Where does humility end and weakness begin? Where does strength end and bullying begin?

Convener(s): Emma Rice  

(Notes taken by Madeleine Bowyer)

Participants: Madeleine Bowyer, Ray, Annette Mees, Rikki Tarascas, Sam  Yates, Alastair Evans, Fiona Watt, Carolina Valdes, Melisande Cook, Alex Hassell, Lucy Pw, Anna Barrett, Sam Jones, Penny Francis, Tamzin Griffin, Jade Gandy, Paul Allender, Adam Bennett, Caroline Thompson and many more… 

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

How do you keep a light instinct and guarantee a product?

Emma fell into directing by instinct

Nurturing a natural female tendency so how to react if there is the opposite energy coming at you

Keep creating

Love all your own work

Emma asked why did we all come to her session


The question for session was very honest

A genuine question from a maker to feed back into their work

How do you stay with who you are?

Try to be honest

Look back at your influences

Where you’ve come from

Where you’re at

Where you want to go

Looking at the range of directing from

Preparing alone to                                                  being totally collaborative

moving around on this line

Staying open but still guiding


Coming into big organisations like RSC, National

There’s already a system there, how much do you ‘be’ the system

Stick your ground but listen

See yourself in a different context

You love your work and should be allowed to fail magnificently sometimes

Casting going through a building and not in it’s normal environment is tough

Tricky thing with theatre is as soon as you quantify stuff does it disappear

We are all operating in a system- a patriarchal white middle-class male led system

How do you solve a dilemma?

Soften the horns


But recognise the dilemma


Female side maintains stable, unjust state

Male side maintains unstable, just state 

We all have to learn to be bi-cultural

Kneehigh going into the National is part of the National’s revolution

And there is a getting lost factor

It’s difficult to claim your stake

More people working should know that they are invited into these buildings because they allow themselves to be vulnerable

Your vulnerability is your strength

Also we need to take responsibility for what place we allow ourselves to be bullied in and how we bully others 

How to connect to your authentic voice

Go out of a building

Touch a tree or whatever to reconnect to your voice

The people who give advice aren’t vulnerable because they don’t have to take their own advice 

Humility                                                                                             Bullying

                        Are we always shifting between the two points?

Whatever decision you make is the only decision

Emma said she has a care for the many people she cares passionately for and they are an important part of the work

What is indispensable about the work?

It’s a Faustian pact-    always a compromise somewhere

It can feed back into the work that you do, working away and with other people

Gave the example of Rufus Norris who worked in a collaborative team then didn’t then worked with members of the original collaborative team after a few years and many productions


Tough to deal with the knowledge that the show would be better with people you know

Maybe you can work with those people after?

How much do you want to go into conflict if you disappear in conflict?


Talk to people who have been through a similar experience

There is no clear answer

It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to work in big buildings

All you can be responsible for is your own creativity

Does the work exist without the ensemble?

A new crew for the captain of the ship or climbing onto a new ship?

Goes back to the continuity & ensemble debate that Michael had on Saturday morning 

There are no bad guys in this just different perspectives