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A day in the life: David Mercatali, director

David Mercatali
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David Mercatali is a theatre director and associate director at the Southwark Playhouse. He was nominated for the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer Award 2011.

7am I tend to start the day by getting both my sons’ stuff ready, and getting my oldest son ready for school. While the children are having breakfast I check through emails that have come through overnight or the day before that I need to deal with. When you’re a director working in pre-production you are glued to your phone quite a bit. Mostly because you know that when you’re in rehearsals you’re not going to be.

9am Having taken my oldest to school and spent some time in the park with my youngest, I set out a to-do list for the day.

10am As I’m about to go into rehearsals I spend the morning either in meetings with designers, or in castings.

1pm Lunch is a great time to sit down and continue to work through that to-do list.

2pm In pre-production, the afternoon is a good time for admin, and spending some time setting up future projects that I’m not going to be able to spend as much time on when I’m in rehearsals. I’ll also spend a good couple of hours inviting people to the show.

6pm The majority of evenings are family time – reading my sons a bedtime story, that kind of thing. I do quite often go to see a show. I usually go to the theatre on my own – I don’t see it as a particularly social experience. If I go to the theatre it’s an extension of my work.

Before you become a director, you never think about the days outside a rehearsal room, but then you realise that the average theatre director will spend less than 50% of the year in rehearsals. You spend as much time, if not more, in pre-production, and it’s not paid – for the moment at least.


CV: David Mercatali

Job title: Director
Age: 34
Training: BA in journalism; MA in theatre directing
Experience: Tender Napalm (national tour), Little Light (Orange Tree Theatre, London), Radiant Vermin (Soho Theatre)


David Mercatali was talking to Thomas Hescott

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