Q&A Name: Janek Alexander Job title: Director How long have you worked at Chapter? I was an actor with Dek Leverton’s Paupers Carnival and we appeared here in 1976. What was your first involvement with Chapter? I’d arrived an hour early for a show and was told to come back later. In a typical Chapter moment I bought my ticket and found myself minding the doors and handing out programmes. What’s your management style? There’s always another way. We hear you’re standing down in May. Will we still see you around the place? Yes, I will still be around working on projects. I have Parkinson’s, so one project will be a group to explore non-medical aspects of the condition. What advice will you give to your successor? Never forget to stop and admire the view. Tell us about a programme highlight of your time here? The Wooster Group in the 1980s were the most radical and exciting theatre group in the world. We brought them to Britain. They toured with a complicated and technically advanced set that was too big for our theatre. God bless them, they sawed the end of the set off and the show went ahead. It was a sensation.
Legend tells us that you’ve performed as a smurf? The Smurf was a satire on the seriousness of Dutch culture. Only it turned out that Smurfs were Belgian, not from Holland after all. So the rest of the commissioned pieces went to the Holland Festival, but the Smurf stayed home. Tell us about your own artistic credentials. Theatre director, author, performer — projects at ICA London, Mickery Amsterdam, Slovak theatre, LIFT, Seville. Directed three touring productions for Volcano Theatre. Directed for Ed Thomas’ Y Cwmni at Tramway Glasgow. Wrote, directed and performed in twelve projects at Chapter as Diamond Age Theatre Company including street theatre, dramas, comedies, recordings, cabaret. Performed with Paupers Carnival Theatre and Transitions Trust. Who would you like to play you in a film of your life? I’d choose Rhys Ifans, after seeing him as Peter Cook. He was in Chapter and I interrupted his coffee break to tell him how much I admired his achievement. I was back in my office when it dawned on me that he couldn’t have the foggiest idea who I was. Tell us a secret… Later this year a CD of a 1984 concert I gave will be available. Listen carefully on headphones and you can hear a robust argument develop in the auditorium on the merits of my performance. Tell us a joke… “The next train’s gone” (Will Hay)