Belfast Telegraph

Follow your own path, theatre director Marianne Elliott tells newcomers

In 2011, she won a best director Tony award with her co-director Tom Morris for the Broadway version of War Horse.

One of the directors behind the acclaimed theatre production of War Horse has said her advice to young women wanting to follow in her footsteps would be to “follow your own instinct”.

Marianne Elliott, who has also helmed sell-out productions of Angels In America and The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, also told Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that growing up she did not think women could be directors.

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The theatre director and producer is this week’s castaway ( Amanda Benson and BBC).

War Horse is based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s book of the same name and premiered at the National Theatre in 2007.

Elliott told Kirsty Young: “I would say there’s no one right way, you have to follow your own instinct. You have to get attuned to what your instinct is saying to you and follow that.

“If it’s not what Joe Bloggs is doing that’s OK, Joe Bloggs can do his own production, you just get on with yours.”

Her late father, Michael, was one of the co-founders of the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester and her mother is actress Rosalind Knight.

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Marianne Elliott features on this week’s Desert Island Discs (PA)

Referencing her earlier days studying drama at Hull University, she told Young: “I didn’t have good enough grades for anything else and I thought I could do drama, but I honestly never thought I would go into it.

“And I started directing then and I really enjoyed it.

“Again, I still didn’t think I would do it, because I thought you had to be a man, because they are all male, so therefore it’s clearly not something I could do.”

The 51-year-old was associate and later artistic director at the Royal Exchange and has also held the position of associate director at the National, which she left in 2017.

She also has her own production company called Elliott and Harper Productions.

In the Queen’s 2018 Birthday Honours, Elliott was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre.

Among the tracks she chose for Desert Island Discs were Bjork’s It’s Oh So Quiet, The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want and The Style Council’s You’re The Best Thing.

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