Maria Aberg was having one of the busiest times of her 20-year theatre career when the pandemic hit. But a month after theatres closed last spring, she was almost ready to give up on being a director despite a sparkling track record. Much of it was down to the disappointment of an aborted season of European theatre she had conceived for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which meant years of work down the pan. “It was completely devastating,” she says.
Aberg had begun preparing the RSC season, Projekt Europa, just after the EU referendum in 2016, and its focus on European theatre felt profoundly personal. “I’m a Swede who has lived in Italy, Berlin, Ireland and then in the UK for 20 years [she moved to London to study drama at Mountview]. I consider myself totally European. It was the culmination of years of interest and curiosity about European theatre-makers.”