Published: 22/09/2014 13:18 - Updated: 22/09/2014 13:45

Olivier on Macbeth

Richard Olivier.
Richard Olivier.

HERE is one name that crops up a lot in the first Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, which gets underway next Wednesday — Macbeth.

Both the real life Macbeth who ruled in Moray before becoming king of Scotland and Shakepeare’s anti-hero will be at the centre of the latest addition to the north’s festival calendar with a new take on the tale at Brodie Castle, talks, tours and film screenings.

However, one of the more unusual events at the festival looks at the lessons Macbeth has for contemporary leaders — although not necessarily as a role model given the literally back-stabbing tendencies of Shakespeare’s character.

Richard Olivier, who travels the world talking to decision makers and has just returned from a international leadership conference in Vancouver, will be exploring those lessons through the use of "mythodrama".

"Mythodrama essentially gets people to live through a story by dramatising a myth," he explained.

"We do two to seven day workshops where we break it down and people reflect the story into their own life and personal leadership challenges."

Having directed plays at the modern reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Olivier regards "the Scottish Play" as a cautionary tale for potential leaders.

"Macbeth is one of the best case studies of ambition I have ever come across," he said.

"If we look around at leaders in the world, a lot of them could be cast in the Macbeth mode — over ambitious for their own ends and not really looking after their people.

"It’s a slippery slope. Essentially he starts as a good guy, and is then tempted to go off the straight and narrow and just pursues it more and more until he just can’t stop."

As the son of Sir Laurence Olivier, widely seen as the greatest Shakespearean actor of his time, Richard grew up with Shakespeare an important part of his life and says that for his father, the Scottish king was one of his favourite roles.

"He loved it." Olivier said.

"In fact, one of the things he regretted most was that he was trying to do a film of it with Vivian Leigh (his then wife) and no-one would give him money — and this was after he’d won an Oscar for Hamlet and an Oscar for Henry V. I’ve got the screenplay somewhere, but it was never made."

• Richard Olivier talks about Macbeth the Mythodrama at the Mosset Tavern, Forres, at 6pm on Wednesday 24th September as part of the first Findhorn Bay Arts Festival.

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