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Q&A highlights of 2018

Nadia Fall. Photo: Hugo Glendinning “I always have my brother to the opening night.” Nadia Fall, Theatre Royal Stratford East artistic director. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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Do you have any theatrical superstitions or rituals?

“Oh, God, so many. I think the ghosts lurk and you can’t mess with the ghosts, right?” – Daniella Topol, director

“I’m religious about observing the pantomime tradition of not saying the last line until the audience is present. I don’t mention ‘the Scottish play’, as it can unsettle people. For years, I avoided wearing green in the theatre as people thought it was bad luck but, fortunately, that is a superstition that seems to have died out.” – Brigid Larmour, Watford Palace Theatre artistic director

“Always go to the pre-show drinks.” – Richard Slaney, 59 Productions managing director

Su Pollard. Photo: Karla Gowlett

“If it’s a musical, I might turn up two hours before curtain up so I can do my own vocal exercises before the company warm-up.” – Su Pollard, actor

Read our interview with Su Pollard

“I didn’t, but I do now. My wife tends to give me a pair of first-night socks.” – David Edgar, playwright

“I always have my brother to the opening night.”– Nadia Fall, Theatre Royal Stratford East artistic director

“Wearing my wedding kilt on press night became a bit of a thing north of the border. I’ll probably bring that one down with me to Live Theatre.” – Joe Douglas, Live Theatre artistic director talking ahead of his appointment in April

“I have some crystals. I picked them up in LA. I walked around with a few of these yesterday to bless the space with positive energy. I’ve got into meditation this year.” – Heida Reed, actor

“No – that’s for people who are afraid of the dark.” – Gareth Valentine, musical director

“No coffee before the show, and a half-hour catnap in between the matinee and the evening performance.” – Phil Daniels, actor

If you weren’t involved in the theatre, what would you have done?

“I would have been a frustrated salesman who hated his life and so never gave up gambling and subsequently ended up in prison. If I was lucky, in prison I would have discovered the freedom and escape of writing.” – Raz Shaw, director

“I am a qualified teacher. But I’d probably have hated teaching. I might have liked working in a bookshop.” – Eileen Atkins, actor

“I really wanted to be a marine biologist, diving – but I soon worked out I was not good at science. So that wouldn’t have worked out.” – Tom Gibbons, sound designer

“A doctor. For a long time I wanted to be a gynaecologist. It was a very innocent thing. I wanted to understand how a baby came along and be part of that process.”  – Clifford Samuel, actor

Alfred Molina. Photo: Marc Brenner

“I would have died a long, slow death.” – Alfred Molina, actor

Read our interview with Alfred Molina

“Cricket commentator.” – Brendan Cowell, actor

“A firefighter.” – Simon Crowley, automation technician

A Blue Peter presenter.” – Gordon Millar, Unity Theatre, Liverpool artistic director 

“An archaeologist.” – Barrie Kosky, director

“My dad had his eyes on me being a translator for the UN because I studied French and Spanish at university. At school I did well in religious studies and there was a teacher I liked who drove a Mercedes. I thought: ‘I’m going to be an RE teacher driving a Mercedes sports convertible’.” – Martina Laird, actor

Compiled by Susie Browning

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