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An Interview with Giles Croft

“Clearly there’ll  be  people  who  know  it  and  they’ll  have  their  reactions  and  responses,”  he  says  of  the  acclaimed  stage  adaptation  of  Khaled  Hosseini’s  best-selling  novel,  “but  I’ve  seen  how  people  who  come  into  contact  with  it  for  the  first  time  are  so  profoundly  moved  by  it.  It’s an  exciting  experience  to  be  a  part  of.”The  response  is  always  extraordinarily  powerful  and  we  are  fortunate  to  get  standing  ovations  at  every  performance,  with  audiences  connecting  deeply  and  emotionally  with  the  characters  and  the  story,”  he  says.

It is,  Giles  strongly  believes,  a  story  with  universal  resonance.  “It speaks  to  all  people  through  the  core  themes  of  guilt,  forgiveness  and  redemption.  Those are  things  that  we  all  have  some  connection  with.  It  doesn’t  matter  who  you  are  or  where  you  are,  it  will  speak  to  you.”“Because  so  many  people  knew  the  novel  we  had  to  think  through  how  true  we  were  going  to  be  to  those  expectations,”  he  recalls.  “Where  we  going  to  set  a  new  challenge  for  people  familiar  with  the  book  or  were  we  going  to  try  and  comfort  them?  The  choice  we  made  was  to  invest  in  the  character  of  Amir  as  the  storyteller  in  the  same  way  the  novel  does.

Once  we’d  made  that  choice  everything  else  became  quite  clear  and  I  think  one  of  the  reasons  it’s  so  successful  is  because  you  get  inside  Amir’s  head  the  way  you  do  in  the  novel.”Having  no  narrator  in  the  film  was  “a  completely  legitimate  option  but  it  changes  the  nature  of  the  relationship  of  the  audience  to  that  story,”  says  Giles,  who  decided  not  to  use  a  child  actor  to  play  Amir  as  a  youngster,  as  he  had  been  in  the  Stateside  production.  “You’re  inside  Amir’s  head  –  the  dilemmas  he  has,  the  emotional  traumas  he  has,  the  journey  of  his  memory  and  his  guilt.  It  seems  to  me  that’s  much  more  interesting  and  complex  when  you  have  one  person  playing  both.”“They  might  be  conflicted  and  some  are  better  than  others,  but  fundamentally  it’s  a  human  story  and  any  story  about  forgiveness  and  redemption  is  worth  telling  whenever  and  wherever  it’s  set.  It’s  something  we  need  to  be  reminded  of  and  it’s  especially  important  to  be  reminded  of  what’s  happening  in  Afghanistan  and  to  portray  it  not  simply  as  a  war-torn  nation  but  as  a  place  with  a  complex,  interesting  history  and  a  wonderful  culture.”

In 1985 Giles was appointed as Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, London. In 1989 Giles joined the National Theatre as Literary Manager and in 1995 took up the post of Artistic Director of the Palace Theatre, Watford. Giles became Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse in 1999 where he has directed more than 50 productions. His most recent include: The Glass Menagerie; Any Means Necessary; Tony’s Last Tape; Forever Young; Arcadia; The Second Minute; Charlie Peace: His Amazing Life And Astounding Legend. His critically acclaimed production of The Kite Runner recently played the West End (twice at Wyndham’s Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre) and is now embarking on a national tour. In 2016, Giles announced he would be stepping down from his role at Nottingham Playhouse after November 2017. His final production as Artistic Director was The Cherry Orchard.Giles is also a playwright and his work has been produced widely in the UK and Europe. Earlier this year his latest play Channeling Jabez was produced in Scotland.

The Kite Runner comes to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre form the 22-26 May. You can book your tickets by clicking here, or call our Box Office on 01253 290190.