Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The Great Gatsby - Show Manager - Job Advert

The Cast of The Great Gatsby. Photo by Helen Maybanks


The Great Gatsby is looking to work with a highly skilled, friendly, efficient and Show Manager. This role is key to the day to day running of The Great Gatsby, being responsible for all FOH and audience-facing duties, as well as working alongside the Stage Manager to maintain the weekly running of the production. We are keen to meet people with a strong sense of initiative, imagination and organisation to join our high energy family.

The Great Gatsby is a heart-racing immersive adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal jazz-age tale. The show takes place in a custom built set, installed in a secret location in London Bridge. The show first opened in London as part of VAULT Festival in 2017, before moving to its new home in June 2017, where it has been running every since.

The show runs Wed-Sun each week, although hours will be required outside of show times. Total hours will be 46 hours per week.
Pay is at a company rate of £530pw plus holiday.
Contract period runs from 1
st August until 21st October 2018.

Previous experience as an ASM and FOH Manager. First Aid Trained.
SIA Trained.
Keen interest in pursuing a career in theatre.

Some working knowledge of immersive theatre. 

The role will include:
- Managing the nightly box office list from the Ticketing Manager, including guests and groups, and welcoming all audience in to the building.
- Management of all aspects of front of house – including prepping all audience facing areas, both in and out of world.

- Liaising with offices and other tenants regarding the use of any shared space within the venue. - - Being the primary first aider on site and maintaining first aid kits.
- Management and scheduling of security staff, including feedback on performance, booking extra security when needed and briefing them upon arrival.

- Floor management throughout the show, including audience movement and communicating with Security and the management of latecomers.
- Management of charity money.

- Writing of Front of House reports (to include issues on ticketing/audience and actor behaviour) and sending to the Stage Manager before midnight on the day of the performance to be included in show report.
- Being on radio for the entirety of a performance and dressed appropriately and visible on the floor.
- Cover the Stage Manager when they are on holiday, including the operating and running of the show.
- Helping the Stage Manager source items needed for the production (this will involve travelling within Zones 1&2)
- Contributing to the professional aesthetic of an Immersive theatre set including cleaning, polishing, and maintaining the general upkeep and cleanliness of the venue.
- Collecting, delivering or picking up costume/props on a weekly basis.
- Assisting the Stage Manager in the upkeep of costume including sewing, measuring, doing minor alterations, researching and sourcing (as instructed/needed by the Stage Manager)
- Assisting the Stage Manager in fixing/building/problem solving practical issues around the set. Supporting the Bar Manager with stock deliveries
- Attending rehearsals where necessary.
- Attend fortnightly Management meeting with the General Manager.

To Apply:
Email Katy@Hartshornhook.com with a cover letter and CV by Monday 9th July 2018

Thursday, 1 February 2018

10 Years Since...

Dear Jamie, Dom, Jethro, Danie, Nic, Niamh, Lucy, Tom, Alex, Ral, Simon, Matt, Sarah and Fran,

10 years ago we made this...
Metamorphosis, at York University, 2008
 I am not quite 30. I turn 30 on the 9th April this year...it's rapidly approaching. 

On the 24th January I opened a show I had long been dreaming about. NeverLand is a freeform immersive musical about JM Barrie, and about him writing and imagining the world of Peter Pan. It's a damn hard show and one I'm still not sure I have the right skills to finish, but I'm learning fast and trying damn hard. 

Also on the 24th January I got a message of my very good and longstanding friend Jamie Wilkes - 'It's 10 years today since the first performance of Metamorphosis'. 

In our 2nd year at York University we made a version of Berkoff's Metamorphosis. We were pushing at something and we didn't know what, or how, but we were pushing and pushing and pushing. One night, late at night, Jamie and I were in the Drama Barn (the wonderful imaginarium of York University's drama society) looking at the space. We decided to rebuild the whole set at about 2am. We built a house - the dining room, a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen. It filled the whole of the Drama Barn. 
'Where do we put the audience?' we asked. 
'They'll just have to sit in it all' was the answer. 

