Sinead Rushe, Theatre Director – Interview


In Sinead’s own words:

“So far, my work as a director has taken many forms. I’ve directed adaptations from contemporary European literature (novellas, short stories and poetry), I’ve devised shows from original verbatim material, I’ve worked with new writers, I’ve created dance-theatre and more recently have directed Shakespeare with actors in training. My work ranges from intimate solo shows to casts of seventeen. It has incorporated the latest in video technology (using Hippotiser and catalyst software) as well as original sound scores and live interactive sound engineering. I’m currently involved in several different projects: working with the Actor’s Ensemble in New York state to develop a staging of Henry James’s Washington Square; remounting an adaptation of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman for Sherman Cymru Theatre in Wales as well as exploring broader ideas around meaning, movement and form which I’ll present in a talk at Lillian Baylis Studio, Sadlers Wells in London on November 11, 2013.

My work combines two approaches: the first is a detailed attention to text and character, the second is movement or choreography. This comes, in part, from the other pathway in my work – that of actor training. For many years I’ve studied two unusual and relatively unknown Russian methods for actors: Biomechanics and the Michael Chekhov technique. I teach both of these at Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Biomechanics, created by Russian director Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874-1940), is a rigorous physical training based on the premise that in order to be imaginatively free the actor must by physically free. It trains the actor’s physical dexterity, elasticity and responsiveness. The Michael Chekhov technique privileges the imagination as the actor’s primary source of inspiration. Michael Chekhov (1891-1955) – one of Stanislavsky’s most brilliant pupils and actors and nephew of Anton Chekhov – believed that the actor need not rely on personal experience or emotional memory to transform. He favoured an imaginative, objective approach. So you might say that Biomechanics looks after the actor’s body and the Michael Chekhov technique connects the body to the mind, the inner life and the voice. I feel my work in rehearsal is borne out of these methodologies which I first encountered in Paris. Part of my project is also to make these valuable tools accessible to actors and directors.”

In this interview Sinead talks about her own experience of fusing different styles of performance.