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An interview with... Rob Shaw Cameron

We caught up with RED RIDING HOOD director Rob Shaw Cameron who's giving us an insight into how he became a director and what his inspirations are for #StratfordPanto.

What does a Director do?
The director is the creative lead on the production. So that means they collaborate with all the departments: the producers, set & costume, lighting, sound, casting, production and technical teams to conceive the production and then bring it to life. They cast and then direct the actors in the rehearsal room and above all they work with the writers to take their play from the words on the page to everything you see, hear and feel on the stage.

How does someone become a Director?
There are different ways. Some people start as actors (like me) and realise they’d like to be involved in creating the bigger picture. Others begin as assistants, watching and learning from other directors. Some come from Academia. Whichever way, the best thing to do, is to try! Make work, learn and evolve, make mistakes and learn from others.

What have been some of your inspirations?
Some of my first experiences of theatre were at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I loved the intimate spaces, the theatrical invention, the clever use of space. So that has really informed me and my theatre making.

What do you love about your job?
Theatre is an incredibly special medium. Working with people who have such a range of talents is a privilege and if you trust and empower each other, you can make work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into Directing?
Try and see as much theatre as you can and spend time thinking about what you loved and what you would have done differently. But not just theatre, read books, listen to songs, watch movies, take in the news, observe people and be brave enough to tell the stories you want to tell, in the way you want to tell them.

What are some of your inspirations for RED RIDING HOOD?
What we love about Panto, fairytales and musicals is how theatre is inherently magical and can transport audiences to crazy and magical worlds in a heartbeat. And we really hope to do that. However, what I'm very excited to explore in our production is to remind us that beyond Fairyland is a world that has a hint of our reality, one we may recognise and one that perhaps needs a little bit of help from us all to make it magic again!

What’s your favourite thing about panto?
The audience interaction. I always try and make theatre that involves, implicates and engages the audience but in Panto you get to involve them, in some crazy ways. We want our audience to shout, scream and sing along!

If you were in a panto, would you rather be a hero or a villain?
Oooh always the villain! It’s so much fun to be the baddie, especially in Panto because we usually work out, they’re are not as bad as they seem!

What makes a Stratford East panto so unique?
Stratford Panto’s are cooler! It’s been really important to me and all the team, to introduce a new generation of theatre-goers to a brilliant tradition and we’re very aware that for many, this might be their first trip to the theatre. That's a really exciting privilege. I hope the young people of Stratford and East London will see some of themselves in Red and her friends. I hope too they’ll want to step up and make a difference and be the heroes! Most of all, after a difficult few years, they deserve a communal experience and one that makes them laugh!!

If you didn’t work in theatre, what would you be doing?
I love sport and would love to be a commentator, travelling the world watching the big matches. Or work in Politics, I feel like we need some better politicians at the moment.

TV Show: ‘Osark’ – catch up before the next season.
Film: I’m excited to see ‘The French Dispatch’
Play: Whatever is next at Stratford!
Album: I can’t wait to hear what Adele has up her sleeve in ‘30’
Book: ‘Great British Adventure Map’ I’m desperate to get away in my campervan post lockdown!

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