Metamorphosis, at NSDF 2008

And so, in that little moment of early hours delirium we hit something which has steered the last decade of my life. More than a 3rd of my whole life. And that more-than-third of my life has been amazing. And it has, for the most part, been because of and related to that decision. The life long friends I have made, the glorious memories I've stored, the things that have inspired huge decisions and risks and journeys. 

There's a peculiar ven diagram. The last 10 years have, although by no means invented, seem to have profligated immersive theatre. And, somehow, York University crops up over and over in the people who make it. The titans of Les Enfant, the huge family of Secret Cinema and then, very often, those of us who came crawling out of the gorgeous run down incubator of York University's under resourced Drama Barn. 

Metamorphosis, at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010
Metamorphosis took us out of university to the National Student Drama Festival. It took us up to Edinburgh to run a ridiculous amount of shows. It helped us build an idea, and identity, to imagine something we didn't know how to finish. But, more than everything to do with a theatre industry, it contained and convalesced so many people I hold nearest and dearest in all the world. That question - 'Where do we put the audience?' - has, genuinely, shaped a whole 10 years of my almost-30-years of life. 

NeverLand at VAULT Festival. Photo by Helen Maybanks
So underground in the heartwarming tunnels of VAULT Festival - surrounded by a festival full of amazing artists imagining things they need an incubator to figure out how to finish, in a venue that has housed another significant ring of the ven diagram, opening a show that I could never have even imagined 10 years ago - I get that message of my wonderful friend Jamie. 

'It's 10 years today since the first performance of Metamorphosis'

My stomach leaped for the last ten years, and also for the next. 

The Drama Barn at York University is a wonderful place and, even though I'm sure those of us in it at 3am one morning moving around furniture don't know it, it is responsible for a huge amount. A huge amount of a niche section of a theatre industry, and a huge amount of a large proportion of my life and, surely, of other people's.

10 years is a long time. But I still feel like I'm moving around furniture, trying to figure out how best to tell a story with an audience in the very centre, surrounded by some of the nearest, dearest and best of people. 

NeverLand at VAULT Festival. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Monday, 30 June 2014

Hard Life / Joy Line

I'm worried that two things are becoming normal. One thing is definitely down to our generation, the other might be ages old. When I write them like this, they seem small, but I think they're symptomatic of something bigger and I am as guilty of the next person of both.

1) We spend too much time on our phones
2) We spend too much energy telling people how busy we are 

If a conversation runs for long enough, the topic shifts to work. Immediately there is a competition to prove who is the busiest, who has the hardest job, who works the longest hours. 

'How's work?'
'Oh, yeah. Busy. Knackering. I need a holiday.'
'Tell me about it, I'm working like 10 hours a day at my desk.'
'I know. I leave the house and 6am and don't get back until 8pm'
'I don't even get out for lunch, I sit and eat at my desk'

And so on an so forth until everyone in the room is trying to brag that they are the busiest. 
During which time, most people are probably simultaneously answering emails on their phones too. 

This isn't me sounding miserable. Because, yes, people are busy and, yes, phones are damned useful. 

It's just that I haven't had a conversation with anyone in a while where they have said
'Yes, work is brilliant. I love my job. I work hard, it's kick ass. Let me tell you about the kick ass things we've done.'
I haven't had one of those inspiring conversations in a while. 

Is that because jobs are getting harder and hours are getting longer? 
Or is that because we don't feel we can say we're having fun? That we feel work should be a grind, that we're earning every penny of our money, that other people will judge us if we actually have a nice time at work? 
Considering how long everyone seems to spend working, I'd damn hope some of it is enjoyable. 

I love my job. Sometimes my job involves a shed load of admin and budgets and planning. Sometimes it involves reading books and writing. Sometimes it involves playing around in a room. And maybe it's just me, but I tend to play up the admin/budget/desk-based side so it feels justified to other people, so I can join in with the 'Oh woe is me I worked all the hours' conversation. Whereas, actually, sitting reading a book I'm adapting is perfectly reasonable and very enjoyable. 

I suggest we let a bit of joy return. I suggest we try telling other people about the good stuff, the hard and long stuff we should just forget - they aren't as good a memories and they make for less good stories. 

