Mike Alfreds in Conversation with Colin Ellwood
Described by Ian McKellen as one of the three best directors in the country. Mike Alfreds is a true master of the ensemble.
Born in London in 1934, trained in the USA and Israel. He burst on the scene with Arabian Nights (1975) and Bleak House (1977), the first two productions by Shared Experience, now one of the most successful companies in the UK. At the National he directed Ian McKellen, Sheila Hancock and Roy Kinnear in his own version of The Cherry Orchard (1985). In the 1990s he ran the Cambridge Theatre Company, later renamed Method and Madness.
“I make them forge the work on the floor. They have to discover by doing.
Get them free with the text so they never do it the same way twice.”
“Theatre is not about plays. The art of theatre is acting.
The theatre isn’t there to serve plays. Plays are there to serve the actors.
Plays need actors and without them, they’re just blueprints.
Actors, however, do not need plays.
They can improvise. They can mime. They can tell stories.”
Mike Alfreds’ books, Different Every Night, and Then What Happens? Are both published by Nick Hern Books.