The Artistic Director Leadership Programme just had its first birthday! One year on, our Trainee Artistic Directors write to the 2017 version of themselves, sharing what they know now, that they wished they knew then. On Monday, Anastasia told Anastasia “relax and enjoy the roller-coaster of the next two years”, on Tuesday Nathan said to his younger self “understand the culture deeper and take the time to really get to know the company”, on Wednesday Kash told himself “keep the faith and throw everything you have at it!”.
Next up, Anthony Ekundayo Lennon, Trainee Artistic Director at Talawa Theatre Company.
Look at your CV. Know your worth and begin digging deeper into your potential as a future leader within the industry. You have spent so many years supporting, encouraging and mentoring a host of artists all around the UK and are genuinely appreciated by all of your peers who you have worked with over the years as an actor, director, assistant director, resident director, workshops facilitator and cultural engagement consultant.
As soon as you can, get used to having a desk, ha. You need not walk into the office with your freelance brain turned on to maximum. Soak in the positive and busy new environment that Talawa Theatre Company is and know that your place within the company for the next 18 months will be beneficial for you and for the Talawa team.
Get used to being able to walk into any UK theatre without the feeling of ‘imposter syndrome’, a feeling that so many friends/peers in the industry express feeling as part of their day to day career experience, related to ‘race’ and ‘class’. Allow the support of Talawa to further boost your confidence and understand that this confidence boost is completely natural and on time. Enjoy the feeling as much as you can while exploring the world of networking. Enjoy looking at the wish list of productions that you have and take a close look at how specifically interesting they could be for particular venues around the UK.
Never be afraid to ask the company that is hosting you if they can advise or support or help initiate a specific idea that you wish to explore. Even if they cannot help in all the ways that you might wish, it can never hurt to be expressing yourself and allowing those that you are working with to know your ideas and visions. If it cannot happen on the programme, keep the idea nurtured for another day.
Anthony was a professional actor during the 1990’s and began his industry journey as a performer by attending the Old Vic, Lyric Hammersmith and Shiftwork youth companies while also attending the Weekend Arts College. He worked for numerous companies such as Double Edge, Carib TIE, Black Theatre Forum, UK Arts International, Talawa and Black Mime Theatre. He was last seen on stage in the Liverpool and Everyman UK tour production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Yellowman directed by Gemma Bodinetz.
As a staff, assistant or resident director he has worked at venues including the Almeida, National Theatre, Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company and Novello Theatre. He has directed at venues such as Contact Theatre (Manchester), Talawa, Theatre 503, Stratford Circus, Chats Palace, Soho Theatre Upstairs and Sadler’s Wells. Most recently he was Resident Director for the UK tour of An Officer and a Gentleman, looking after the show for Nikolai Foster – Curve (Leicester).