How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?
I am the Artistic Director of Stellar Quines and I am responsible for all the research, development, programming and production of creative material that is put in front of our audiences. I handle the brokering of collaborative projects and for all artistic elements associated with the Company. I am also involved in mentoring emerging artists and helping to make opportunities for them through the Company. The best thing about this job is its eclectic nature and how each day throws up so many exciting opportunities. I do not like living in a world of “rules” and try always to keep my mind open to new inspirations and ways of doing things.
What was your first ever job?
Working in Boots Library in Princes Street.
What was the contact/opportunity/job offer that you feel has made the most difference to your career?
Working with Michael Boyd and the Tron Theatre 22 years ago when I was cast in a production of The Guid Sisters which toured to Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto and the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. The friendships and creative relationships encountered then have influenced the work I have done and am doing now.
What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t?
To be a plant hunter and cling to rock faces in Nepal and India in search of the exotic un named species of “something or other”. I would have loved to have been Marianne North or any of the women out of Judith Adams’ piece Sweet Fanny Adams.
In our new production ANA the main character splits when she’s faced with a difficult decision and takes both paths. Have you ever reached a fork in the road – which path did you take?
I reached the fork in the road when I decided to give up my acting career and become a director. I had spent some time in a soap opera and my enthusiasm for acting was becoming less challenging in a creative way. But because of my profile on TV I was being offered leading parts and, although really wonderful to be challenged, I needed to have directors who could help me navigate my way through these challenges. I did not have that and this was the reason for taking the directors path, to make sure that I could and would excite people to create “extraordinary” things. Art is the business of creating new realities. This may seem arrogant in the extreme but I wish I had had someone who would have made my acting career more exciting. It has always been my desire to enthuse and inspire others and infect others with a passion for theatre.
Who or what would you be now if you’d taken the other road?
An out of work older actress who adores gardening.
Killer, psycho, scientist, wife – if you could only pick one which would it be?
Science has always fascinated me as it is an arena for creating great theatricality and it holds the most exciting systems for understanding life.
You were recently chosen as one of the top 100 ‘hot Scots’ of 2011. Who would your number one ‘hot Scot’ be?
My 96 year old Father who lives at the edge of the sea in the Highlands. He was the Professor of Anatomy at Edinburgh University and in the 50’s he worked at Columbia University NY as a research fellow on Motor Neurons and the Sense of Place. To this day, these findings have provided a structural foundation for analysis for the neutral control of movement and serve as a guide for studies to explore mechanisms that direct the wiring of spinal motor circuits. Thomas Jessell and John Kelly both scientists are developing my Fathers research and using it for future scientific research.
What do you order at the bar once the show has come down?
A drink for everyone involved in the show and maybe a small libation for myself.
Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?
The amazing Catherine Begin who is one of the Quebec actors in ANA. She is in the mould of the wonderful actresses such as Simone Signoret and is a major actress in Quebec. She exudes the past world of theatre but is very much rooted in the present. She has played all the great parts and teaches young actors at the Montreal acting academy.