We caught up with PFT’s new Associate Director to ask her three important questions:
What brings you to Pitlochry?
It’s an adventure. The landscape, the country, the building and the rep system all represent a hugely exciting challenge for me. There is nowhere else like it, and I was drawn to the idea that in one building I can combine all my past experience and skills in directing, education, producing and delivering work. The theatre is about to enter an incredible period of transformation with the 2021 vision and being part of that, working within the community and the team to help make it a reality, was a key part of my decision to move here.
Where have you come from, and what have you been doing?
I’ve had a base in London for all of my career, having moved down after being at Edinburgh University. But I’ve done a lot of touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company and then working as the Associate Director at the New Vic in Staffordshire so I’ve not spent that much time at my flat!
To put the freelance career in context; this year started with directing a production of Julius Caesar in Guildford, then the first major revival of Beryl by Maxine Peake at the New Vic and the Stephen Joseph in Scarborough, then I did a project in Cape Town for the British Council involving deaf artists from the UK and South Africa. After that I directed a cut down version of King Lear for 7-11 year old at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond (set in a circus!) and then developed a new outdoor circus and physical theatre show with my own company: Light the Fuse, which has been touring around town centres and festivals this summer. I worked on a few comedy shows for the Edinburgh Festival, and mentored several teachers for the RSC’s Playmaking Festival for schools and now I’m here. So basically it’s going to be fantastic to just be in the one place for a while!
What are you looking forward to most?
I cannot wait to direct two shows in next year’s summer season, to hone my craft on that stage, and work with the incredible team here at Pitlochry. I’ve been catching up on the whole season and have been blown away by the level of skill from the ensemble, the designers, the technical and stage teams. When you hear about the season you think – “that couldn’t possibly work” but it does, and I am really looking forward to bringing my style to two incredible scripts and seeing them explode onto that stage.
Welcome to Pitlochry Festival Theatre Gemma!