10 questions for 10 years – Paul Foster

Director Paul Foster (no relation, honest!) takes on the 10for10 challenge

Paul Foster has two major projects in the near future – diving into The Deep Blue Sea with the glorious Nancy Caroll and opening a UK tour of Curtains with Jason Manford. And it is surely in no small part to his revelatory work on A Little Night Music (featuring a career-best Josefina Gabrielle) at the Watermill in 2017 that his star is rising so.

I asked him to recall a little of that time:

“A testament to truly brilliant creative colleagues and a matchless cast that we pulled it off in four weeks!. The quality of that material is so apparent and to get to know Sondheim a little as we prepared for it was incredible. I’d got his autograph when I worked the cloakroom at the National but left it on the 91 bus, so the emails and calls squared the circle!”

  • Where were you 10 years ago?

    I’d just directed my first show – Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart at the Union Theatre. I’d mainly been a stay at home Dad to my eldest daughter at the time. After assisting a little, I ventured out on the path of making my own work.

  • Best show you’ve seen in the last 10 years?

    Really hard to choose but I’m going to say Fun Home at Circle in the Square in New York. Beth Malone singing ‘Telephone Wire’ broke me. Such a beautifully crafted piece of theatre.

  • What has been your professional highlight of the last 10 years?

    Being asked back to work in a theatre. I think that’s a nice compliment: to not have aggravated or underwhelmed people so much that you’re not welcomed back a second time! And all the actors and colleagues I’ve worked with.

  • Top flavour of interval ice-cream?

    I’m Northern, so I do baulk at the prices but I would say stem ginger (which was a big seller when I ushered at the National when I was training at LAMDA).

  • What show do you wish theatres would give a rest for a few years?

    I feel I’ve seen a lot of A Midsummer Night’s Dreams ; although actually I realise I’ve also seen Charity Hope Valentine get pushed in a lake at least half a dozen times.

  • Name someone who you think is a really underappreciated talent (in the world of theatre)?

    Good DSMs – so crucial to the crispness and flow of a show.

  • Elphaba or Glinda?

    With all due respect, Althea from The Light Princess.

  • What is one thing that you think would help theatre survive and/or thrive the next ten years?

    Cheaper tickets and a government that genuinely and non-grudgingly made the case for the arts. Theatre has changed my life beyond measure.

  • Which is your favourite theatre?

    Toss-up between the Royal Exchange and Sheffield Crucible

  • Can you say anything about what’s to come for you, (in the next ten years or otherwise)?

    Hopefully to keep working on telling meaningful stories. I’d like to be the Artistic Director of a theatre someday. My children are growing up so I can perhaps dream of having an on-going conversation with an audience and nurture a building.

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