spotlight on #tfhq
There’s been a lot of change around here. We’ve changed artistic directors, moved to Watford Palace Theatre, relaunched the brand and passed the administration baton from long-serving thomas kell to alison hargreaves. So, let us introduce ourselves….
Hey you, what’s your name?
What do you do at tfhq?
What are you reading, watching and listening to at the moment?
artistic director & ceo
I’ve just finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and am bereft. I finished it in a week – relatively slowly for a book I relished so much -because I tried to exercise restraint so that it’d last. I am completely incapable of second readings / watches but I’d consider it for Chimamanda. I’m listening to various Spotify playlists – the more hilarious the title the better – and watching Orange Is The New Black like everyone else on twitter.
I’m reading Bleak House very slowly as I’ve managed to avoid reading Dickens my entire life and it felt like I should correct that. I’m watching a lot of hijabi vlogger Dina Torkia talking about fashion and arbitrary delights. I’m listening a fair amount to a playlist I made which includes Todd Terje and Dark Dark Dark.
What is your first memory of theatre?
My first memory of theatre is doing rather than watching though my mum insists we were regular audience members at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh. My memory is awful – or she is fibbing to make sense of my professional choices – so I can’t remember those shows but I do remember being in a musical when I was 7. It had the words Christmas and Caper in the title and I got to wear a sassy red super-hero cape. What I’d give to be able to pull of a cape these days.
I think it was a show at The Polka Theatre called Indigo Mill which was about William Morris – I remember the political tinge and feeling baffled in a good way.
How did you end up doing the job you’re doing?
My professional journey began at four years old – though I think I called it a hobby then and didn’t know what professional meant or how to spell journey. My love of theatre was borne of doing, getting stuck in, making things happen; as a little girl, I was a very active participant – being taken from youth theatre to dance classes via staging my own performances in the school playground or performing to an audience of captive cuddly toys. Those performances grew too big for my bedroom and into classrooms then rehearsal rooms and studios ending up in the Old Vic Tunnels, Southbank Centre, Royal Court and the Young Vic and now, tiata fahodzi. I studied theatre and arts management at De Montfort University – knowing I wanted to be a manager as well as a maker but not knowing what training I wanted or understanding the difference between drama schools and universities and the rest of my career has been spent trying filling in the gaps.
Oddly. From community care and producing in France through a few different roles at Bristol Old Vic – to here.
What’s your favourite thing about your job and what’s the most challenging part of your job?
Anything is possible and – gulp – everything is possible.
My favourite and the most challenging part is the newness
What most excites you about the future of tiata fahodzi?
Everything is so possible.
What it would look like if we filled those massive cultural gaps in mainstream British theatre and brought it up to date.
If you could go back, what would you tell your younger self? What advice would you have for her?
It’ll be alright.
I would say “do it, you’ll survive”
Dream dinner party?
Who’s cooking? I adore dinner parties – throwing them, attending them. James Baldwin. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Hans Ulrich Obrist. Speech Debelle. debbie tucker green. Idris Elba. Everyone’s welcome.
Umm Nigella Lawson (she wouldn’t need to cook – I think she’s smart and irreverent and I like her)
… Maybe it would just be me and Nigella. Sofa snacks and telly. And wine.