War Horse director Marianne Elliott says lack of female role models made her doubt she would succeed
Marianne Elliott, the acclaimed theatre director, has said that an absence of visible female directors during her youth made her believe she may never be able take on theatre's top job.
Elliott, whose career has seen her direct at Manchester's Royal Exchange and the National Theatre - following an invitation from Nicholas Hytner - confessed that she had questioned her ability to be successful in theatre solely because of her gender.
''I went to Hull University, I didn't have good enough grades for anything else and I thought I could do drama. '
'But I honestly never thought I'd go into it. I started directing then and I really enjoyed it, again, I still didn't think that I would do it because I thought you had to be a man," she told Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.
Elliott, who formed her own theatrical company Elliott & Harper with theatre producer Chris Harper in 2016, has been a leading figure in her field.
She directed a series of influential productions including War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.
She told presenter Kirsty Young: ''I know it's awful isn't it? I thought you had to be a man because they're all male therefore; it's clearly not something I could do.''
The award winning director, who in 2011 took home the Tony for Best Direction of a Play for the Broadway production of War Horse, spoke of the positive feelings she experienced after confronting her fear of entering the male dominated arena.
"I felt an enormous sense of belonging and maybe power as well,'' she said.
Elliott, who this year was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre, was quick to offer words of encouragement to other young women hoping to break into theatrical directing.
"I would say there is no one right way, you have to follow you own instinct, you have to get atune to what your instinct is saying to you and follow that.
"If it's not what Joe Bloggs is doing that's okay, Joe Bloggs can do his own production you just get on with yours.''
Elliot chose songs including The Smiths' Please, Please, Please, Let me Get What I Want and Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet. '
'I love Bjork because she is the opposite of conventional and that's how I would say all the women that I've know in my life and all the women that I've heard about in my life from my family are,'' she said.
Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 today at 11:15am