Interview: Rachel O'Riordan

Rachel O'Riordan, Artistic Director of Sherman Cymru is currently directing Ibsen's A Doll's House, I got in touch with her this week to find out a little about her work, the production and their modern day take on this classic.

1. Hi Rachel, thanks for speaking with us. Firstly, tell us a little of your journey in to the arts and how you became a director...

I set up a company called Ransom in Belfast which specialised in new work. We had a big success early on with a play called Hurricane which opened some doors for me. I was appointed as Artistic Director of Perth Theatre, before coming to the Sherman as Artistic Director in 2014. Critically, I trained as a dancer, which tends to inform my work.

2. You are currently directing Ibsen's A Doll's House at Sheman Cymru. Do you feel that this story, written almost 140 years ago, translates for a modern day audience?

Yes, I do. Like all great plays, its concerns focus on the human condition, and it’s this that makes it timeless. The play shocked audiences when it was first performed because of its then provocative challenge to the accepted view of a woman’s role within marriage. Even though things have changed considerably in this sense, the general issue of understanding and holding onto your own identity within marriage, relationships and parenthood is still pretty universal – both for men and women.

3. Do you feel societies attitudes have changed towards women and their choices surrounding children since then?

In some ways yes. Women are certainly more in control of their choices about having children and this has shifted a lot. But in terms of women leaving their children as Nora does at the end of the play, I think we have to accept that there is still huge judgement placed on women who find themselves in this position. This is something that’s potentially really interesting to explore – something we plan to do through a series of conversation and discussion events planned around the production. I expect that some strong and challenging opinions will be drawn out of these.

4. Who is the show for (audience)?

Anyone over 16. It’s for everyone – as it explores issues that can resonate so broadly across an audience.

5. What do you hope audiences will take away from watching?

I would hope that audiences come away with a sense of humanity. A sense of love, and of justice. And an acceptance of change and the differences in those that we love. It’s about forgiveness.

6. Where can we follow the show on social media / online?

You can follow all the information about the play online at shermancymru.co.uk or go to our Facebook page or follow us on twitter @shermancymru with #ADollsHouse. We’re creating a lot of great content that gives insights into the creative process, so audiences can check it out there.

7. Where can we book tickets?

You can book online at shermancymru.co.uk or call Ticket Office on 029 2064 6900 and the dates of the run are 09 – 24 October.

Thank you Rachel!

Interview ©Amie Taylor 2015 (@spoonsparkle)

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