How did you start in theatre?
My sixth-form theatre studies teacher convinced me it was a good subject to try.
What is your best piece of advice for students today?
Be patient, both in terms of your progress and your creative processes. Avoid the temptation to predict or plan outcomes. Enjoy the creative process and reflect on what works for you.
What would you change about training in the UK?
I would advocate more learning that focuses on real-world application. Our production arts degree programmes are modelled on this approach – to learn by doing and reflecting.
What is the best part of your job?
The variety. I enjoy working on a broad range of projects with a lot of interesting people.
And your least favourite?
Never being satisfied. Creatives are always burdened by the constant nagging feeling that things could be bigger and better.
Which practitioners do you admire the most/who should students look up to?
There are so many inspirational figures, but stand out examples include: 59 Productions, Simon McBurney, Steven Berkoff and Chris Cunningham.
What is the one skill every successful theatre professional should have?
The ability to reflect and self-develop. You are a product of your own making.
What are the benefits to students of working on projects such as the Beasts of London experience during training?
Skills, knowledge and technique can all be taught to a professional standard in a class or workshop, but how to apply those attributes in practice is a different challenge. Projects such as this offer students the opportunity to enhance their learning with practical experience in a safe and supportive way.
Dan Shorten was talking to John Byrne. The Museum of London’s Beasts of London, created in partnership with Guildhall runs until January 5, 2020. Go to museumoflondon.org.uk for information