Max Mason, a member of Bede's leaving Upper Sixth cohort and Drama enthusiast, writes about his experience taking part in an online masterclass with Emma Rice and her renowned company Wise Children. Max secured a place on this highly-competitive course thanks to his directorial concepts for two innovative reinventions of classic texts.
For all directors and creatives working in the arts sector at the moment, there is a pervasive sense of futility. What is there to create or produce now theatres are closed? How can we reach audiences without a space to perform in? And, most importantly, how can we develop as theatre makers when there is nothing to work towards?
All of these questions must have dawned upon the artistic director Emma Rice – the agent provocateur of world-renowned theatre company Kneehigh and the current artist in residence at the Old Vic – who announced last month she would be running online classes for aspiring theatre directors and writers.
For someone who has eagerly followed her work for years, and has had a passion for theatre for much longer, this experience had been a long time coming. So, after conceiving and presenting two presentations on a French and Greek play respectively, I was accepted into Wise Children’s Director’s course.
The webinar offered an amazing insight into Emma’s personal, creative process. Alongside a fellow Wise Children theatre maker Steph Curtis, the session covered how to work with actors, the rehearsal process, practical advice like how to obtain stage rights, how to approach text – from Shakespeare to Angela Carter novels – and most importantly for Emma: how to always have fun.
This session not only taught me a great deal about the directing process – and the vast array of skills required – but inspired me to keep creative even in times such as these. Emma is known for her productions which find beauty in tragedy; celebration in chaos – and what could be more useful advice for us right now?