OVNV Alumni: Richard Fitch

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We’d like to give you the opportunity to get to know some of the fantastic talent that Old Vic New Voices has worked with over the years. We will be posting a series of profiles that will spotlight certain individuals who have worked with us in a variety of ways, from directing in the Old Vic New Voice’s Festival, to designing for our touring education play, to being a commissioned writer as a part of the TS Eliot commissions.

Meet… Richard Fitch, Director

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Tell us a little bit about your background:

I’m 27, was born in Bedford and lived in Northamptonshire for most of my life. I trained as an actor for four years at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and halfway through discovered that I preferred directing. When I graduated I started assisting wherever I could and I’m now trying to keep a healthy balance between being an assistant/associate/resident and directing my own stuff (as well as having a life!).

Tell us a little about what interests you about theatre:

I don’t for one minute think directing isn’t a real job, but it is a rarity nowadays to do something that you truly love and call it work, so I love that theatre allows people to do that. I also love that theatre is constantly pushing everyone involved (audience included) to be as inquisitive about the world we all live in as much as possible. We think we know so much but forget to learn so much more and theatre reminds me of that. Ultimately though, I love how much theatre allows you to connect with people from all walks of life and I pray this continues to be the case.

Tell us about the project/s that you have worked on with Old Vic New Voices?

I feel privileged to have worked with OVNV several times. My first project with them was on an American play called, A Kid Like Jake by Daniel Pearle. Daniel and I are still in contact and we are hoping to do the play in the UK next year (so if you’re rich, get in touch!). I also directed for the 24 Hour Plays, assisted the 24 Hour Celebrity Galas a few times and more recently directed for the OVNV New Writing Festival.

What advice would you give someone wanting to work with Old Vic New Voices?

Apply and apply again if you’re unsuccessful the first time. OVNV really cares about finding the right mix of people for every project, so whether you get the gig or not, you should always be safe in the knowledge that it’s not due to a judgment of your talent.

What has been your favourite part of working with Old Vic New Voices?

I think OVNV are brilliant at employing people that want to do the work and then continue the conversation long after the work is complete. This means that by the end of every project you have more industry comrades than when you started. It’s an organisation that really makes you feel like you have a purpose within the industry instead of merely ticking a box.

What has been the best thing to come out of working with Old Vic New Voices?

It sounds clich to say, but the friends and colleagues you make live way beyond an OVNV project. You just can’t say that about every job you do in this profession. Being a director in particular can be a lonely role (like a writer too). OVNV knocks that on the head. I wrote this coming from watching a show where sat behind me were two people I worked with at OVNV, for example. This is a regular occurrence and it’s always a pleasure to see OVNV chums (I hope it is for them too!)

What organisations/events/talks/people/theatres would you recommend for emerging artists to seek out?

My general rule is ‘as much and as many as possible’. I think the Young Vic Directors Network is an amazing thing for any director. The Kevin Spacey Foundation offers some crazily brilliant opportunities. Call me biased, but Jamie Lloyd’s Trafalgar Transformed seasons are always worth your money and you often get extra surprises and events too. The Almeida have been doing some ace Q&As since Rupert Goold took over. In terms of people, Daniel Raggett, Melanie Spencer and Jessica Edwards would be my ones to watch. And yes, they’ve all gained the odd OVNV badge too!

What do you know now that you wish youd known when you were first starting out?

Hopefully too much to list! But really the main thing I’ve tried to instil within myself is that plenty of people will always have an opinion about your career, so don’t worry about that. Just do the work you want to do. Focus on the work and the career will take care of itself. You can’t control how you’re perceived by others, so don’t do work that tries to mould those perceptions. Just do the work you love. Life’s too short to spend time doing stuff you feel like you need to tolerate just to get somewhere.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently teaching at Mountview for a few weeks on their summer schools. I love it there and think it’s an exciting time to be a part of that school.

Which person in your industry are you particularly impressed by?

Not a particular person, but every single actor, particularly the ones that aren’t in constant work. No bullshit. I don’t know how they do it. Don’t get me wrong, I have dry spells too, but I think it’s somehow easier for a Director to take control. Actors are most often relying on being in the hands of someone else giving them a job.

What was the last thing you saw at the theatre?

The Oresteia at the Almeida.

Any good?

It was revolutionary in how we tell stories, I think. It’s transferring to Trafalgar Studios, so there are no excuses. Go.

How can people find out more about you? (upcoming shows, twitter, website, band page, cooking channel)

I wish I had a cooking channel!! I can’t bring myself to plug my own website – especially because it’s basically blank! I do love a good tweet though (@Richard_Fitch) and will be hanging around the Menier for most of this year as Associate on Dinner with Saddam and then Funny Girl.