Ask anyone in a theatre who has the best job, and they’ll always say it’s theirs. Mine however, is!
Programming is a bit like time-travel. I have to be thinking about what the world will be like 12, 18,or even 24 months into the future.
Asking myself questions like; is this artist still going to be famous next year? Will that kid’s show still be playing on the telly?
Who’s going to win Strictly Come Dancing in 2020? Serious questions, I know! As Programme and Tours Manager I am lucky enough to play a part in almost all sides of the business.
I talk brochures with the marketing team, sound and lights with the technical manager, and fun-filled workshops with the learning and participation department.
Being a part of the inner workings of the theatre is wonderful. I really feel like I know how the theatre ticks, like it’s a living breathing organism and each department relates to a different body part.
Marketing is the mouth, technical are the hands and finance is the brain!
So what’s programming? The blood system perhaps? Flowing between all the different vital organs. I spend a lot of time speaking to producers about what upcoming productions they are doing and whether or not it can fit into our programme.
I can be in contact with a producer for months, sometimes even years. And the job doesn’t finish with booking them in – financial deals need to be done, contracts written, and information communicated to the other departments – all months before the performance happens.
It is only once the curtain lowers on the last show and the accounts have been settled that the journey finally comes to an end.
This process, and the relationships that are formed with producers results in surprisingly strong bonds.
It feels good to get a phone call from a producer who you haven’t heard from for a while and finding out what they’ve been up to. It’s like having a huge extended family. The rest of my time is spent thinking about you. And by that I mean thinking about what you as an audience member might like.
There are shows which return year on year and we’ll always have a packed house.
Tributes to musicians of yesteryear who will have you up dancing and reliving your teenage years.
Shows which make you forget that you have to go to work in the morning because you yourself have become a time traveller – my job is only really done when you’re feeling 30 years younger and back in the local disco throwing some shapes while the DJ plays Billy Fury.