How did you start off in theatre?
I was an actor for several years and, after a long West End run, I decided to try my hand at directing (first within the profession and then at drama schools).
What is your best advice for students today?
Always bring joy and humour to your work.
What would you change about UK training?
I think it’s important that all drama schools have a strong awareness of current trends and keep adapting their courses to meet the demands of the acting profession of the future.
What is the best part of directing a production with students?
I love the enthusiasm and curiosity of students, together with the generosity of spirit they bring to rehearsals.
Are there any particular challenges for a director doing this kind of work?
I am currently directing Merrily We Roll Along which, like any musical, is challenging whether it’s with a student cast or not. From a director’s point of view, one of the main challenges is how to bring the three disciplines (singing, dancing and acting) together in a cohesive and seamless form. Fortunately, I have the reassurance and comfort of working with a familiar, experienced and talented team of creatives.
Which practitioners do you admire the most and who should students look up to?
I hope they would admire actors who have integrity, as well as the ‘movers and shakers’.
What one skill should every successful theatre professional have?
The ability to maintain a sense of humour about themselves, come what may.
What do you hope students will take away from their drama school productions?
The memory of joy, fun and love of creativity.
Martin Connor is head of acting training at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Merrily We Roll Along opens on July 2.