Close Short Course – Prologue

In the middle of February I will be heading over to Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire for a fortnight of leadership training care of the Clore Foundation.

By all accounts, this is a fantastic course that can really change the way that people approach there roles, particularly in terms of arts leadership.

Although I am looking forward to it, I am also apprehensive. This is a natural reaction, of course, to the necessary introspection and self-assessment that will be a theme of our time in cloisters. There is, however, a deeper nagging unease about the process – the exploration of which may be as fruitful and rewarding as the myriad of management training exercises that lie ahead.

In the spirit of shared introspection, I aim to record my experiences here. So, to kick off this series of musings I present the brief overview I was asked to submit to introduce myself to my fellow Clore travellers.

A brief synopsis of your career to date and current job in no more than 150 words

Roland Smith is founding member and artistic director of Theatre Delicatessen. Through the innovative use of empty buildings to establish ‘pop-up’ performance spaces and creative hubs, of the leading lights of the UK’s immersive theatre scene. At the same time, the company has developed an important artist development scheme, supporting emerging theatre makers who are working at the cutting edge of theatre practice. In February 2011, The Observer recognised the impact that Theatre Delicatessen had made when they profiled the company as one of the “Bright Young Things Changing British Theatre”.

For Theatre Delicatessen, Roland has directed Henry V, conceived and directed Pedal Pusher (295 Regent Street; Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Tobacco Factory, Bristol; Norsk Litturfestival, Cavendish Club and Fanshen (both 295 Regent Street). Prior to this, Roland was awarded the RSC “Buzz Goodbody” Award for his revival of David Hare’s The Absence of War (NSDF and Venue 45).

Tell us what matters most to you and why (no more than 100 words)

Liberty and equality – everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Therefore everyone should have access to the education, health and social care that they need – and is reasonable for society to provide.

All of this highfalutin prose flies out the window if there is any threat to my son or my family. I am astounded by the love, happiness and apprehension that fatherhood brings

Boils down to two quotes from Marx: “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need” and “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

Tell us about someone or something that inspires you and why (no more than 100 words)

“I’m the one person in this industry who famously has never made any money. I used to say ‘some people make money and some make history’, which is very funny until you find you can’t afford to keep yourself alive. I’ve never paid for private healthcare because I’m a socialist. Now I find you can get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery on the NHS but not the drugs I need to stay alive. It is a scandal.”
Anthony H Wilson, Cultural catalyst, 1950 – 2007