Adam is an award winning Director/Writer/Producer Artistic Director of The Regional touring company Baroque Theatre and is the Associate Director of the Canal Café Theatre in London, home of the Guinness Book of World Records holder world’s longest running live comedy show ‘Newsrevue’ which he has directed many times in London.
His work in film and advertising has twice been nominated at Cannes Lions winning in 2006 in the same year he was named as one for the creatives of the year in creative review magazine. He won an Editor’s Choice Award as Artistic Director for best new venue, Edinburgh 2008. He directed the winning show for the national new writing competition for Writers Avenue (Seconds) which received a transfer to the Pleasance Main House. He was awarded “Best Director for Theatre & Film” at the Fringe Report Awards 2012. Adam also directed an acclaimed UK tour of ‘Great Expectations’ for the bicentenary of Charles Dickens birth .
He directed ‘Dracula’ in the West End in a limited sold out run starring Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval). He has also directed Lady Windermere’s Fan and new writing based on the life of Woody Allen at The Pleasance Theatre staring James Phelps (Fred Weasley, Harry Potter film series), as well directing for the University of Cumbria and various Drama Schools across the UK . Adam has directed Moliere and Lorca in French and Spanish language for the sold out five star seasons at The Barons Court Theatre and internationally. Further credits include The Birds by Conor McPherson from the story by Daphne du Maurier. Inspector Morse “House of Ghosts”, “The Haunting of Hill House”, “Up Pompeii” and many others for Baroque Theatre Company.
He is now joining Actor Awareness as our executive producer!
So Adam you are firstly a great director, I’ve had some first hand experience. What draws you to directing?
Thank you I am blushing, I love telling stories in a variety of ways using a wide range of methods, I enjoy very much working with actors and tech, my training was very practical, there is not a job in film or theatre that I haven’t done professionally and I always wanted to direct to use the talents and energy of casts and crew to tell great stories.
You’re director who really understands actors and works with them, what do you think a good actor offers a director?
Great actors offer me options as a director, no one wants an actor to just stand there and say “direct me”, we want creative minds and people prepared to take risks and experiment, look ugly and be beautiful. I want an actor who has great personal discipline and a joy and hunger for what they do, someone who brings ideas and enthusiasm into the rehearsal room and is prepared to match my energy and commitment to any given project.
What makes an actor stand out for you?
Someone who treats the industry and themselves like a business rather than a hobby, unfortunately I do come across some actors who aren’t prepared to even do the bare minimum or present themselves badly, don’t read a brief properly or simply expect something handed to them with no effort. Talent isn’t enough you need to own your art and self, be prepared to sacrifice and do your research, constantly be working to improve yourself .
When casting a show for actors, can you give our readers some tips on answering an ad.
Yes, firstly actually read it properly….Don’t skim read, all the information you need should be in a well written ad and it is normally not much to read. Also do your research, find out about the project and the people involved, don’t just cut and paste a standard covering letter. Once you have done that ask yourself the question do you actually want to apply, is it the right thing for you, are you available? if yes then write a personal short and professional cover note stating your suitability relevant experience and knowledge of the piece and or the people. If you are Dyslexic like I am have someone proof read it. No more than a couple of short paragraphs, as casting is a time pressured event people may not have the time to read a long detailed letter.
What excites you about theatre?
I love the immediacy of the theatre. The linear aspect of it; the excitement of an audience entering an auditorium before curtains go up. I love the feeling of captivating an audience and feeling the energy created by cast and spectator. The fact that no two nights are ever truly identical and different audiences see a show differently, find new elements funny or moving it keeps you on your toes.
What do you think as a director is your best asset?
I am an actors director and what I mean by that is I feel I can communicate across concept and enthusiasm clearly and effectively to create a shared vision. I also understand tech and design which helps create the world of the show and I like to work collectively as part of a company. Over the years I have gained enough experience to work smart and fast allowing for strong time management and people skills. My shows I am pleased to say are generally happy ships. I lead by example using my energy and enthusiasm to motivate my teams.
You are a avid supporter of Actor Awareness, what drew you to being part of the campaign?
