I work for Adrian Noble

Jude Clark is PA to the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company

I was bitten by amateur dramatics at an early age, but as a drama student I discovered that I didn't have the talent to be an actress. However, I did have the ability to administrate, which led me to work in fringe theatres, including the Roundhouse in its heyday. Before coming here I worked as PA to Richard Eyre, Director of the National Theatre. A healthy competition exists between the National and the RSC and Adrian was worried that I might not be able to shift my loyalty. I admit it took me a while to forget that I didn't work at the National any more, but being in a PA's position you take a back seat, your boss is centre stage, while you are both flexible and chameleon-like.

Moving between Stratford-upon-Avon and the Barbican in London took some getting used to. Life is completely different at each end and there are times when I build a whole week around Adrian's being in London and then something immovable happens in Stratford and all the dates collapse. Like a snail I carry my office with me at all times in the form of a palm-top computer containing my diary, Adrian's diary, names and addresses, notebooks. Of course living in two places is a sacrifice, but the RSC is very supportive.

I'm very much office-bound, my job has nothing to do with the rehearsal rooms. In Stratford one gets a strong sense of the theatre and the number of famous actors who have passed through, whereas at the Barbican one can forget that the stage is there. I like to remind myself where I am by popping out into the corridor to listen to rehearsals or performances on the tannoy.

In a position like this it's essential to know one's place. I see myself as a conduit between Adrian and the public, actors, members of staff, heads of department, etc. It's a humble role to a degree and I don't see the job as a stepping stone because I am good at being a secretary. Adrian is a very expansive man, he's good at asking for an opinion and sharing things, including great stories about actors. As "my man" I need to protect him from all the stuff he doesn't need to know, but I don't like to keep people away from him. If for example another RSC director's show isn't going well, Adrian needs to know straight away before it's too late. He is wonderful at smoothing things over and at reassuring directors who might suddenly get scared by the scale of an RSC production.

At Stratford, where the theatre is very much at the heart of the town, the company feel is very strong. But after a few months the novelty might wear off and the actors can become stir crazy. Without actors the RSC wouldn't exist so it is important that their welfare is taken care of. They can be tricky, but when you consider how they have to expose their very souls you realise that it would be impossible for them not to be cranky at times. Generally speaking, the bigger the stars, the nicer they are. Judi Dench and Daniel Day Lewis, for example, were always wonderful to work with. Some of the less experienced actors can feel frustrated at not having bigger roles, but with a bit of research and tact I can often deal with their problems myself. Situations can get volatile and hysterical but Adrian is such a theatrical person that he can calm people down.

I may sound a bit like a Jewish mother when I say that I don't see Adrian as often as I want to, but when he is in Stratford submerged in rehearsal and I am based in London, it's like working with a spirit because I have to communicate with him through others. His job is enormous; in addition to directing and overseeing all RSC productions, auditioning shows, planning the forthcoming season plus the events for the year 2000 and discussing issues like refurbishment, each of the many departments needs him as a figurehead. So it's Adrian who will soon travel to the States with Cymbeline - no one else will do.

I like to think that I have a role in all of this, certainly I can't afford to take my eye off the ball for one minute, if I screw up, I screw up big time.

For a job like this you need to be a combination of a bit boring and a little eccentric. Like any relationship, if you find that your loyalty is drifting you have to move on, it does no good to feel resentful. You aren't joined at the hip and you have to be a separate person in order to do your job well, stand up for yourself when you are screamed at and be resolute about not working all hours that God sends.

I often try to imagine the kinds of conversations I would be having with my colleagues if I worked in a bank, they certainly couldn't be as interesting as discussions on how long Cyrano de Bergerac's nose should be or where to get the best wooden legs. This job was made for me, and having worked for the two top people in the business, I'm tempted to write a book about them called Twin Peaks, but I think it would be a very boring read because I would be so discreet.

Interview by Katie Sampson

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week