Mary's top role at Theatre by the Lake

Published: 4 July 2013
Reporter: David Upton

Mary Papadima

Greek director Mary Papadima has been appointed associate director of Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.

She becomes one of the few women directors to hold such a senior post in British regional theatre—and possibly the only one whose first language is not English.

Papadima graduated in theatre studies at the University of Athens and also has diplomas in harmony and modern Greek singing from the National Conservatoire of Greece.

She came to London to join the theatre directing course at Birkbeck, University of London, and chose to go on placement to Theatre by the Lake, whose work and setting she found immediately attractive.

After graduating, Papadima returned to live in Keswick in 2009 and take up a job as resident director, working with artistic director Ian Forrest on many productions and directing Jordan by Anna Reynolds with Moira Buffini and Blackbird by David Harrower.

She also worked on several education projects and directed a mixed-age company of amateur actors in Lysistrata by Aristophanes and Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind.

She turned freelance in 2011 but returned to Theatre by the Lake to direct, again in the Studio, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.

For Theatre by the Lake’s 2013 summer repertory season she has just directed JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, her first production in the theatre’s main house.

She says: “The chance to become associate director at my spiritual home is a wonderful and unexpected surprise that has filled me with excitement and optimism. I have already begun considering all the possibilities that will now open up.”

Papadima succeeds Stefan Escreet, who is going freelance after 13 years in Keswick. He will back in town at Christmas to direct Swallows and Amazons.