New Artistic Director and CEO – Jemima Levick

Today we’re delighted to welcome Jemima Levick as our new Artistic Director and CEO after bidding a fond au revoir to our outgoing Artistic Director and ‪#‎stellarquine‬ Muriel Romanes after 22 fabulous years. Please join us in welcoming Jemima Levick who joins us from her role as joint Artistic Director at Dundee Rep.

“I am thrilled to take on the mantle of Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Stellar Quines. I have a huge admiration of Muriel and of all the women who have contributed to the successes that have made it the company it is today.

I’ve learnt a huge amount at Dundee Rep for which I will always be grateful, but am looking forward to this new step and a new challenge.

Stellar Quines is an incredibly important organisation for the Scottish theatre community and beyond. At a time when equality and the work of women remain sharply in focus, it is crucial that we have a dedicated organisation that works to promote, support and encourage artists and audiences to broaden our outlook on this agenda. I look forward to building on the company’s previous successes, while carving out a new and expansive future that is radical and relevant.”

Find out more about Muriel Romanes:

“I’ve had such a wonderful time with the company. It’s been magnificent, but I need to step away from that.” A Quine’s lessons from Quebec, Muriel Romanes speaks to Neil Cooper, The Herald March 2016

“All my life I’ve been hooked on theatre” 60, sexy and successful, Muriel Romanes in The Herald, 24 Aug 2009

Mary Paulson Ellis

How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?

I am a writer. I’ve just published my debut novel, The Other Mrs Walker (Mantle/Pan Macmillan). I like writing best when I am deep in the heart of a story and the words are flowing like wine and I feel sort of intoxicated with all the possibilities. Then there’s the other 99% of the time…

I also do various other bits and bobs: script-editing, mentoring, occasionally teaching. All these suit the more gregarious side of my personality which likes to get out and in amongst things.

What was your first ever job?

My first ever, ever job was serving sliced bacon in British Home Stores while wearing a straw boater. I was 16. But my first proper job was as Admin Assistant at TAG Theatre Company in the mid-1990s, which I loved. We were based at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow in what the other staff jokingly called the broom cupboard. We did some great shows while I was there – Men Should Weep, Lanark, Peter Pan. I was passionate about theatre so it was the perfect job for me. I also got very good at schedules and writing minutes.

Has there been a particular person or an opportunity that you feel has made the most difference to your career?

There have been many over the years, but three that are connected:-

After TAG I got a job as Sponsorship Manager at the Edinburgh International Festival and while there I learned from my boss, Nicky Pritchett-Brown, how to deal with rejection. Fundraisers are rejected all the time; it becomes part of our DNA so I think this really helped when I was starting out as a writer i.e. never give up and don’t take it personally.

At the Festival I also met Sally Hobson, Head of Creative Learning who was kind enough to offer me various teaching opportunities after I gave up fundraising to start out as a writer. Going freelance is always a bit of a leap of faith and she helped to soften the landing.

And it was Sally who introduced me to the legend that is Muriel Romanes. I went on to work for Stellar Quines as General Manager for 3 ½ very rich and rewarding years. Muriel is an inspiration in the way she works with artists of all descriptions. Even after I gave up the job to write full-time, she still supported my creative ambitions in all sorts of ways.

Having worked within theatre, television and now literature, what do you like best about working within the arts?

The power of storytelling to excite, inspire and bring people together in passionate conversation. I’ve had so many brilliant and intense conversations with fellow artists, colleagues and audiences over the years about all sorts of books, plays, TV shows etc. It’s a really fulfilling part of my life, especially when wine is involved. I also love the way the arts can take us for a walk on the dark side – which is where, as a writer, I often like to be.

Who is your favourite writer or playwright and why?

That is a very difficult question to answer because there are so many and varied and they are all wonderful.

In terms of prose writers I love the work of Ali Smith, Janice Galloway and Kate Atkinson. And the empress of them all, Toni Morrison.

