TheatreCraft: Interview with Michael Grandage

“When I started out” Micheal Grandage tells the room full of 16-25 year olds at the opening of TheatreCraft, “I entered an industry that was apologetic.”

A career in theatre was not seen as a a career at all and not looked upon as a sustainable or respected job. But things have changed, the theatre director and producer asserts. The industry around theatre has grown and become professionalised. Jobs which previously didn’t exist are now taught in universities and colleges across the country. Nowadays, Grandage says, the industry is confident, proud of the itself and the “wonderful gift” is possesses which enables it to reach out and touch people.

“Who wants a career in banking?” Grandage quips to the audience of young people interested in a theatre career beyond the stage. “We have an opportunity to show that theatre is something that matters and changes people’s lives.”

After his inspiring opening speach at the TheatreCraft careers fair at the Royal Opera House, Grandage spoke to A Younger theatre’s live blogging team, Abigail Adeoti and Annabelle Lee, about embarking on a career in theatre.

What advice would you give to any young person wanting to go into theatre?

Michael Grandage:The most important thing is to genuinley make sure that you do really want it. Make sure its something that you’re passionate about and not just interested in. You’ve got to have more than just a passing interest. The theatre industry isn’t the place to go if you want to make money. It is a vocation, it has to be something that you want to do because you believe in it.

The idea of a career in theatre has to be something where you don’t looking forward to Friday afternoons or holidays. You need to want to do it as a life.

What inspired you to pursue a career in theatre?

MG: It’s partly to do with the first time I ever interacted with a theatre event. It was such a different experience to any that I had ever had and I realised that I wanted to be a part of it somehow.

The inspiration came from the energy of all the people creating the performance. Not just the actors on the stage, but all the people putting it together. I was very aware I was in the presence of something that was motivated in a different way to anything I had ever experienced before. and all I knew was I wan’t to be a part of it – and that was it!

How did you find yourself in the position of being a director?

MG. One of the reasons I’m an advocate for events like TheatreCraft and other events not just aimed at young people is that I changed my career mid-life. I was working as an actor, but then I didn’t want to do that anymore and I changed to directing in my 30s.

When I talk about bringing on people into the theatre, I tend to say, bringing on “new people” rather than just “young people”. It is quite important that people can have a change of career and decide to get passionate in the middle of their lives and not just at the start of it. I find myself continually evolving into another place. It is never to late to get started.

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