Festival Director
Shakespeare School Festival

Festival Director
Shakespeare School Festival

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Chris G

00:01 My name is Chris G and I’m a Festival Director of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. I run what is now we think the largest youth drama festival in the UK that next year will be enables 700 schools, 14,000 pupils to perform abridged plays in professional theatres with the assistance of the National Theatre and the National Youth Theatre.

00:26 I saw a careers master and I said I thought I might like to try and join the BBC and he said, you’ve got a very nice voice, so that was my introduction to broadcasting, it wasn’t I didn’t have a good enough voice and it’s not what broadcasting’s entirely about. But from that I went to university, university of East Anglia and I got involved in drama and took a review, a student review to the Edinburgh Fringe which was the first time that had ever happened.

00:57 And that actually I managed to get funding from Anglia TV which was then ITV East as it is now, they sponsored it and they televised it and that actually was my entrée the managing director rang, then became the managing director of HTV and he liked what he saw and took me on.

01:14 Once in I knew on that opening day this is what I wanted to do, more by luck than by judgement that I was right on the start of starting a Channel 4 Wales in 1982 same time as Channel 4 in England was starting. And I was responsible for the campaign and the launch of the channel and so on and we needed a figure, something to get us off the ground and as luck would have it, somebody arrived with a character called Super Ted and this flowing bear, with his flowing cloak I thought, well that works, and I just knew within, again a day or two I just knew that idea worked. And that grew the channel, it went to 75, 80 countries, and that’s what I did during the 80s, a lot of different animation, Fireman Sam was one of them, the Legend of Lochnagar with the Prince of Wales and so on. And then came the opportunity in 1990 to go in a completely different direction.

02:08 Going to the Soviet Union as part of a Welsh language channel animating Shakespeare fairly well known English playwright in 30 minutes in a disintegrating environment where the Ruble was literally falling every day where they didn’t know the cost of bread let alone the budget for the film, that was a major lesson and side move. So I was taking huge risks there, but out of that came a call the BBC education it became their most popular series through the 90s. Then a teacher rang me in 98 and said, could we use your Macbeth, the 30 minute script and could we use it in assembly and that just lodged. And 2 years later and I remember thinking it’d been a good, it had been a fantastic decade, tough but we’d had 2 Oscar nominations, 4 BAFTAS and 6 Emmy winners and I’d done everything I wanted to do in animation over those 90s.

03:01 And I thought what am I gonna do, and that voice kept coming back to me, that teacher saying, could we please use your Macbeth, and I just thought, if one school wants to do it, why can’t many if there’re a lot of kids watching this why don’t they perform these 30 minute plays and that’s how it started.

03:21 I’m not a professional tennis player and I’m not a barrister, you know so I’ve made judgements along the way that somewhere I was in the Arts field, somewhere I was in a field of public service and that I owe those values I owe to my parents.

03:35 Well I had to go to boarding school which I loathed, and wouldn’t inflict on anybody, he was in the army and moved around a lot, so we were in Kenya and Denmark and Germany twice and in Britain all before I was 8. They were in a difficult position, I had 26 homes before I was 12, what were they to do, where was I to go, they felt that I could have some stability and it was part of this social milieu in which they lived and moved at that time but it was the time after boarding school that I felt I sort of began to come alive.


Chris G is a Festival Director for the Shakespeare Schools Festival, "I run what is now we think the largest youth drama festival in the UK, that next year will enable 700 schools, 14,000 pupils to perform abridged plays in professional theatres". Chris was involved in the launch of Channel 4, and in many successful animated TV programs.

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