Since receiving the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme placement at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre, it’s been a whirlwind of enlightenment – both in terms of developing directing techniques, but so too on how the full theatre environment runs on a daily basis.

Assisting on the beautifully spectacular and politically aggressive Bright Phoenix invited me into a brilliantly unusual rehearsal process I’d never witnessed before. With a consistently evolving script, and a huge amount of technical flourishes, the Bright Phoenix rehearsal room was a fast paced, high energy environment. Throughout the rehearsal period, director Serdar Bilis asked much of his actors; the rehearsals were both linguistically difficult and physically tiring. As an assistant it was therefore important for me to work with actors individually when they were not needed in the main rehearsal room, to ensure that all developments had been understood, digested and applied. After the intense pace of the rehearsal environment, it was useful as an assistant to allow the actors a more relaxed environment to consider, question and implement the discoveries that they’d made. Being able to work individually with actors, allowed me to develop and improve my directing techniques, by both building upon Serdar’s approach but then also to compliment his work with techniques of my own.

Following Bright Phoenix, I assisted on the production of 23 as part of the Everyword festival. 23 was made up of 23 small related productions happening around the local vicinity of the theatre over the course of one day. These included lighting installations, soundscapes, poetry, garden sculptures, metallic statues and small performance vignettes. The night culminated with a piece of poetry scored by a live band in the Everyman main space. Having 23 performances take place, Director Elli Johnson required me to take control and work on individual vignettes. It was superb to have the opportunity to work thoroughly and independently with a group of actors and put into practice some of the techniques learned during Bright Phoenix.

The Everyman have also been superb in allowing me to shadow various individuals in the organisation during their day to day activities. It has been particularly interesting to see the role of the Associate Director outside of the rehearsal room – what their responsibilities are when there isn’t a production taking place. It’s vastly informed me on the day to day running of the theatre, and highlighted the requirements which extend beyond creating individual productions.

In the last few weeks, the Everyman have supported me in piecing together my first funding application for a small scale North West tour. Each individual in the building has been extremely helpful in offering advice, and discussions have been had on what support in kind the Everyman would be able to offer if funding for the tour is successful. In the last week I have been offered another paid Assistant Directing job to follow my placement here, which I wouldn’t have successfully landed had RTYDS not supported me on this scheme.

Photo: Carl Au as Alan ‘Icarus’ Flynn in Bright Phoenix by Jeff Young at Liverpool Everyman. Photographer: Jonathan Keenan