In terms of television in which I recently dipped a toe as a script-editor for the BBC, I am a massive fan of Sally Wainright. She really paid her dues working for years on soaps and continuing drama before she managed to secure her own series. Scott & Bailey and Happy Valley are stand out shows for me because of the way she puts women front and centre with all their quirks and complexities.

What advice would you give emerging female writers today?

Never give up. Don’t take it personally. And believe in your vision because if you don’t, no one else will.

Also, take your time to develop your work. After all, what’s the hurry? I didn’t publish my first novel until I was 47. It hasn’t done me any harm.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?

I’d like to give a shout-out to all those back room girls toiling away in the broom cupboard. Where would we be without those spreadsheets, those minutes and those schedules.

But if I had to pick one out of the glorious many, I’d say Deborah Crewe the Finance and Development Manager for Grid Iron Theatre Company. Deb can make anything happen and with wit too. Also she was a ‘consultant’ for my recent book launch. She kept me in good order and positioned the chaise longue with aplomb.

www.marypaulsonellis.co.uk @mspaulsonellis

Pippa Murphy

How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?

I’m a Composer, Sound Designer, arranger and lecturer. I work with many different people in many different art forms. I love the variety of projects I work on, and the diversity of the people I work with.

What was your first ever job?

Little known to many… My first proper job was as a Customer Development Manager at the Forensic Science Service as it became an Executive Agency of the Home Office. The Home Office was keen for the FSS to take on forensic work from corporate companies and barristers representing the accused. I worked full-time there for 3 years whilst I was studying for my PhD in composition. I had a team of 10 and learnt many skills that have equipped me for life including people management, contact management, marketing, sales and customer liaison. After 3 years I left to move up to Scotland, complete my PhD and become a freelance composer. I haven’t had a salaried job since.

Has there been a particular person or an opportunity that you feel has made the most difference to your career?

In 2001 I was lucky enough to be involved in a creative team who went to Iran for 4 weeks to lead a series of theatre and film workshops with students at Tehran University with the British Council. Together we created 4 pieces, 1 led by design, 1 by music, 1 by text and 1 by movement. It was an intense but unforgettably beautiful experience working alongside 40 incredibly dedicated Iranian students. We had a very strict set of parameters to work within and a list of what we could and couldn’t do creatively. Women are not permitted to sing solo, so I created a scenario that the lead woman was mad and worked with sonic utterances and melodic gobbledygook vocal (song) lines to enable a female musical presence in the show. It passed the censors because it wasn’t ‘musical’.

I’ve never since been part of something so passionate and raw.

What do you like the best about working within the arts?

I love the richness of creating music, theatre, dance and film with others; discussing, distilling, nourishing and bringing something alive to share with others.

What advice would you give emerging female musicians/composers in the arts today?

Be yourself, get to know your peers, be prolific, keep listening, share your thoughts with kindness and work with as many different people as you can.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?

Many of my Stellar Quines are already on the list but I’d like to suggest Dana McLeod (now at the British Council) for her dedication to presenting all art forms in many different cultural and geographical landscapes and for her unsung gift of being the wise instigator of many life-long creative partnerships across Scotland and beyond.

For more information on Pippa’s work go to pippamurphy.com

Listen to examples from the score Pippa has composed for The Air That Carries the Weight.

Rebecca Sharp – the moment I knew I was on the right track

The Air That carries the Weight

Ahead of rehearsals starting for her new work, The Air That Carries the Weight, on 22nd February, we asked Rebecca Sharp about how she made the progression with her script from Rehearsal Room 25 in October 2014 to the final version.

This is the main stage production following on from the Rehearsal Room – how did the feedback from Rehearsal Room help form the final script?

