Peter Hall was just organizing the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was going to be an ensemble, it was going to be in repertory, it was going to have a home in London as well as in the Midlands, and all of those things were happening at that time.
One fine day I discovered that more complex plays really have to be directed.
What you’re doing is putting into professional play the way that you relate to other people, the way that you analyze and relate to a written text, the way that you would persuade anybody to do anything. It has to do with listening, with humility and a sense of yourself.
When I was at Stratford, the very first thing that I was commissioned to work on was trying to make a musical out of the documentary material about the General Strike, which was the next big historical event in England, after the First World War.
So, through all that early professional career I would occasionally do a musical, a pantomime or a play with songs. The next stop would be a Shakespeare, or an Ibsen, or a play by a brand new writer who had never done anything in the theater before.
I’ve just taken the decision that I’m going to now go full time back into the theater.
I so wanted to perform, and I grasped every opportunity.
I’ve never thought it strange to do highly contrasting things. I always thought it was all part and parcel of theatrical expression. At school, I loved doing revues, I was in a rock ‘n’ roll group and I staged a couple of musical events, then, when I left, I formed a little company to do...