The old adage, ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person,’ certainly applies to pioneering English theatre director Rupert Goold. The artistic director of London’s Almeida Theatre and associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company had two hit shows open weeks apart on the West End. After premiering at the Almeida, Mike Bartlett’s controversial play King Charles III transferred to the Wyndham’s Theatre on Charring Cross Road. It confronts the difficult question of what will happen when the Queen dies and a possible constitutional crisis ensues.
Rupert also directs the new musical Made in Dagenham with Gemma Arterton leading a feisty feminist strike force at the Ford auto factory in the east London suburbs. It’s the stage version of the popular feel good 2010 movie and opened on Guy Fawkes night this week.
As is custom, my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a slice of theatre. The precedent is a Shakespeare play, but this year for a slight deviation we went and saw King Charles III, which pays homage to the Bard, written in a blank verse style. I did this sketch of Rupert winning his Olivier a while back. He won the 2008 award for Best Director for the acclaimed Minerva Studio staging of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart in the title role.
It just so happened I had it in my bag that night – the same evening Made in Dagenham had its press night. Another deviation as we strolled to the train station, past the Adelphi Theatre stage door, where only minutes later the said director appeared with a large grin, indicating a successful opening (the show, not his mouth). A good time to get my sketch signed, which he was more than happy to do.
I immediately congratulated him on Charles III, which in hindsight seemed an odd thing to say at the premiere of his other show. That’s what happens when you’re the busiest director in town!