Sarah Brigham, the Artistic Director of Derby Theatre, tells us who has inspired throughout her career.
Damian was my Youth Theatre Director at Hull Truck when I was 13 and then later employed me at York Theatre Royal as his Youth Theatre Director when he was Artistic Director. I remember that as my Youth Theatre Leader he instilled a real rigor and discipline in us, but also allowed us to find the sense of play in any text and told us we had to be passionate and political about what we wanted to say as theatre makers. I think these are the basics I hold onto, even now. Later in my career his generosity and support to me as a young aspiring director, and continued commitment to young people and the next generation of theatre artists at York Theatre Royal, were great inspirations.
Linda taught me at Bretton Hall –- she was one of the first female role models I had in theatre and I remember feeling inspired by her talent, tenacity, passion and creativity. When I graduated at age 21, with no clue what I should do, she opened the door to my first job and helped me understand how to make my own creative opportunities.
Anthony gave me my first job as an actor for The Theatre Company Blah, Blah, Blah. He is a real artist through and through with a genuine intellectual underpinning to his work. Anthony helped me realise that all you need is a story to tell and an audience. I remember being in a school hall in East Leeds and watching in awe as Anthony transported initially disengaged young people into an imaginative world where anything was possible. The work the Blahs continue to do is often not in the limelight but always vital and exciting.
James employed me at Dundee Rep as Associate Director. He totally understands the concept that artistic excellence in making great professional work and innovative learning programmes for young artists aren’t mutually exclusive and he allowed me to work in both realms. James’ vision for Dundee Rep made it seem like anything was possible and he encouraged all the staff team to strike out and be the best they could be. James is a brilliant strategic thinker – he sees how to make connections and partnerships which will ultimately help, not just his cause, but the whole theatre sector move forward.
Janet Smith and Amanda Chinn
Working alongside Janet and Amanda was incredible. Scottish Dance Theatre was a well-oiled machine under these two inspiring women; touring internationally and making great work and yet they always found time to show warmth, support and an “out of the box” approach to helping me on the projects I was working on. Their interest in the person, as well as the art they are making or the job they are doing, has really influenced me throughout the years when I manage teams.
Sarah Brigham is the new Artistic Director of Derby Theatre; a producing house in the heart of the city with a focus on artistic excellence and supporting the next generation of Theatre Artists.