Douglas Rintoul graduated in 1996 with a Drama and Theatre Arts degree. He is now the Artistic Director of The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and of a national touring company, Transport, as well as a selector for the National Student Drama Festival.
What was the best thing about your degree?
“My degree exposed me to all types of live performance and practice - it really broadened my horizons - but the most challenging aspect of was the rigorous commitment and discipline required.However, it did give me a concrete understanding of form and an insight into numerous companies, styles, and theories of performance. This gave me a self-confidence to make my own work and to hold my own in interviews and early assistant director roles.”
How did studying at Birmingham help prepare you for your career?
“My career has steadily evolved over the last 19 years - theatre directing is a long game and a constant process of development and education. I started as an arts administrator for Complicité whilst directing in my spare time on the London and Edinburgh Fringe, and this combination won me a placement on the Regional Theatre Director Scheme as it proved my commitment. Since then I have freelanced as a director and also as an educator, writer, and deviser. These extra skills grew out of collaborations with a whole host of companies, buildings and drama schools that I came into contact in the UK and abroad along the way. These contacts enabled me set up my own company and run a regional theatre.
The reputation of the University of Birmingham as a Redbrick definitely opened doors for me, especially for a theatre director. The course nourished me as a theatre maker by exposing me to international practitioners and applied theatre. It gave me inspiration and a clear idea of the kind of work I wanted to make.
Now the best thing about my job is doing the thing I have loved since I was young - storytelling. I love taking audiences on a journey. I also love leading a company and facilitating young theatre practitioners.”
What advice would you give current students?
“Get out there and make your own work. Find a voice. Take what you learn and apply it to your own creativity, find like-minded souls to collaborate with and take that to wherever you can – to the Guild, to the MAC, to the National Student Drama Festival, to the Fringe or just to your mates at college. Go and see what other drama students are making too.”