Doug Ward – Director
In his capacity as Artistic Director of the NEC Doug Ward functioned in many other capacities as well; producer, playwright, actor, dramaturg and frequently as a director. Here he explains how this came about.
“I came to directing in a round-about way. When we started the NEC, I was constantly being put into a position where I had to make decisions not only about what we did but also how we would do it. So already in many ways, I was assuming the role of director before I had the title. I mean I would read and select the plays, sometimes as in the case of Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, organize readings and even make certain artistic choices about the way it would be presented.
“With the play Daddy Goodness, no one else could see the play as I had seen it. Richard Wright( well known author of Native Sun and Black Boy) had died before he could put the finishing touches on the play that had been sent to Bobby (Hooks) during the time he was producing my two one acts. In other words what I had was a rough draft. When I showed it to other directors, they couldn’t see much theatrical value in it. I did. I saw it as a satire about the manipulation of simple folks.
“So, once I couldn’t find anyone interested in directing it, I had to take on the responsibility or cancel a show that we had already announced. So I bit the bullet and formally took on the task of directing it. This was a career that I was more than eager to leave to someone else. But I had set up the NEC so that the artistic choices would be solely mine. And with authority comes responsibility. So I started directing as well as acting, producing and writing for the company.”
After Daddy Goodness between 1968 and 1993 directed over 30 plays for the company including many of their best known plays such as; The River Niger, The First Breeze of Summer, The Great Mac Daddy, Home and A Soldier’s Play.