How did you start in theatre?
After leaving Bretton Hall College, I worked with theatre companies in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and Newcastle before firing live arrows over the audience in David Wood’s Robin Hood. My company Brian Warrens Associates works on live events, theatre, production and training.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Do your research. Immerse yourself in your interests – try out new experiences and learn from those around you.
What would you change about UK training?
Bringing down the barriers for access to employers is essential to stimulate growth for young people wishing to train in the industry.
What is the best part of your job?
Removing the ‘rabbit in headlights’ look at the start and nurturing wise young foxes.
And your least favourite?
The constant obsession with ‘raising standards’ in education. Trainers need to work in a settled environment where change is holistic, relevant and deliverable.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?
As a young actor and director I was inspired by the work of smaller independent theatre companies such as Graeae and Complicite, and by the larger ones – the Royal Shakespeare Company under Trevor Nunn, the National Theatre with Peter Hall. Students should look to practitioners who excite the senses. Don’t be spoon-fed, get out and find your own story.
What is the one skill every successful theatre professional should have?
To understand risks and to take them.
What would be your best advice for work-based training?
Reinstate repertory theatre. In production work, the lack of financial resources and the demise of repertory theatre has been shocking, but not unsurprising. It was the finest training ground for actors, technicians and creatives.
Brian Warrens was talking to John Byrne. He is a lecturer at South Essex College of Further and Higher Education and senior moderator for the University of Arts London