BA (Hons) Dramatic Arts, ALRA
Assistant Director/Sebastian, Twelfth Night, Julian Glover 1997
Julian was an inspiration to me; we became very close and he allowed me to edit the text with him and assist on the direction of a wonderful production of Twelfth Night. We really celebrated the language and interspersed the play with an ensemble recitation of Shakespeare’s sonnets during scene changes. It worked beautifully, and the orchestration prompted many who saw the play to comment on how much they liked the scene changes. It was a true celebration of the essence of the play.
‘If music be the food of love, play on!’
Assistant Director/Berowne, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Glen Walford 1998
I was very lucky to be able to work alongside both Julian and Glen as assistant director and lead actor on two exceptional pieces of Shakespeare. Although totally different in style, both directors taught me a vast amount about the craft and I enjoyed my time under their tutelage immensely. I was given the task of editing Love’s Labour’s Lost, a five-act, four-hour-plus monster of a play, and I relished the chance to do so. I was meticulous and never altered the rhythm of the text. My cut came in at just under the desired running length and I do not feel the play suffered at all in any respect. I also learned to act a really meaty part, but thankfully many of the cuts I made were to Berowne (he likes to talk a bit).
Director, Six Characters in Search of an Author, ALRA 1998
Having impressed the powers that be, I was asked to direct my final show at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. It was a real eye-opener and sped up my learning curve to a very rapid degree. I learned a lot about actors, specifically about different types of actor and about how to get the best from each different type. Together we produced a very good, dark piece of work. With a talented cast and crew we brought something very special to life; of course the play itself allows for this. The translation we had been given needed a little work, but we received some really positive feedback from our tutors; I was singled out and thanked for the work I had put in. The college helped me to develop a great deal and has continued to do so for many years.
Director, A Time to Kill, Playing the Field Theatre Company 1998
Director, Learning to Fly, Playing the Field Theatre Company 1999
Being hired to work on these two plays was my first professional directing job, and the second play was my first experience of working on a brand new play – a very simple story about an illustrator who falls in love. After one show I was taken by the producer outside the theatre. I was confronted by a guy who was weeping uncontrollably. ‘You got it,’ he said. ‘You got the play. Thank you.’ It was the writer, Paul L Martin; he was really delighted and really surprised.
What I learned during these eight weeks was about restrictions that can be imposed upon the direction of a show. I learned about budgeting and time management; I learned that sometimes you have to work late into the night and that the direction of a play can be dictated (in some way) by what is available to be used. I learned quickly that direction itself can be, and in fact must be, environmental, technical and as resourceful as possible. I realised that it is testament to a director’s skill to solve problems outside of the artistic ones within a play. I started to learn about the complete craft.
Director, Pawn, RedCard Theatre 1999
After these two plays a fellow writer brought me a very rough first draft of what I believed could become a great play. So we knuckled down and produced five more drafts. Then we put it on. Putting this show on at the world-famous Man in the Moon theatre was a brilliant experience. I knew after this that I was more a director and writer than I was an actor. I missed the thrill of stage acting a lot, but it was replaced by another thrill entirely different to that of performing: it was watching people watch your play. It is really very cool indeed and the production of my first piece of writing was the first time I had witnessed it. The play was a massive success and really caught the imagination of those that saw it. After the reviews came out, we sold out.
The highlight for me on a personal level was being able to trust my own artistic vision and be commended for it. On the penultimate night of a three week run, I was sitting right at the back, as far out of the way as possible, when the audience started to file in. There were some strangely notable faces in that particular audience. I had a peaked baseball cap on and looked more like the archetypal hoodlum than the archetypal director. After the show and a rapturous ovation a woman turned to me with a big grin on her face, not knowing my involvement in the production, and said, ‘Well young man what did you think of that?’ I was stunned; anywhere outside of a theatre the two of us would be unlikely to have had a conversation. I remembered why the theatre is such a great place to be. I said to her, ‘I thought it was ok’. She smiled at me and said, ‘Well I thought it was brilliant’. It was the first time I had seen up close the effect one can have on an audience; I wasn’t in the play but I had written and directed it and it was the greatest feeling I have ever felt. It was such a small thing but it had a big impact on me.
After the show I was contacted by the London Arts Board (LAB) who invited me to submit my next play. Unfortunately by the time the script was complete three months later, the LAB had undergone a giant makeover and the production was never realised.
‘Redmond’s direction is deft with a human touch.’ THE STAGE
Director, Gemma’s Friends, Jelly Productions 2000
Following Pawn, I was hired straight away by another up-and-coming theatre company to direct another new play. It was another very enjoyable experience and was my first introduction to the new Blue Elephant Theatre. The show was well-received and well-reviewed, and I worked closely with the writer who is a very capable artist indeed. The play did incredibly well. I met with the artistic directors and producers and they were eager for me to direct more plays in their venue.
Director, Pawn Edinburgh Festival, RedCard Theatre 2001
We took the production of Pawn to C Venue for the festival. Performance had shown me where I could further improve the text. The debut was good, but the revised text produced an even better play. It was a great experience that taught me a lot, most importantly about text development.
Director, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, LK Productions 2002
This was an editing job that turned into a direction contract for a touring production of the play. I first had to produce a performable version of the story with a tiny cast of five. Once complete, I thought it would be a challenge to direct and wondered who they would ask. They asked me. It was great fun and I made some good friends along the way. The tour ended and I started to devote more of my time to writing.
Assistant Director, The Method, Natasha Landridge 2004
I took an opportunity to work with Natasha Landridge as it had been recommended to me that it would be a good test of my ability. Natasha is a celebrated playwright who had taken a very long break for theatrical writing and production. The play was very hard-hitting and I enjoyed the work a lot because it was another opportunity to work with another writer on a new play. I really responded to the lyrical nature of the text and helped Natasha wherever possible with editing.
Director, Nevermore, RedCard Theatre 2005
The production of Nevermore at the New Wimbledon Studio theatre remains my proudest professional achievement. It was reviewed and then it sold out. After our eleven performances the artistic director told me it was the best play she had seen in her time at the studio, and I was immediately offered a three week return at the end of the year. I am very proud of the play; it is heartfelt and honest.
‘One of the best plays this humble reviewer has ever seen at Wimbledon Studio, it is both directed and written by multi-talented Luke Redmond.’ WIMBLEDON GUARDIAN