How did you start off in theatre?
At school I was always keen to get involved backstage rather than up front. I wanted to study stage management, but went down a more conventional academic route.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
In addition to cultivating resilience, students need to seize every opportunity that comes their way and be open-minded about how they develop their career path. You need a CV rich in experience. Actors who develop production skills will be best placed to create, perform and produce their own work.
What would you change about training in the UK?
The division between performance practice and the academic study of theatres is often unhelpful and artificial. A more integrated approach can lead to deeper understanding.
What is the best part of your job?
Helping students to explore ideas in the development of their own practice.
And your least favourite?
Which practitioners do you admire most/who should students be looking up to?
I have just finished reading Mike Pearson’s In Comes I, which is about performance and topography. It demonstrates the benefits of combining critical exploration of memory, place and identity with site-specific performance.
What one skill should every successful theatre professional have?
To be a passionate champion of the arts.
How do you view the role of drama in the public sphere?
For drama to be relevant beyond mere entertainment value, it must be socially embedded in the communities where it is based. This means fostering local performance practice and recognising drama as a tool for community empowerment.
Programme leader for BA (hons) drama and performance at Inverness College, University of the Highlands and Islands. She was talking to John Byrne