into what it takes to create a critically acclaimed production on a main stage. It was so inspiring to see the level of detail in Carrie’s work – how she works with intentions on the script and how she speaks to actors. Seeing the work that Carrie and designer Ian MacNeil did when they were creating the set – the images and pictures collected, their research into Norway – broadened my understanding of what goes into creating high-quality work.
My advice would be to never think you’re too underqualified and count yourself out of applying for an opportunity that could further your career. We grow by challenging ourselves and stepping forward, not standing still. If you don’t get it, you’ll still learn something from the experience of applying.
Training: Young Vic Theatre Directors Programme
Theatre includes: As Director: Cuttin’ It (Royal Court UK schools tour), Footprints on the Moon (Finborough), Cell (Young Vic), Black Lives, Black Words, (Bush Theatre), All the Ways to Say Goodbye (Young Vic), Hosea’s Girl (Talawa Studio Firsts). Associate and assistant direction includes: Good Dog (UK tour), Macbeth/Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre, Stratford Circus and schools tour)
Anastasia Osei-Kuffour is the associate director on Good Dog, touring until March 11