How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?
Dreaming, researching, planning and making alongside company business. I like the “being in room development madness” and I am also keen on the nearing the end of rehearsals time when, if all is going well, you begin to see the show as a whole. Also I do sickeningly really like the folk I work with and I think that apart from family, work is where you do your most learning and growing as a person. S o to be surrounded by charming and supportive people is real luxury.
What’s your favourite Catherine Wheels show and why?
Probably Home East Lothian which was one of the inaugural productions of National Theatre Scotland. It went on to become Hansel and Gretel and is by far the most challenging, immersive production I have worked on. When I was asked to create a show based on the idea of ‘home’ I was excited, but apprehensive as it was a much shorter timescale than I normally had. However, as a result I worked far more instinctively than I had in the past which has made me a bolder director. Also because the show was of a bigger scale than past productions and had so many elements to it, everyone in the company was involved, worked hard and as a result the show created a great shared experience. It also meant on masse we got to New York, which was a hoot!
What was your first ever job?
Strawberry picking in the fields around Haddington. (Imagine a young Catherine Denevue in a gingham dress…)
What was the contact/opportunity/job offer that you feel has made the most difference to your career?
I don’t think there has been one particular moment, more of a series of steps that had led me to where I am now. When I started out in the 90s I think there were more opportunities for funding which meant that I learnt from creating shows, which was invaluable. I also think the Children’s Festival and the Imaginate organistion has been influential and has meant that for the past 20 years I have felt part of the community of children’s theatre practitioners in Scotland, which is a warm, cosy feeling.
What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t?
I was offered the part of Dr Who but didn’t feel the timing was great.
What’s your most memorable moment in theatre?
When a cast member cut the top of her finger off during a performance. Not memorable for the best reasons but unforgettable. Also on a lighter note I will never forget wave of emotion and instant neighbourly sharing after watching the Corum Boy at the National Theatre.
What’s your favourite play or piece of theatre?
Impossible question! My list includes: Corum Boy at the National, seeing Pina Bausch for the first time, Chicago in the West End and numerous gorgeous and/or shocking theatrical gems from those crazy makers of children’s theatre in Europe.
What do you like the best about working in theatre?
The people, the freedom to be creative and the chance to create something for others.
What advice/words of wisdom would you pass onto emerging female practitioners in theatre today?
Be brave. Find out what you love. Always be curious… (Sounds more like text from a self-help manual)
What do you order at the bar once the show has come down?
A man, but always go for what’s on offer as it can get expensive.
Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?
I have quines: Chris Devaney, dancer, choreographer, maker, grafter and also her good friend Karen Tennant, designer and wise women of theatre.