Why I Love: A good company

Max Stafford-Clark, theatre director
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The Independent Culture

Actors play a massive part in my passion for directing. In the early 1980s, actors were called "luvvies" and often downgraded, but I love them because of their generosity, wit and ability to cobble together the truth.

Three years ago I had a stroke and spent six months in hospital. I was well-looked after by relatives and loved ones, but I did miss the company of actors. When I was discharged, I defied doctors' advice and went back to rehearsals much too soon; I couldn't help myself. I didn't do a terribly good job of directing that first play, but being around actors helped me feel like my old self again. It always seems to nurture my ability to focus. Working with them has increased my capacity for thinking on my feet – and dealing with life.

Dreams of Violence, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, is at the Soho Theatre, London W1, until 8 August (020 7478 0100, www.sohotheatre.com).