I wrote, produced and directed my first play when I was, if memory serves (it doesn’t) 14. The performance area was the stairwell in the Glasgow tenement where I lived. The cast included two boys, who were younger than me, and a girl, who was older. There was no audience. But that didn't matter. I was hooked.
My early mentor was Booker prize-winning author, and fellow Glaswegian, James Kelman. He told me I would go far. And I did – all the way to deepest, darkest Tasmania, via living and working in London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne along the way.
The upside about running my own little independent theatre company in a remote island at the end of the world is that I’m able to do what I love for a living without having to live in the rat race of the big cities. My productions are self-funded, which means I don’t have to ask anyone else for money (which is handy because no one wants to give me any) and I have total creative freedom to make all the mistakes I try to avoid making but make anyway.
The downside about running my own little independent theatre company in a remote island at the end of the world is all about perception. (People keep saying that ‘theatre is dead’ – and declining audiences may yet prove it to be so – but theatre snobbery is alive and kicking.) Plus it’s harder to get a seat at the big table when you’re so far away from it – but not impossible. I’ve been able to attract some famous talent here hopefully for the quality of the scripts and the productions.
Style-wise, my productions are minimalist. I have an eclectic taste in the shows I like to present. These days I tend to focus on adapting, producing and directing shows that feature well-known talent. I’ll keep doing that until I drop dead or run out of money (preferably the former will happen before the latter) – or until the rise of AI makes everything even more pointless than it is already.
Stephen Beckett Productions