The Secret Of My Success - Michael Boyd

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Time Out talks London 2012 with the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company

Did you choose your career or did it choose you?

I was either going to be the actor who always saw the show differently to the director, or the director.

What aspect of it gets you up in the morning?

Stalking the beast of a new show in the rehearsal room, like Ted Hughes stalks his unwritten poem in The Thought Fox. Seeing artists and other theatre makers grow in front of my eyes

How much of the child you were is in the adult you have become?

I have learned to moderate my pyromania, and no longer dress in superhero costumes but otherwise I recognise a lot of the young me in me. Theatre both requires and enables the cherishing of playfulness. My children gently mock any signs of mental atrophy and at the same time I love the fact that I’m their father. 

How much inspiration, how much perspiration?

Perspiration is the necessary preparation for inspiration, in the same way that you must plough the field before you can even speculate about a bumper harvest. This is how you "make" your own good luck.

What tip would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Try your hardest to work with and see the work of the very best.

What is the greatest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The greatest obstacles are probably internal and have to be overcome with each new project I think I have been very lucky in any negotiations with external obstacles.

Who’s been your greatest influence?

The best actors and theatre artists that I have worked with, the great Soviet director Anatoly Efros, and Shakespeare, have all inspired and taught me most.

If you had to choose a place in London that summed you up, what would it be and why?

The Regent Canal. Because its slow,  quite shy, and likes going down to the river and to the sea.

What’s the best place to eat near the Olympic site?

There’s a little cafe by the canal in the Lee Valley by Hackney Marshes.


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