Country Images Magazine North Edition November 2017 - Page 55

it ’ s worked out .”
After attending Arnold Hill School and Bilborough College , Adam was accepted by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts – the drama school started by Paul McCartney .
But within weeks of beginning the course he realised it was a mistake . He was going to drop out but then showed an interest in directing .
For the past 15 years Adam has been a freelance director , working at theatres including the Watermill in Newbury , Salisbury Playhouse and London ’ s highly rated Donmar Warehouse .
He says he learned a huge amount at the National Theatre where Nick Hytner , the artistic director at the time , took Adam under his wing .
He met Mark Gatiss while they were working on Alan Ayckbourn ’ s Season ’ s Greetings in 2010 . After that Adam was Hytner ’ s assistant on One Man , Two Guvnors featuring James Corden .
“ I moved up to being the revival director which essentially meant that I was directing Nick ’ s production with new casts in the West End , on Broadway and around the world . That was an amazing experience .
“ I was also Nick ’ s associate on the National Theatre 50th anniversary celebrations a couple of years ago when we got to work with Maggie Smith , Judi Dench , Michael Gambon , Derek Jacobi , Benedict Cumberbatch and Helen Mirren . That ’ s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I expect will never be topped .”
Adam spent the first 18 years of his life in Nottingham , went away for 18 years and is now back in his home city , taking over as Playhouse artistic director from Giles Croft who , coincidentally , held the post for 18 years .
Adam admits that Giles is a tough act to follow : “ Some of the stuff that Giles has accomplished has been amazing . He ’ s produced over 50 new plays in those 18 years . It ’ s really admirable .”
The new man is welcoming , cheerful and simply can ’ t hide his passion for the theatre . He also admits that bits of his new job are daunting .
“ There ’ s no training course for artistic directors . There ’ s a huge amount of stuff which you have to learn on the job by making mistakes and taking the guidance of others . It ’ s occasionally daunting but it ’ s really exciting . You ’ re learning stuff every day and I relish that .”
Adam points out that his first season at the Playhouse is varied and there ’ s something for everyone . It includes the musical Sweet Charity , a play about the miners ’ strike and a family show Holes , the stage version of the Disney film .
“ It felt really important to me that the audience should be entertained . But there are also themes which will challenge the audience . That ’ s what theatre should do .”
He ’ s keen to attract people who haven ’ t been to the Playhouse before , especially younger theatregoers . And he believes that theatre is for everyone .
“ Some programming can be elitist . Much of the work ( in the new season ) is challenging but it should be a good night out . It shouldn ’ t be tortuous , it shouldn ’ t be boring .”
So what does Adam see as his biggest challenge during his tenure as the Playhouse ’ s artistic director ?
“ All arts organisations are being squeezed because local authority funding is disappearing . That ’ s because they ’ re being squeezed in turn by the government . That ’ s a real challenge .
“ All theatres are having to try to bring in more income to replace the public subsidy which is disappearing . I think there ’ ll be a breaking point at some stage so we ’ ve got to keep arguing the case for arts funding .”
He also says it ’ s understandable that some people don ’ t like the change that comes when a new artistic director takes over .
“ It ’ s making sure we take our audience with us while building a new audience . We do well in terms of sales but we absolutely could do better . That ’ s the big challenge that hopefully the 2018 programme will start to address .”
Adam Penford may not stay in his new job for the next 18 years but it will be interesting to see whether this driven yet personable young man makes as big an impact as his predecessor .
Adam Penford , Artistic Director Designate and Stephanie Sirr , Chief Executive , both of Nottingham Playhouse .
Adam has persuaded Mark Gatiss , known as one of The League of Gentalmen and as Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock , to come to Nottingham in November to play the lead in Alan Bennett ’ s The Madness of George III .
By Steve Orme
CountryImagesMagazine . co . uk | 55
it’s worked out.” Adam Penford, Artistic Director Designate and Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive, both of Nottingham Playhouse. After attending Arnold Hill School and Bilborough College, Adam was accepted by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts – the drama school started by Paul McCartney. But within weeks of beginning the course he realised it was a mistake. He was going to drop out but then showed an interest in directing. For the past 15 years Adam has been a freelance director, working at theatres including the Watermill in Newbury, Salisbury Playhouse and London’s highly rated Donmar Warehouse. He says he learned a huge amount at the National Theatre where Nick Hytner, the artistic director at the time, took Adam under his wing. He met Mark Gatiss while they were working on Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings in 2010. After that Adam was Hytner’s assistant on One Man, Two Guvnors featuring James Corden. “I moved up to being the revival director which essentially meant that I was directing Nick’s production with new casts in the West End, on Broadway and around the world. That was an amazing experience. “I was also Nick’s associate on the National Theatre 50th anniversary celebrations a couple of years ago when we got to work with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Benedict Cumberbatch and Helen Mirren. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I expect will never be topped.” Adam spent the first 18 years of his life in Nottingham, went away for 18 years and is now back in his home city, taking over as Playhouse artistic director from Giles Croft who, coincidentally, held the post for 18 years. Adam admits that Giles is a tough act to follow: “Some of the stuff that Giles has accomplished has been amazing. He’s produced over 50 new plays in those 18 years. It’s really admirable.” The new man is welcoming, cheerful and simply can’t hide his passion for the theatre. He also admits that bits of his new job are daunting. “There’s no training course for artistic directors. There’s a huge amount of stuff which you have to learn on the job by making mistakes and taking the guidance of others. It’s occasionally daunting but it’s really exciting. You’re learning stuff every day and I relish that.” Adam points out that his first season at the Playhouse is varied and there’s something for everyone. It includes the musical Sweet Charity, a play about the miners’ strike and a family show Holes, the stage version of the Disney film. “It felt really important to me that the audience should be entertained. But there are also themes which will challenge the audience. That’s what theatre should do.” He’s keen to attract people who haven’t been to the Playhouse before, especially younger theatregoers. And he believes that theatre is for everyone. “Some programming can be elitist. Much of the work (in the new season) is challenging but it should be a good night out. It shouldn’t be tortuous, it shouldn’t be boring.” So what does Adam see as his biggest challenge during his tenu ɔ́ѡA塽͗éѥѥ)ɕѽ+q́ɝͅѥ́ɔՕ镐)͔ѡɥ䁙չ́ͅɥ)Qӊé͔ѡeɔՕ镐ɸ)ѡٕɹиQӊéɕ+qѡɕ́ɔ٥ѼѼɥɔ)ѼɕѡՉՉͥݡ)́ͅɥ$ѡѡɗeɕ)ЁЁͽхͼݗeٔЁѼ)ɝեѡ͔ȁ́չt))Յ5ɬ)ѥ̰ݸ)Q1Ք)х)́5ɽ)!́)MɱѼ)Ѽ9ѥ)9ٕȁѼ)ѡ) ӊe)Q5́)ɝ%%$)!ͼ́ͅӊéչхѡЁͽ)eЁѡѡЁ́ݡ)܁ѥѥɕѽȁхٕ́ȸ+q%ӊéɔݔхȁՑݥѠ)ݡե܁Ց]ݕ)ѕɵ́́ͅЁݔͽѕ䁍ձѕȸ)QӊéѡѡЁձѡ)ɽɅݥхЁѼɕ̻t)Aɐ䁹Ёх䁥́܁)ѡЀ啅́ЁЁݥѕɕѥѼ͕)ݡѡȁѡ́ɥٕЁͽչ)́́Ё́́ɕͽȸ) Mѕٔ=ɵ) չ%5饹լ