RS: When we had the Rehearsal Room in October 2014, the script was very young and there wasn’t much of it! I’d done a lot of research leading up to that stage, and was almost tentative to really commit to the writing process. I felt a sense of responsibility when writing about a real person (Marion Campbell), and in dealing with such huge, weighty issues – death, fate, friendship, interconnectedness… But what was lovely from that RR experience was the genuine warmth and interest that came from the audience – real interest in these characters; Yvonne’s illness and the weight Isobel carries after she’s gone. I was touched by how openly people connected with the ideas and shared their thoughts on some pretty sensitive subjects. Neal Ascherson was also there at that RR, and that gave me such a boost! He knew Marion well, so it was almost like having her there in the room. I’m a huge admirer of Neal’s work (his book Stone Voices had been hugely influential), and to have his encouragement meant a great deal to say the least. He looked over during one of the ‘Marion’ scenes and gave me a smile and a nod, and it was such a relief – I swear I’ll hold on to that moment forever! I knew I was on the right track and that gave me the confidence to carry on. The experience of working with the actors and with Muriel in that concentrated space of time also really helped to distil a lot of ideas, which gave me clear impetus for what to do next.

Do you feel that The Air That Carries the Weight has moved on from your original idea?

RS: Yes – my initial thought had been to combine an original story with an adaptation of Marion’s novel The Dark Twin. Not only is The Dark Twin an incredibly dark and twisty novel, so that it almost defies adaptation, but I also came to realise that a mere adaptation wouldn’t do justice to the ideas that were at stake. The relationships between characters started to take over – Yvonne/Isobel, Yvonne/Marion, Marion/Mary – and I realised that I could explore the themes of the novel while in fact barely mentioning it. In May 2015 I spent a week staying at Marion’s cottage at Kilberry, and also visited the Castle, invited by Marion’s relatives John and Charmian Campbell. That made everything more personal – and revealed even more connections. I just started to feel everything so much more clearly, and followed those instincts, rather than sticking rigidly to an initial outline. There have been a few surprises along the way – themes that have popped up when I didn’t expect them. I always take that as a good sign – that as a writer, I’m not putting myself in the way of the work becoming what it wants to be.

How have the discussions between yourself and Muriel Romanes who is directing the production influenced changes in the story and the characters?

RS: Massively – Muriel has been so invested in this project since our very first conversations. The play has touched on themes and feelings for us both personally, and I think that has shaped how we’ve worked. We’ve talked a lot about Argyll and the Highlands, experiences of places and the capacity of those landscapes to evoke powerful feelings and memories. A personal anecdote of Muriel’s has actually ended up in the script, with permission! Muriel is also great at cracking the whip when it’s needed – I was struggling to sharpen up the story, with all these huge themes swimming around my head, I was looking for that balance… so having her advice as I edited really helped, always bringing it back to story and audience experience.

How did you feel when you saw the set design by John Byrne and how he had created the world of Yvonne’s cottage in Argyll?

RS: I honestly had to pinch myself – I’m such a huge fan of his, it’s embarrassing. But for the work as well – I’d been carrying this story, these characters, this location around in my head literally for years – and to see it take form not just on the page but as a three dimensional object, was a truly magical moment. I love seeing how other artists work, so to see Yvonne’s cottage from John’s point-of-view, was amazing. He’d picked up on such tiny details in the script, in such clever and subtle ways. It also really helped me to finish writing the final draft, as I could now envisage the stage more clearly and how the actors might move around the set. It also just brought me even closer to the characters and what they’re going through, I wanted to live there with them.

Will you be involved in rehearsals and are you looking forward to hearing your script at the read-through?

RS: I’ll be there for the first full week to start with – it’s so important to be with the actors and hear their voices, especially as this is our first meeting with the final script. I say ‘final’ – I’ll be making changes throughout that first week, according to what we discover as we work through it. I’m not precious in that way – I want the actors (and everyone) to tell me where it flows and where it doesn’t, as they’re the ones up on stage. I say this because I’m aware that this text is quite dense and abstract in places – and we have to make that work for audiences, or there’s no point. I’m excited, and also ready for the challenge. Nothing worth doing comes easy! I also can’t wait to hear Pippa Murphy’s score – sound will play such a huge role in creating the different worlds that the story moves between. Creating those emotional and psychological spaces for the audience is crucial if we’re asking them to join us in the story – so it’s a big job, but that’s why we’re all here.

