Interview: Red Ladder’s Rod Dixon on the company’s new production, The Damned United

By February 21, 2016

Theatre & Dance. Derby.


TSOTA’s Rich Jevons talks to Red Ladder’s Artistic Director Rod Dixon about the new production The Damned United.

Would you still describe yourself as an agitprop theatre company?

It is a bit of a hang-up from 45 years ago and so much goes back to the early days, but you could say our work with Boff Whalley has been agitptop.

How did you come about producing David Peace’s The Damned United?

Well, he kindly donated the rights, given our financial difficulties following the Arts Council cuts, but we are not giving it the same treatment as the film and it is not a direct adaptation of the book.

How is Andrew Lancel approaching his role as Brian Clough?

He’s still finding that, it’s early days. But we don’t want something similar to Michael Sheen in the film, we want to get into the head of the character. It is theatre, not a documentary drama and it’s not an impersonation. Clough is a tragic hero with the world against him. The play is very much the beginning, the start of a conversation.

How does the subject of football affect your audience?

Well, all the Leeds United fans will be coming to see it!

What can we expect in terms of design?

We are being brave and it is a work that will grow before your very eyes. A bit like the man who is also unfolding in front of you.

4 March to 2 April, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. 7 to 16 April, Derby Theatre. To support the Save Red Ladder campaign visit