The Deputy Artistic Director of the Birmingham REP, Amit Sharma on the decision that changed his life and the challenges facing the theatre post-lockdown
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I began my career with a company called Graeae (pronounced grey-eye) on a course called the Missing Piece aimed at tackling the lack of deaf and disabled people training to work as actors. Over the last 20 years I’ve performed and directed shows across the UK and internationally. I recently directed a show called One Under by Winsome Pinnock which came to the REP last year and The Solid Life of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne which came to the DOOR before finishing its tour at the National Theatre. I’ve also co-directed a couple of large-scale outdoor productions with a company called La Fura Dels Baus, as part of the London 2012 Festival and the UK-India Year of Culture. There were 150 deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers flying through the air!
IT’S WHAT I DO
As the deputy artistic director at the REP, I support the artistic and creative work alongside artistic director Sean Foley and the team. My main responsibilities centre around our exceptional creative learning and participation team. I’m also responsible for artist development, especially early career artists. I also get to direct shows, support with programming the theatre’s three spaces as well as reading scripts.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
Working at the REP is a big ambition fulfilled! I’d really love to get back to the theatre as quickly as possible as I miss the hub of the building and the hive of activity. I think there is the opportunity to engage even more with the variety of communities in Birmingham and make theatre and culture a massive part of the ongoing regeneration of the city.
Walking away from university at 19 to pursue a career in theatre. I have had the wildest of rides. That single decision changed the course of my life and I look back on it with utmost pride.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Goodness – where do you start?! I think to have belief in myself and to trust the path ahead is the right one. To be kind to myself and others and make sure I have space then to make room for others.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
The people! Right from the minute go, I’ve been so generously welcomed. This place has a buzz to it!
I wish! I have a three-year-old son… for those of you who know… you know!
We’re going through an unprecedented time at the moment. It’s important that we support each other as we navigate the rocky path ahead. I also feel that we have a duty to hear voices that haven’t been given the platform in the past. This doesn’t mean at the expense of anyone else. Rather, that we have a genuine sense of equality across the board so no one gets left behind.