Life Tips #23: Léonie Scott-Matthews, Founder, Pentameters Theatre

1. Pay your rent. Everything else will come to you.

2. My core philosophy is something I call ‘spirit of place’: that is, to live and work in the same area at something you’re passionate about and for yourself. If possible, there shouldn’t be a division between work and leisure; my father was frustrated musician working in a bank.

3. You can’t become reliant on outside help. If it dries up then you’ve had it. 44 years on from starting my own theatre and I’m totally self-supporting.

4. You’ve got to prove yourself to the establishment. Then you can be as underground as you like. If you can say ‘No, I’ve done it your way’ you make it much easier for yourself.

5. Learn to listen. It takes a long time to learn but it’ll get you far.

6. Theatre shouldn’t be impersonal. I run Pentameters like a club without membership. Each person that comes has a feeling of uniqueness, whether or not they like the play.

7. It’s harder for kids to break into the arts today, especially if they don’t have parents supporting them financially. In the old days you never worried, we were very privileged.

Words & Pics: Amelia Horgan

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Pentameters can be found at 28 Heath St NW3. More info here.

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