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5 minutes with Samuel Erskine

YEP Director Sam Erskine

Sam may be a familiar face to those in the Everyman & Playhouse as he is both a member of YEP Directors and is often spotted mingling with our glamourous actors and ushering our audience members to their seats as a member of the front of house team. Sam also recently featured in the BBC documentary On Stage... at the Everyman as part of the YEP Director’s Festival.

1. How long have you been a member of YEP and front of house and how do you feel your skills have developed during this time?
I joined YEP as a director in September 2014 and started working as an usher in November 2014. I feel that an usher has really set me in good stead in directing because it has help me understand audience reactions to different productions. Also the logistics of how a theatre works there is a lot required behind the scenes to make the audiences stay as relaxing and magical as possible.

2. What has been the most interesting project you have been part of in e&P?
I am very interested in politics and engaging young people in democracy so I was very excited to help out with the YEP show Until They Kick Us Out. I loved being part of theatre that had such great value on stage with the post show debates and off stage during Niamh’s campaign to become MP for Wavertree. Truly shows how theatre can make a change.

3. How did it feel seeing yourself on TV?
The whole documentary was amazing and I’m really proud of everyone who took part but it was a bit weird hearing my voice and I thought, “do I actually sound like that?”

4. What play would you recommend for an audience to go and see this season at e&P?
Scene Change is back on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th December! This is a fantastic opportunity for young creatives and theatre makers to share their works in progress. It may only be on for two nights but what you see are pure gems of theatre in the making.

5. What advice would you give to a young person who has an interest in directing but doesn't know where to begin?
Directing is such a big step and an amazing feeling. For anyone who has itchy feet when they sit through a play or watch something and think to themselves “I can do better than that,” I say, You Can! Just prove to everyone else and put on a play with friends wherever. If you tell people the audience will come. You learn so much by doing and from making mistakes.

I like to make theatre for those who don’t like the theatre and create work that provokes audiences. Find a play that has a voice you agree with if not make one up.

Walk into any theatre in Liverpool and ask them “Who do I speak to about wanting to become a Theatre Director?” and they will point you in the direction. Come and speak to Matt Rutter and Chris Tomlinson at YEP they are really nice and will help you in any way. If there is one thing I haven’t done enough of is asking people.

One piece of advice would be: Don’t be afraid… JUST ASK!

Catch Sam and other familiar faces in the BBC documentary On Stage... at the Everyman – Available until the 30th November on BBC iPlayer.

Words:  Emma Lewis (YEP Communicator)