Brain food: Unlikely managers - Artistic Director/Theatre Royal, York

Brain food: Unlikely managers - Artistic Director/Theatre Royal, York - Name: Damien Cruden

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Name: Damien Cruden

When did you become a manager?: In 1987 at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, when I was paid to direct for the first time. As a first job it was a nightmare - the play was by three writers who'd never even met each other.

I was saved by the generosity and experience of the cast.

What does management mean to you?: A big part of my job is to get the best out of the people I work with. Actors, designers, technicians and the theatre management all require a different approach. Actors in particular work on a very emotional level and it is important to create a safe, supportive environment for them. You can't ask the cast to leave their personal lives at home.

We do seven shows a year so I'm often rehearsing one show while doing the casting for another, and thinking about possible future productions all at the same time.

It's hard work and you have to be committed - no one in this business does it for the money.

What do you love/hate about it? I love experiencing a great performance.

It's hugely rewarding to see an audience having a wonderful time - it reminds me that we are pretty good at what we do. I hate it when we work hard to put on a good show and people don't come to see it.

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