Thursday 18 January 2018

My cultural life: Alan Stanford

Alan Stanford, who directs The Constant Wife, which opens on June 16.
Alan Stanford, who directs The Constant Wife, which opens on June 16.
The Beatles with Muhammad Ali

Alan Stanford is a renowned actor, writer and director. He has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. In 1980 he became a principle actor at the Gate Theatre and has continued to work there, as actor, director and writer, in what he considers his spiritual and artistic home. At the Gate he has directed Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, The Deep Blue Sea, The Constant Wife, Romeo and Juliet, An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest amongst others. He is artistic and executive director at PICT Classic Theatre in Pittsburgh, USA.

Film: Cinema Paradiso

It is beautifully acted and beautifully directed and has the most glorious relationship between a young boy and an older man who become friends, without the restriction of age being a problem. You see the development of a child and an old man become a man and a very old man and they are firm friends. It's about friendship and the true father-son relationship, which should be one of trust and friendship. There are two cuts of the movie, and I prefer the original cut, because the final moments of it are one of the most exquisite moments of satisfaction you can get in cinema.

Band: The Beatles & The Rolling Stones

I grew up in the 1960s, so The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are my favourite for different reasons. The Stones because they provided a view of rhythm and blues that was so unique, surprising and remarkable. The Beatles because of their sheer musicality, as George Martin started to have the influence over them and you realise that the lyrical talent of John Lennon and the musical talent of Paul McCartney created something in music that was so influential that it still has that influence.

Art: Van Gogh

Anything by Van Gogh. I find that when you walk through the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam you see his line of development from an early painter. He saw the world in a totally different light to everybody else. There's something about his paintings that just suck you in; his use of colour, his use of shape, his composition, the famous painting of his bedroom for instance, you're in that room with him.

Book: Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

It is set in South Africa, in apartheid days and is the story of a black Anglican minister, his son and a murder but it is also a journey through apartheid. I first read this when I was 15. It truly influenced my thinking all through my life about race and prejudice, and the power that prejudice can have and the detrimental effect it can have.

TV: Game of Thrones

I don't watch television, however I do love well-made TV dramas. When you look at Games of Thrones for example, I just love the use of television to be the perfect story telling medium, which we don't get very often, but when it is good, it is very good.

Alan Stanford directs 'The Constant Wife' by W. Somerset Maugham in The Gate Theatre. 'The Constant Wife' previews from June 16, opens June 21, and runs until August. Tickets from €25 and can be booked on 01 874 4045 or

Sunday Independent

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