Ibsen, Gupta, Christian, Bartlett and Sophocles – being the Lyric Resident Assistant Director
As our Birkbeck Resident Assistant Director Anthony Hoskyns placement comes to an end, we asked him to reflect back on his time at the Lyric.
‘I’ve had the pleasure of being the Resident Assistant Director at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre since July 2019; encompassing almost all Main House productions. The role of an Assistant Director is hugely varied, depending on the requirements of the production and Director.
Two experiences really stand out for me when I think about my time at the Lyric; the first was the free first night (FFN) for Tanika Gupta’s new adaptation of A Doll’s House, directed by Rachel O’Riordan. The FFN is a fabulous tradition at the Lyric, whereby anyone in the local community can get a free ticket to the opening preview, so long as they live in the borough. The mix of it being Rachel O’Riordan’s first production as Artistic Director, viewing Tanika Gupta’s phenomenal adaptation, and being performed by a company who’d worked so hard over the five weeks of rehearsal; to a real cross-section of the community made the atmosphere utterly electric, an experience I will never forget.
Secondly, was the Lyric’s annual pantomime, which in 2019 was Cinderella. The company had their free first night at 7pm and then returned at 9am the next morning for their first schools show at 10am; good preparation for the schedule that was to come. Our returning Buttons (Jodie Jacobs) had warned everyone that the schools audiences could be rather noisy. However, as I took my seat, I still had no idea what lay in wait. The noise that greeted Jodie when she first walked out on stage was extraordinary; it was a wall of screaming excited teenagers, which continued from curtain up to curtain down. Cinderella was my first foray into the multidisciplinary nature of musical theatre and really hammered home the symbiotic relationship between cast and audience.
Along with the four wonderful productions I’ve had the privilege to work on, it’s the creative teams at the Lyric who will sick in my memory; the companies of actors, creatives and technical team who all pull together to realise each writers vision, whether it be Ibsen/Gupta, Sophocles, Mike Bartlett, or Jude Christian.
The opportunity to support Rachel O’Riordan, Tinuke Craig and Roy Alexander-Weise (all too briefly) realise their productions, will stand me in terrific stead. Watching the manner in which they go about their work will inform my own practice for years to come and I’m so grateful for the Lyric in providing me with his opportunity.’
The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre is proud to be a placement provider for the Theatre Directing MFA qualification at Birkbeck University.