In my early years, my father was away as a soldier in the war. When he came back, work was very difficult to come by. Even though he was a highly skilled man, a maker of furniture, the payment for that work was very poor.
In a way, I have to have a dictatorship. I can't be told that I'm wrong. That conflicts with what I was saying earlier about listening. It isn't to do with receiving criticism and responding to other views, it's who has that last decision.
If you're a director, your entire livelihood and your entire creativity is based on your self-confidence. Sometimes that's dangerously close to arrogance.
Peter Hall was just organizing the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was going to be an ensemble, it was going to be in repertory, it was going to have a home in London as well as in the Midlands, and all of those things were happening at that time.
I tend to arrive in the rehearsal process with very strongly developed ideas about what I want to do. But I don't like those ideas to be things that are not subject to change, or subject to development, or subject to challenge.
I would be terribly disappointed if anything would get in the way of my being cast in something, or if performances were canceled. It was a fix that I obviously needed.
I've never had any feeling of disconnection between the classical theater, or the contemporary theater, or musical theater, or the thing that we call opera.
What you're doing is putting into professional play the way that you relate to other people, the way that you analyze and relate to a written text, the way that you would persuade anybody to do anything. It has to do with listening, with humility and a sense of yourself.
The film director, in many instances, has to swallow somebody else's decision about the final form of something. It's so hard as to be intolerable.
If you can't fully believe in your ideas, it very quickly communicates to a group of actors who need something to hold onto. They need to believe that whatever criticism, whatever comment is received, is meant.
The first big break was winning a scholarship to go to Cambridge University. I was very lucky, because my parents couldn't have afforded a university education for me. Without a scholarship I couldn't possibly have gone.
In my teens, I developed a passionate idolatry for a teacher of English literature. I wanted to do something that he would approve of more, so I thought I should be some sort of a scholar.
When I was at Stratford, the very first thing that I was commissioned to work on was trying to make a musical out of the documentary material about the General Strike, which was the next big historical event in England, after the First World War.
In the commercial theater, I've been pretty fortunate. The producers that I've worked with have allowed me to define the artistic integrity, the artistic limits of the work.
So, through all that early professional career I would occasionally do a musical, a pantomime or a play with songs. The next stop would be a Shakespeare, or an Ibsen, or a play by a brand new writer who had never done anything in the theater before.
The thing that I had saved up for myself and wanted most to bring off was a fully fledged professional production of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford.
I've experienced a private doubt, something that I've kept deeply inside, and then eventually delivered a piece of work that people responded to with huge enthusiasm.
When I was 13 years old, a professional theater company in my town needed a kid actor. I auditioned, and I got the part, so for just a few weeks I became a member of the company and I met some professional actors.
You are faced with the choice: either my integrity remains intact and this is the work that ends up on the screen, or I have to leave, and I have to be known to have left.