Five minutes with: Lucy Hayes

We chat to Lucy Hayes, chair of OUDS and manager of Perepeteia Productions, about her experience with Oxford drama, her real-life heroes, and her latest exciting project

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Could you tell us a bit about how you got involved with drama at Oxford?
I was trying to convince my friend to produce a play for me, so I took her to an OUDS producing workshop. From that, I was asked to produce a show at the Playhouse. I had no idea what a producer really did, but I knew I’d be stupid not to.

What’s your happiest memory of Oxford drama?
They’ve all been pretty happy! I actually don’t think I have any bad memories of doing drama at Oxford at all.

Have you ever had any complete production nightmares?
I did turn up to the get-in of my first show at the Burton Taylor Studio thinking that I could, with no experience, rig, focus, and program all of the lights myself, and very quickly realised I was out of my depth. Luckily, we managed to get someone else in within an hour who actually knew what they were doing so it was all fine.

What’s your favourite play?
I’m very indecisive, but maybe Michael Frayn’s Noises Off. Or maybe King Lear.

How would you want to stage it in Oxford?
I don’t think I could ever stage either of them! I feel they should stay sacred.

Who is your hero in the theatre world?
Probably my dad: he built a theatre from scratch, which is now a really successful and incredibly unique venue. He’s a bit of a maverick, and he never takes no for an answer. The council tried to shut him down on his opening night, and he told them they should come back in the morning, because there wasn’t any way they were stopping him from opening his show. He’s taught me most of what I know about theatre, and I aspire to be that audacious one day.

Do you have any advice for freshers who might want to get involved with drama?
If you’re an actor, just keep auditioning, and if you do, you will get cast in something. If you want to be involved but aren’t sure how, try anything! Respond to a TAFF call, or email the producer of a project you like the sound of. It’s scary, but people love it when people but themselves out there, and it will get you far.

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Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?
I’m directing my last show, Hedda, at the Oxford Playhouse in 6th week of Hilary term. It’s a modern adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler by Lucy Kirkwood, stripping the play of the polite society of Victorian bourgeoisie and plunging it into to a world of crisis and Oxford academics. Next year is the centenary of female suffrage, so it’s the perfect time to stage it – the question of how far society has truly come in creating space for women is more important than ever! We are really excited to be part of the Playhouse’s VOTE season, celebrating female-driven narratives for this anniversary.

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