The Air That Carries the Weight opens at the Traverse Theatre 24 March

To book click here

Jemima Levick appointed as Artistic Director and Chief Executive

Jemima Levick appointed as Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Stellar Quines.

Today Marilyn Imrie, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Stellar Quines Theatre Company, announced that Jemima Levick has been appointed as the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Stellar Quines. She will take up post after the current Artistic Director for the past twenty years, Muriel Romanes, steps down at the end of April 2016. Muriel Romanes said that she is thrilled, delighted and excited that Jemima is taking the helm.

Marilyn Imrie, Chair of Stellar Quines Theatre Company, said:

“The board of Stellar Quines look forward very much to working with Jemima, and feel confident she will take the company on from the superb foundations laid so brilliantly by Muriel Romanes.”

Jemima Levick

Jemima has been Artistic Director at Dundee Rep Theatre since 2013, and prior to that was Associate Director for 3 years. She trained at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and also on a Scottish Arts Council Director Traineeship.

She has won and been nominated for a number of awards and has directed more than 18 productions at the Rep, most recently The Witches, Great Expectations, James & the Giant Peach and The Glass Menagerie.

Prior to joining the Rep she worked freelance as a director and producer with a number of companies, including the Royal Lyceum Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, The Tron, Stellar Quines Theatre Company, Perissology Theatre Productions, Borderline, Grid Iron Theatre Company, The Traverse and Paines Plough.

Jemima Levick said on her appointment:

“I am thrilled to take on the mantle of Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Stellar Quines.  I have a huge admiration of Muriel and of all the women who have contributed to the successes that have made it the company it is today. 

I’ve learnt a huge amount at Dundee Rep for which I will always be grateful, but am looking forward to this new step and a new challenge.

Stellar Quines is an incredibly important organisation for the Scottish theatre community and beyond.  At a time when equality and the work of women remain sharply in focus, it is crucial that we have a dedicated organisation that works to promote, support and encourage artists and audiences to broaden our outlook on this agenda. I look forward to building on the company’s previous successes, while carving out a new and expansive future that is radical and relevant.”

Leonie Bell, Director, Art and Engagement at Creative Scotland said: “We are delighted by Jemima Levick’s appointment as Stellar Quines’ Artistic Director & Chief Executive.  Having benefited from the support and guidance of Muriel Romanes at pivotal moments early in her own career, Jemima is ideally placed to continue the company’s tradition of nurturing female theatre makers at all stages on their creative journey whilst bringing her own celebrated artistic vision to the next chapter of the company

Nick Parr, Chief Executive of Dundee Rep Theatre said: “Jemima has done an extraordinary job over the last seven years at Dundee Rep. In a world of intense competition and choice; she has enhanced Dundee Rep’s reputation for quality theatre with programming that is full of ambition and creativity. Jemima has won and been nominated for a number of awards and has directed more than 18 productions at the Rep including Beauty and the Beast, The Elephant Man and most recently The Glass Menagerie , Great Expectations and The Witches.  She has also made an outstanding contribution to championing accessibility and diversity at Dundee Rep such as last year’s production Blood Wedding.

“She is one of Scottish theatre’s great talents. I know that everyone who has worked with Jemima has huge admiration for what she has delivered in Dundee. On behalf of everyone at the Rep, I wish her well for the future.

 

Stellar Quines seek to appoint Artistic Director

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

The Board of Stellar Quines seeks to appoint an inspiring new Artistic Director to lead this award winning company, which champions the work of women and others both nationally and internationally.

The appointee will be an exceptional individual with passion, commitment and ideas, who will build upon the company’s existing achievements, under the leadership of award winning director Muriel Romanes. With overall responsibility for the artistic and executive management of the company in collaboration with the Board, they will maintain the highest possible standards in all areas of the company’s work, creating and leading on the company’s artistic vision and programme; seeking out and developing work for artistic collaborations, partnerships and co-productions and touring them; building and leading teams of creative practitioners, directing live theatre projects and productions, promoting new work and supporting and leading projects for new, emerging and established talent, developing the company’s profile with existing and new audiences and, develop the company’s significant reputation and contribution to theatre in Scotland and elsewhere, by keeping abreast of innovations and developments in theatre both nationally and internationally.

