INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEY COOK

Ashley Cook is a Stage One Bursary Award winner and has recently been awarded a MGCfutures Bursary. His company Troupe debuted at the Finborough Theatre in 2013 with R. C. Sherriff’s The White Carnation with Aden Gillett, which later transferred to Jermyn Street Theatre, starring Michael Praed. With support from Stage One he then produced Robert Bolt’s Flowering Cherry and Rodney Ackland’s After October, which is currently playing at the Finborough Theatre and is nominated for three Off West End Awards. His next project, James Shirley’s The Cardinal, stars Stephen Boxer and is directed by Justin Audibert. The Cardinal opens at Southwark Playhouse in April 2017.

What does Stage One mean to you?
Producing can be a lonely job and the responsibility and risk associated with making a show happen is addictive but also terrifying. Stage One has introduced me to a wonderful network of like-minded people where I don’t feel so alone (!) and has offered me essential advice, financial support and mentorship that has allowed me to progress to the next level. Being able to tell people that I had Stage One’s stamp of approval was an immediate calling card and the prestige associated with the organisation has opened a number of doors. It’s a fantastic brand to be a part of in the London theatre industry.

Last show you saw and loved?
Yerma at the Young Vic. Billie Piper was quite extraordinary and the production itself was an incredible pressure cooker of a show. I was utterly absorbed and found it completely devastating. Brilliant.

What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
I have found that there is a tremendous amount of passion throughout this industry from grass roots level right up to the most successful West End producers. Even the shrewdest and most astute financial brains at the top of the tree retain great love for live theatre and I think it is this that makes the industry so special. I also think that London theatre in particular is amongst the most varied and vibrant in the world. There is no better or more exciting a city than London to be plying your trade!

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Good manners cost nothing, but bad budgeting costs everything! Charm and politeness go a long way but you’ve also got to rule your expenditure with a rod of iron.

To find out more about our Bursary scheme, click HERE

To find out more about Flowering Cherry, click HERE