I strongly believe the Arts should be the leaders in helping to create equality and diversity. We have a duty to help raise awareness and create opportunity for education, this promotes and ensures a rich tapestry for our society. Actor Awareness is striving to do just that and has grown so much in a short space of time, we don’t just talk about inclusivity we actually do something about it and get off our own backs without funding. My personal goals and those of Actor awareness were well matched. I have always operated a blind casting policy for example (Where I have been allowed to sometimes right holders won’t allow it) and have actively fought for and tried to address the imbalance in the industry in my own small way. Actor Awareness has helped me reach more people and actively create more opportunity.
You are now executive producer of Actor Awareness, what do you want to do within your role?
I am delighted to have a more formal relationship with Actor awareness and I hope to be able to provide even more support for Tom and everyone involved. It means I can help with fundraising and profile raising. We have a shared goal and I can now wrap up even more work and events with Actors Awareness, there are some very exciting developments and opportunities being created so watch this space.
In your own theatre company you are very adamant about highlighting gender equality and women voices, what do you think about both issues and representation in the industry at current?
They are appallingly represented. There is far too much discussion without anything actually being done to tackle the problems. The fact that Women especially are so under represented at every level is ridiculous and the mainstream top end of the industry must do more to address this. Writer’s producer’s directors and casting directors we need to do more to get away from traditional gender stereotypes and start focusing on the human story regardless of gender. I understand there are commercial concerns but we must trust our audiences more that they can easily cope with gender reversal or blind casting. We need more female roles we need better female representation at the top end of the industry, enough now it’s 2016, the time for change is upon us not in five years’ time but now.
You often talk about not being pretty on stage, being truthful, what do you think about beauty and image in the industry at current?
The focus can on beauty especially body and weight is very worrying. Women are being objectified and considered more for their outfit then their character. I have created an actors bootcamp keep fit for performance. It is about Strength endurance and flexibility not about weight; you can carry weight and still be fit.
I often see in students or new graduates so much fear in their performances that hold them back because they are scared to look ugly on stage. You can’t be beautiful on stage without allowing yourself to be ugly as well… Don’t hold back let go and allow you the physical and emotional expression needed to fully realise a character. We are all ugly, good looking, fat, thin, unique, the same…we need to get over ourselves and allow freedom of creation to occur for real truth on stage.
What do you feel about uni trained and drama school trained students?
I feel that the main difference is not one of talent but opportunity and technique. What I mean by this is at most drama schools your week is structured with long days working on a variety of techniques i.e voice and speech, movement etc. At University the contact and face to face time is much less. Drama schools of a certain level have higher profile showcases and therefore more chance of getting signed by a top agent thereafter. Part of the remit of a university student is research and self-learning. This is very difficult in terms of the core fundamentals but not impossible. I feel the tide is turning and the days of snobbery towards University graduates as opposed to drama school ones is changing. I have employed both and find little or no difference. Ultimately your training should never end, there are financial and time factors to consider but there are ways to continually improve yourself. Sight read every night, practice cold reads, warm up properly, exercise read and watch plays, work harder.
What do you think about drama school training at current in todays industry?
Like with any training providers some are excellent and others not so much. I would suggest if you are considering the investment in drama school training do your research. Find out what they do and who runs them, who teaches on them, do they have a specific approach and what is it.
How do you think the arts cuts are affecting us? The government are cutting creative subjects in schools and reducing maintenance loans for students, eventually the divide in working class actors and those in a wealthier positions will be wider, do you agree with this?
Yes the gulf is increasing and this is having an adverse reaction to the industry. We need to find a sustainable model, we can’t just throw money at the problem we need to tackle the wider issues and consider funding and application. However there is a real danger of completely shutting out the working class from any form of artistic expression that is not directly relevant to an area of arts funding that needs a box ticking. The industry as a whole needs to examine where money is going and must help create business as well as supporting the unheard voice. Art and finance can co-exist they are not mutually exclusive, my company does not take a penny of public funding we survive via our commercial and creative ability and this is something that perhaps needs looking at and can be taught. Commercial does not mean bad and is often unfairly maligned. The way arts funding is awarded in my opinion needs a serious review to ensure transparency and consistency, the fact that there are specialist form filing producers who’s only task is to decipher funding applications suggests to me that perhaps the applications and requirements are incoherent and therefore not necessarily in every case going to where is best needed. It’s not about putting values on creativity, more considering the needs of larger publicly funded organisations and perhaps helping them diversify their income streams to free much needed money for other causes.
Thank you Adam what a pleasure!!!!!!!!!!