The Board are happy to accept applications from individuals and from those who might wish to apply as part of a partnership or team, and can demonstrate proven experience in working as a team in the creation and delivery of high quality innovative theatre which delights, challenges and entertains a wide spectrum of audiences.

Closing date: Friday 11 December 2015. Interviews will be held in the week commencing Monday 11th January 2016. The successful candidate should be available to take up the post from 1st May 2016.

For an application pack please email Lisa Sangster, Vice Chair at board@stellarquines.co.uk

Artistic Director Application Pack

Artistic Director Application Form

Equal Opportunities Form

Sophie Stephenson

How would you describe your current work and what do you like best about it?

Currently, I am working with Stellar Quines as choreographer on the production of THREADS – a play by Sylvia Dow which combines songs, steps and stories to weave together a multi-stranded history of knitting in the borders, from 19th Century millworkers to modern day knitting clubs.

It has been great to be surrounded by such a fantastic bunch of women and working with director Muriel Romanes has been an especially fascinating and inspiring experience as she has been full of ideas for incorporating foot rhythms into the piece. I am a step dancer and Muriel was keen to get me onboard to teach the cast steps, which could serve a practical function within the play – to create mechanical work rhythms of the mill. What has been interesting about the project is that it has encouraged me to think of dance and movement as sound. It has required me to distill my knowledge of jig, reel and strathspey steps into individual sounds, outwith the context of formal rhythmical structures, and then to piece together and layer these fragments to create interesting percussive effects. I have also been able to adopt techniques from other dance styles including Québecois, Irish Sean Nós and Appalachian flatfooting/clogging along with seated foot rhythms and body percussion.

What was your first ever job?

I grew up in the Highlands where my parents have a small hotel so I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t working or involved in some way in the family business. The hotel also provided many opportunities to meet people from different countries and to share with them our Scottish culture and hospitality.

Has there been a particular person or an opportunity that you feel has made the most difference to your career?

There have been many people and opportunities that have supported me in my career but I think in particular it was my parents who encouraged me with music, dance and performance from a young age. They made an effort to take me to music and dance classes and it has been these activities, which I pursued outside of formal education, which have been most formative in my career path. Exposure to Gaelic culture through fèisean (traditional music tuition camps) from a young age was also extremely important and after I graduated from the University of Edinburgh I went to live in Uist in the Outer Hebrides to study traditional music and then the following year I moved to the Isle of Skye where I did an intensive Gaelic immersion course and now a lot of the work I do is connected with the language.

What has been your favourite theatre production or concert?

Last year I went to see Québecois group ‘De Temps Antan’ at Celtic Connections and I thought to myself ‘This music is good for the soul’. I was lucky enough to get to see them perform again in 2014 at the Celtic Colours festival in Canada and then, this year, at Celtic Connections I saw another band from Quebec called ‘Le Vent Du Nord’ which special guests including Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, Scots singer Emily Smith and box player Sharon Shanon from Ireland. There is an almost spiritual quality about the resounding drones created by the jew’s harp, hurdy-gurdy, fiddle and accordion in Québecois music which, combined with the driving rhythms of the foot percussion and chant like song melodies, resonate with an inner groove.

What do you like the best about working within the arts?

What I enjoy most about working in the arts is working with and meeting so many different people along the way. As a dance tutor and performer I have worked in communities across Scotland, with a wide variety of different groups. It has also been great to have the opportunity to travel and I have been lucky enough to make two trips across to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Islands – places with which we share so much of our culture through a history of emigration from Scotland to the east coast of Canada.

What is the best advice you have received or would give about becoming a choreographer/dance teacher?

The best advice I was given was to give something back. The trad music and dance scene has very much grown out of grass-root initiatives made possible by the hard work of individuals and communities. If you can offer something back to that community by sharing the tradition and offering a free workshop or volunteering at a festival or on a committee then this is a good way of establishing professional contacts, which could bring future opportunities.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?

