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Artists

Sepy Baghaei

Director

Where is home for you?
London & Sydney

Where is your home away from home?
The Netherlands – my partner is Dutch so we visit regularly. It’s my getaway when I need a break from London life.

What shows or projects have you done with ETT?
Othello (UK Tour 2018, Shanghai 2019); Reasons To Stay Alive (UK Tour 2019).

Which city was your favourite to visit on tour with ETT?
Taking Othello to Shanghai in 2019 was an amazing experience – getting to take in a whole new country, seeing the sights, and seeing how a new audience responded to the play. Within the UK, I loved Bristol and Manchester.

Everyone deserves to have access to theatre, and to have the opportunity to enjoy it, talk about it and be changed by it - that's why we need to keep touring work to as many regional and international audiences as possible.

Having grown up in Australia, touring work was one of the only ways I'd get to directly engage with creative conversations happening internationally. I saw a few pieces of work in Australia that changed my life, and were only possible thanks to touring.

How did you bring home with you on tour?
I always have a tube of Lucas’ paw paw ointment on me – it’s an amazing cream from Australia that works on almost any ailment! Can’t be without it.

What gem did you discover on tour with ETT (could be a landmark/park/cafe/pub etc)?
Choosy’s Tea House in Huddersfield and Hebden Tea Company in York (I’m a bit of a tea enthusiast).

What are your touring essentials?
A well-stocked toiletries bag.

What’s your go-to recipe whilst on tour?
I think I actually cook less while on tour… I prefer to check out as many local restaurants/eateries as possible!

Which artist(s) do you most admire and why?
Any artist who stays true to themselves and makes work with integrity and honesty.

What music inspires you?
Any song by the band Sleeping At Last – I find their music endlessly relaxing and inspiring.

What have been your career highlights so far?
Writing and directing a verbatim play called CITIZEN, which told the stories of Iranian refugees and migrants in the UK, US and Australia. Going out on tour with ETT’s production of Othello, which allowed me to visit 10 theatres around the UK as well as the beautiful Great Theatre of China in Shanghai.

If you were cast away on a desert island, which 5 plays would you take with you and why?
Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness by Anthony Neilson
Electronic City by Falk Richter
The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt
Yesterday An Incident Occurred by Mark Ravenhill
Attempts On Her Life by Martin Crimp

I’ve chosen these 5 plays as they’re all plays I’d love to direct. I assume I’d have loads of time and no distractions while stranded on a desert island, so I could finally flesh out my ideas on how I’d want to stage each play.

I believe a good piece of art is one that inspires conversation. I love to leave the theatre and have a healthy debate about what I've just seen. The best art, I believe, allows its audience to see the world through someone else's eyes, to understand different viewpoints and ways of thinking.

What you would say to emerging artists to encourage them to take their work on the road, or join an ETT tour?
Touring with ETT was one of the most enjoyable, challenging and rewarding experiences of my career as an emerging director. I’m so glad I got to see more of the country (and world!) through touring, and encourage more early-career artists to do the same. Touring will push you to be better in multiple aspects of your work – from everyday skills such as time management and managing finances (book your digs and train tickets early!) to creative problem solving (eg. how to transfer a show between venues of different shapes and sizes). For young directors like myself, I would wholeheartedly recommend taking up an assistant director role on a tour. Having the chance to look after a show on the road really built up my confidence and communication skills. Also, I know it gets said a lot, but there really is a whole world outside of London – it’s so important for directors to be switched on to the discussions and audiences that exist outside of the capital, so that we can create work that connects with as wide an audience as possible.

Window or aisle seat?
Window

Favourite way to travel?
Plane

If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
Time travel. I’d love to sit in on my younger self and relive my favourite moments.

Sepy Baghaei’s biog:

Sepy is a theatre director based in London. She trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (MA Advanced Theatre Practice) and the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art (Bachelor of Performance.)

Sepy has worked internationally with a range of companies including: English Touring Theatre, Sheffield Theatres, Circolombia and Shopfront Contemporary Arts Centre. She has assisted leading directors including Nadia Fall and Richard Twyman, and workshopped new plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre Studio.

In 2019, Sepy was longlisted for the Sir Peter Hall Director Award. She is a recipient of the Ian Potter Cultural Trust Award and the Guildford Academics Associates Scholarship, and is currently Associate Director at The Space Theatre.