The Scotsman 12 December 2023

When Bryony Shanahan was launching herself as a theatre director, she went for an interview at the Manchester Royal Exchange. They asked her who her favourite director was. She did not hesitate in her reply. “Alex Ferguson,” she said.

They thought she was joking. Did this young woman from Stoke-on-Trent not know anything about theatre? But she was in earnest. A life-long football fan, she believed the Manchester United manager was the epitome of good direction. She still does.

“Football is my cultural identity,” says Shanahan, who played for Stoke City Ladies as a teenager. “I saw far more football growing up than I ever did theatre and the parallels are so obvious. The game has been worked out, there’s a strategy at play but it is live and it needs a crowd. If you’re in it, you can express yourself, there is a value in what you bring and you have to work within a team.” [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).