My Stellar Quine of the month would be the great singer and tradition bearer Sheila Stewart. I was exposed to her songs through the music of Martyn Bennett. Sadly Sheila passed away last December but her voice is forever with us in the many recordings made of her and the legacy she left behind by bringing the oral traditions of the travelling people to a wider audience. What was also great about Sheila was how supportive she was of Martyn’s music and the idea of bringing the old to the new by mixing old Scots ballads with modern dance beats. There is something real and raw about the tone of her voice that still sends goosebumps across my skin and it is as if, through the songs, she was channeling the sentiments and emotions of the many generations through which the traditions passed. In this way she was a vessel for the songs and a mouthpiece for lore of the travelling people.

I would also pick my two friends, band mates in `Huradal’ and companions on a creative journey exploring Gaelic song, music and dance – Eilidh Munro and Màiri Britton. We all studied at the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh and we share a passion not only for the songs and steps, but the importance of the tradition bearers and communities from which they came.

www.sophabulous.co.uk

 

Muriel Romanes to stand down as Artistic Director in April 2016

Stellar Quines Artistic Director, Muriel Romanes announced to the Company this week that she is to step down from her role with Stellar Quines at the end of April 2016.

Muriel Romanes was one of the co-founders of Stellar Quines twenty-two years ago and has been Artistic Director since 1996 and has directed many acclaimed productions for the Company. In 2007 she directed the award-winning production The Unconquered by Torben Betts, and in 2011 she won Best Director at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Age of Arousal, a co-production with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company. In 2012 she directed The List, which won a Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel Award and Best Production Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Subsequent productions of The Carousel and The Deliverance, all plays by Jennifer Tremblay, translated by Shelley Tepperman and starring Maureen Beattie, won Scotsman Fringe Firsts in 2014 and 2015. Her production of The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy (translated by Shelley Tepperman) received great critical acclaim at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 and was part of the Made in Scotland Showcase 2015.

Muriel will direct the forthcoming tour of Threads by Sylvia Dow, 31 Oct – 7 November and will lead the forthcoming Rehearsal Room 26 at Traverse Theatre, 13 & 14 November.

Muriel Romanes said:

“ It is with much sadness that I have announced my resignation as the Artistic Director of Stellar Quines Theatre Company as from 30th April 2016. I wish to enable the Company to move forward embracing a more passionate wider and ambitious landscape to exist in. I wish Stellar Quines much success for the future.”

Marilyn Imrie, Chair of Stellar Quines Theatre Company, said:

“ Through her years as the guiding light of this company, Muriel Romanes has ensured that women’s talents in all areas of theatre making in Scotland are celebrated and given a voice and a platform and room to grow; she leaves the company at the height of her powers, and she will, I know, continue to provide inspiration to theatre makers in Scotland and internationally.”

Laura Mackenzie Stuart, Creative Scotland said:

“We wish all of you the very best with future plans and look forward to the continued flourishing of Stellar Quines.”

The formal process to appoint a new Artistic Director will begin in the coming months.

Whilst extremely sad at the news the Company and the Board wish Muriel all the best for her future plans.

 

Two up and coming festival screenings of The List Film

We’re delighted to announce that The List Film will be screened as part of both Dundee Women’s Festival on Friday 13th March and Glasgow Short Film Festival on Sunday 15th March.

Dundee Women’s Festival celebrates International Women’s Day, 2nd – 22nd March 2015 – being a woman, women’s diversity, women’s culture, women’s stories, women’s wisdom, women’s identities and women’s lives. The List Film screening as part of Women’s Film night will be followed by refreshments and a Question and Answer session with Artistic Director Muriel Romanes.

Glasgow Short Film Festival 11th – 15th March 2015 presents Scottish and International competition selections showcasing the cutting edge of new filmmaking, devouring the boundaries of filmmaking conventions. This screening of the film will be followed by a discussion between theatre and filmmakers about the opportunities for collaboration between these two art forms.

Muriel Romanes

Muriel Romanes

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.