While theatre director Joe Lichtenstein is currently ploughing a successful path on the London stage, it’s his other creative side which is on show this week.

That’s the Wivenhoe artist’s striking charcoal drawings of the landscapes in and around his home town.

After studying at the Gilberd and Colchester’s Sixth Form College, Joe took an art foundation course at the Colchester Institute before going to study drama at York University.

He says: “When I was about 13 I started to create my own animation, which I suppose mixes both of my loves of drama and art, although I’d never really thought about that before.

“They were pretty abstract pieces, a bull jumping out of a box and trees and landscapes, which obviously fits in with the kind of work I’m doing now.”

Now an up and coming theatre director working in London, Joe is showing 30 new pieces at the Printworks Gallery in his home town.

“I think the thing for me was although I really liked drama,” Joe adds, “I wasn’t all that keen on being in the spotlight. I didn’t really like the performing aspect of it and I didn’t know you could be a director then.

“The art is my way, I suppose, of putting my creative side into the spotlight without it actually being me.

“I have about 30 on show, all from the last 18 months. When you work in theatre there are plenty of moments when you have a bit of free time and rather than getting a job in a cafe or a bar, I thought I would give the drawing a go.

“I’ve always worked in charcoal because that’s what I used to do my animation with. That way you could easily take a picture of it, scrub it out and then draw the next one really easily.”

Joe has just been working as a staff director at the National Theatre, where he looked after the transfer of new play, Beginning, to the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End. Later this year he’s about to work as Associate Director in the West End on the Pinters at the Pinter.

Joe Lichtenstein’s drawings will be on display at the Printworks Gallery at the Wivenhoe Business Centre from tomorrow until Monday, July 5 to 9, from 10am to 5pm each day.