150 former pupils and staff gathered at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London for an exclusive Q&A evening with Old Stopfordian (former SGS pupil) and award-winning National Theatre director Marianne Elliott.Marianne Elliott tells all to David Howson
Deputy headmaster David Howson led the conversation with Marianne who is renowned for her critically acclaimed productions, including War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. His thought-provoking questions led into a lively discussion followed by questions from the audience.
Before talking about her professional career, Marianne was reminded of her portrayal of Maggie Hobson in Hobson’s Choice during her time in the Sixth Form at Stockport Grammar, which on reviewer stated: “communicated great warmth and her big eyes sent out waves of emotion and tenderness.”
As one of the earliest female pupils at SGS, Marianne told the audience “What I remember about Stockport Grammar very, very fondly is that it was like a kind of opening of the door and a broadening of the mind. I had some amazing teachers.”
The Tony Award-winning director spoke about the creative process of her work: “I love the rehearsal process, I’m the happiest I ever am in the rehearsal room. I love it….because when everybody’s together and it’s all working it’s like the most beautiful piece of jazz music and everybody’s jamming.” She spoke also about the importance of challenging herself, saying “it’s so emotionally expensive to do a show…so why do another run-of-the-mill production?”
But when asked about the possibility of running the National Theatre, she said “I don’t want it to take over my life entirely. I think you have to be married to the building to do it and I’ve got a child and I really want to spend time with her and with my husband.”
The evening continued the new tradition of London receptions which commenced with the 525th anniversary celebration at Goldsmiths’ Hall and it leads the way for further Old Stops events in the capital.