Features | 9 July 2024

Audrey Sheffield: I wish I’d known…

I wish I’d known… Our series of interviews with theatre makers sharing their experiences of working in the industry

MGCfutures speaks to Director and 2019 Bursary recipient, Audrey Sheffield

When did you decide on your current career path?

I think my decision came in different stages, but a definitive moment I remember was about thirteen years ago when I was at a bit of a crossroads and in the middle of a few things, personally and professionally.

What prompted your decision?

I’d trained as a theatre director a few years earlier and immediately after that had my children, so I was juggling three little ones with teaching acting part-time at a drama school. As the short bursts of time to myself started getting slightly longer, I began to feel I had a little more space to think and was able to reflect and interrogate what I wanted to do – I knew it was to work as a theatre director. It was something I’d felt for a long time but just needed to make that decision and commitment, regardless of any obstacles I saw. So that was a clear turning point for me.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in the beginning?

A couple here, inter-related: all the practicalities of bringing up three very young children alongside starting to forge a career path, accumulating and developing skills and experience; plus, absorbing everything within the world of theatre and making. Self-doubt too.

What has been one of the greatest rewards?

The collaborations with so many incredible and inspiring creatives. The opportunity to keep learning, to keep creating and to immerse myself in so many other worlds and characters that all expand and enrich my own.

What advice would you give the younger you just starting out?

Don’t wait for permission to move forwards in anything. Just do it. Trust yourself – your instincts, your process, your work.