Part 3 of a 3-part series

From assisting with directing at The Globe to winning Fringe First Awards in Edinburgh, one would be forgiven for envying the life of young theatre director Kirsty Patrick Ward. However, despite the glamorous exterior to this career, behind the curtains lurks a much darker side to London’s shining theatre scene. 

People are under the misapprehension that [theatre directing] is a glory role. However you only really notice when the direction is bad.

"People are under the misapprehension that [theatre directing] is a glory role. However you only really notice when the direction is bad," Patrick Ward explains. "If you really enjoy the show and people are really engaging, then it is probably stunningly directed. For me, a director’s work should be seamless not showy." 

Despite there being little room for glory, off-set egos still reign. "It is very competitive and very poorly paid," Patrick Ward explains. "Unless theatre companies receive more funding and grants are awarded to aspiring directors, London’s theatre scene will remain dominated by the middle-class. Not many directors can afford to work for free."

For me, a director’s work should be seamless not showy.

While financial and creative hardships can be a tough theme to a theatre career, it is the sheer love of the work that will always keep Patrick Ward in the game. "For me, the hardest thing is not working. Being on a freelance basis, you can do an amazing, huge piece of work and then potentially not work for six months. It can drive me insane if I am not working."

"Directing is certainly not glamorous, but you have complete control over a play," Patrick Ward enthuses with passion. "If you see your vision executed and it does well then there is nothing that can compete with that."

 

Words: Elizabeth Neep

Photography: David Secombe

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