Theatre careers: cast and crew

 3 February 2011

'Kursk' is a play inspired by the doomed Russian submarine. The cast and crew of the show spoke to Creative Choices about their unusual paths into a theatre career.

Getting a play on stage

"I realised there was a lot more to making theatre than just acting."

"I've been making theatre with Sound & Fury for almost ten years. I'm one of the co-Artistic Directors. I formed the company with my brother Tom and Dan Jones, who's a sound designer and composer and theatre director with me.

"That set us on this journey which has brought us into making this rather ambitious world known as 'Kursk', a show set on board a submarine that immerses its audience in the highly technical world of that environment."

Many different routes into a theatre career

Mark Espiner, Artistic Director

"My training has been slightly maverick. I did a lot of drama when I was at university and I did an arts degree, and then I worked in the theatre in the press and marketing department and I've written about theatre for the press and so on."

"I think the most important thing is, do it your way. Really have confidence in your ideas, believe in them, but also listen to people. Listen to what they have to say and how they might be able to invest your work with their very particular skill."

Tom Espiner, Actor

"I've always wanted to be an independent actor who has done different things, anything from radio to television to film and theatre.

"But I'm also aware that I'm not always in the fortunate position of being able to make a living from that. So it's been good to have a company where you can actually try and put on the work that you really want to put on."

Ian Ashpitel, Actor

"I did nine years in the Navy, and five of those were in submarines. The submarine broke down in Plymouth, and Tim Brooke-Taylor and Su Pollard were at the Hoe Theatre doing a show called 'Not Now, Darling'.

"I went to the theatre, saw the show, and all those ambitions I had as a child came to the fore and I thought, I'll give it a go, I'll leave the Navy to become an actor. So I spent two years in a soap opera called 'Family Affairs'. From there I just became a jobbing actor, doing various bits of TV."

Ed Collier, Producer

"I went to drama school with the hope of being an actor, but in fact through that process realised there was a lot more to making theatre than just acting.

"I enjoyed being in control more than I was able to follow a director's vision as an actor. Apart from anything else, I wasn't very good at acting, so producing felt like a natural progression."

Sam Evans, Lighting Technician

"I went to Middlesex University and got a degree in drama and technical theatre studies.

"I went there as an 18-year-old wanting to be a famous actor, and then halfway through the first year, I really got interested in the technical elements of theatre and found them to be a bit more rewarding and enjoyed them a lot more than learning lines.

"I quite enjoy being involved in big projects such as this one. Creating a space like this was a huge team effort, and being a part of that team was something that attracted me to being a technician."

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