As the production of Dick Whittington draws to a close, it’s time to say a few thank-yous. There’s a team of people who keep the show on the road and who are, perhaps, not always immediately visible to our audiences.
Our volunteer stewards are at the very heart of the operation. There are around 40 of them who work in shifts to prepare the theatre prior to shows, they re-stock the shelves in the shop and merchandise stand, they meet & greet, check tickets & sit in for the performances. During the interval they staff the tills and serve behind the counters. Post show, they sweep through the pit, boxes & the gallery collecting rubbish and lost property. They ensure that we can raise the curtain on a performance only 75 odd minutes after the curtain comes down on the previous one. They’re absolutely crucial to the safety, security and comfort of all our audiences.
Chris Lancaster heads up the bar team who are present at every performance, dispensing drinks and sweets, taking and preparing interval drinks orders and keeping the Greene Room Bar warm and welcoming. There is a considerable amount of ordering, stocktaking and preparation involved in keeping a theatre bar up to snuff.
Sue Pilgrim and her merry crew of Box Office staff are our ‘front-line’. Often the first people that the audience meets on either buying a ticket or coming in for a show, they are the smiling face of the theatre’s foyer.
Chris Oman & Monika front the truly unseen team at the theatre. They head up the cleaning crew. In every morning, seven days a week at around 5:30, they clean the auditorium, the Greene Room Bar, the backstage areas including dressing rooms, and the offices. That’s an awful lot of sweeping and mopping. They then come back between shows for a quick run round and to replenish stock in all the public areas, seamlessly working with the stewards to put the theatre in good shape for the next show. That involves multiple trips on three show days.
Upstairs in the offices, the Finance & Admin and Marketing & Communications teams do all that stuff that actually keeps the place going. Paying the money bills, designing the play bills, planning future programmes and keeping us all in order. Without them, the whole enterprise would collapse in no time at all.
Finally, a special ‘shout-out’ to Lucy Williamson, our Front of House and Events Manager. Lucy & I share an office from where Lucy spends many hours drawing up staff rotas and then fielding calls, texts & e-mails which lead to many re-writes. During the season, Lucy is ordering confectionary and ice cream on an almost daily basis. I should mention in passing that our suppliers are the most accommodating and flexible people I have ever come across. It’s not unknown for us to take in a top up delivery at 6:00 on a Saturday evening. She is responsible for merchandise purchase and stock control. Lucy leads a team of Duty Managers who ‘run’ things Front of House during shows. While juggling everything that goes with keeping the FoH operation on an even keel, Lucy is also plotting our involvement in weddings, parties and events during the coming year(s). She’s my first port of call with any queries about the running of Front of House.
After 76 performances, all those mentioned deserve our deepest thanks… and a good rest!
Actually, they get five days and it all starts again and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
– Matthew Abercrombie, Theatre Manager