Stolen Moments: 5 minutes with Kidnapped Director, Anna Fox

Posted on 23 April 2014

We stole 5 minutes with the director of Kidnapped, Anna Fox for an insight to the day-to-day life of a director.

Who or what inspired you to become a Director?
I love storytelling, am fascinated by human relationships and have always loved the theatre. It has an immediacy and intimacy, whether as a member of the audience, the cast, or the creative team, that you cannot get from other media. I caught the bug at a very young age. Like many, my early experiences of theatre were as an actor and I was only introduced to directing when a friend of mine convinced me to direct a play with him. Although I took some persuading at first, as soon as we started I was hooked. I love the challenge of identifying the essential elements of a play; the universal and individual stories it has to tell and creating a production that connects that story; whatever it may be, whoever it might happen to, or whenever it might be set, to an audience today.

What are your responsibilities as a director of Kidnapped?
Before rehearsals began there was a lot of research to be done about the characters and historical context of the play for me to really get stuck into. As we are working with a new text I was lucky enough to have a fair amount of practical work to get my teeth into before rehearsals. I held a week-long workshop, where the creative team had the chance to work with actors to develop the script, it did involve a lot of intense text work but we also had a lot of fun playing around with puppetry and physical theatre.

I have regular production meetings with our creative team – this production is more technically ambitious than any I have directed before and therefore I spend a lot of time having the necessary technical terms translated for me.

My responsibilities changed once we got into the rehearsal room. I am lucky to be surrounded by a fantastic team who took a lot of the technical and logistical worry off my hands, which meant I could spend most of my time working with the actors, musical director and choreographers to piece the play together. With such a big creative team, an essential part of my role has to be to oversee the whole process to make sure we get the best show we possibly can.

Describe a typical day for you?
I suppose the short answer would be that there’s no such thing as a typical day. But that’s the fun of it really! Before rehearsals began I spent a lot of time sat at my desk at home, surrounded by books and scripts and papers, listening to Scottish folk songs and furiously emailing. I’m a teacher alongside directing, so every couple of days I’ll head off to school or a pupil’s house. I usually spend about one day a week in the Sell A Door office, where I can really focus on business.
Once rehearsals began a typical day involved getting up nice and early to gather all my things and heading to the rehearsal room, working till 6 then heading out for a working dinner or drink with the creative team to sum up the day and finalise plans for the next.

What is your favourite thing about the production?
The adventure of it – both for me, and hopefully for our audiences! I grasped the opportunity to incorporate a number of mediums into what I hope is a spectacular exploration of the power of the imagination. I know a lot of young people these days would far prefer to watch the television or pull out the Xbox than go to the theatre or tell each other a really good story. I hope that Kidnapped will inspire a few of those people to play a bit more, in the way that I remember doing as a child; running around my living room with bed sheets creating imaginary worlds. There’s plenty in there for adults too and I think that’s the beauty of a really good story; it has the ability to talk to everyone in one-way or another.

What do you hope audiences will get out of seeing Kidnapped?
I think theatre is brilliant because it’s about that live experience. It’s never the same twice, and everyone will go away with something different. As long as everyone takes something from it; that it makes him or her think, feel or even do something (maybe run around with bed sheets) then I’ll be happy.

What would you say to anyone who wants to get into directing?
It takes a lot of commitment and you spend a lot of time wondering what on earth you are going to do next and often what you’re doing at the moment! But I would say to them what I would say to anyone that has a dream, or something that they really want to do: stick with it. Work really hard. Do it as much as you can, in whatever way you can, and get yourself out there. Be confident in what you are good at, and be ready to work on what you need to. Read scripts, see theatre, talk about theatre, and decide what you like (and what you don’t). Take note of anything that interests you about the world. Say what you think it’s important to say and do it in the best way you can.

Kidnapped with be commandeering the B2 stage from Tues 27 May – Sat 31 May.