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International Women’s Day – Artistic Director Karena Johnson

March 8, 2017

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve done a short Q&A with our Artistic Director Karena Johnson.

Here’s what she said:

What inspired you to be an Artistic Director?
I had been working and involved in theatre for many years.

In 1997 I decided to train as a theatre director. I became interested in how to support artists’ development, who decided what happened and what plays got seen on our stages. It occurred to me to have a bigger impact and expand the range of what happened on the stage, I had to become a decision maker, I had to become an Artistic Director.

I got my first Artistic Director job in 1998 when I started my own company with actor and writer Wayne Buchanan.

What advice would you give young girls who want to get into theatre?
Make sure it is something you love as it is a tough profession. Get involved at your local theatre. Do some workshops, volunteer as an usher. Being in that environment enables you to get an understanding of all the different roles and meet people who may give you your first break.

Who are your top 3 female role models?
My mum
 – Because she always worked really hard and never let having a family and caring for us get in the way of learning new things and achieving her own ambitions too.

Annie Castledine – Straight talking, challenging and honest artist who was a great mentor to me.

Maya Angelou – Because she was so talented, brave, spoke the truth and followed her heart.

Favourite female director?
Denise Wong
 – Artistic director of Black Mime – An amazing visionary making such affecting work that’s way ahead of her time and has not had the recognition she deserved.

Favourite actress?
Noma Dumezweni – For her versatility, searing emotional commitment in performance.

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