Oh, and phones. We should read more books and play more games and dance to more music. People are great. People invented smartphones, which are great. But people are definitely greater.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

#LittleFest - Thank You & What Next

So, the last four weekends have seen On Our Turf come kicking and screaming in to the big wide world. We’ve had four festivals, across four weekends, across four towns. So that’s a #LittleFest in Easingwold, Pocklington, Selby and Helmsley – 2 days in each town filled with theatre, poetry, crafts, dance, music, storytelling, photography, workshops, art, literature, games, trails and adventures.

If you want it in numbers, it looks like this:
4 Towns
4 Weekends
95 Venues
251 Events
133 Companies & Artists
380 Performers
Over 220 hours of free performance

That means that, on average, each town has produced over 48 hours of entirely free arts, crafts and performance.

That is really quite remarkable.

But what is more remarkable are all the people behind it who have made it all happen. What is remarkable are all the people who have said ‘yes’ to creating something which has never happened before. What is remarkable is that all this happened because people wanted it to, got their hands dirty and built it all from scratch.

Every person who said ‘yes’ believes that the arts has a truly important place to occupy in their community. And when I say people who said ‘yes’ I mean people who said yes to coming to perform, whether that’s their first ever gig or their thousandth, whether they are from near or far; people who said yes to hosting acts in their venues, be it their pub or shop or cafĂ© or garden; people who said yes to meeting every week to make sure we had organised everything; people who said yes to putting up a poster or handing out a flyer; people who said yes to coming and watching something they might not normally watch in somewhere they might not normally watch it.

Most of all, though, everyone who said yes to helping make something happen. It only happens if there are people behind it. There’s no arts fairy, no magic spells – it’s just people and imagination and hard work and care and time – and together they create some remarkable things.

But, like I said, this is just the beginning. We have two years of work to create, festivals to programme, artist to commission, mountains to climb and things to learn. So we want to learn, look forwards and start planning and imagining the next bits. And how do we make that all happen? With brilliant people.

If you liked the sound of #LittleFest, if you came and enjoyed yourself, if you came and didn’t enjoy yourself – we’d love to have in our conversations. On Our Turf is big, and it needs people who care about their community in the beating heart of it. Whether you’ve spent your life working in the arts, or if you’ve never set foot in a theatre, we want you on board.

We want to bring people together and make things happen. There are four £10,000 commissions to mount, 12 more festivals to create and no end of other work to imagine.

If you want to know more, you are cordially invited to The Ballroom in De Grey Rooms, York Theatre Royal on the 10th October 2013 at 7:45pm.

If you can, we’d ask you to think about the following about our work so far:
1)      Two things which have been really successful
2)      Two things which could have been better
3)      Two things which weren’t there at all and you’d liked to have seen
These could be to do with performances, organisation, communication, marketing, press, production, financial or anything else which has gone on over the last few months. If you've had no contact with the project yet, then that's fine too. 

Please do RSVP to me in advance of the 10th so we know how many people to expect. If you can’t make it, then please feel free to send on notes in advance to include in the discussions. You can get me on alex.wright@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Finally, although the words themselves are scarcely big enough, a huge Thank You to everyone involved. Each and every person has poured some heart and soul, not to mention a great deal of time, in to these four #LittleFests. You should be very proud of what you have created and kicked off with such energy, vibrancy and ambition.

Photos by James Eaglesfield

Monday, 17 December 2012


 I am, in many senses of the word, a very lucky person. At the moment, I exist in a semi-constant state of wonder at the brilliant things that the day to day contains and the brilliant people that I get to spend these days with.

As I type, Luke has just got out of bed; Ed is lying reading What Dreams May Come; Veronica is training to be a teacher; The Boy James is being performed in America; Louis & Brian are putting the finihing touches to a Beulah and Some Small Love Story Tour; A Christmas Carol is getting brilliant reviews and audiences at The Lamb & Lion Inn; I am planning a bunch of great stuff with York Theatre Royal; I'm going for a beer with Joe Hufton later and Tom Bellerby is still tweaking and working on the show. I spent the mornign sending emails and the afternoon writing down ideas. My parents have installed Christmas in their house and this year my sister and her fiance are around for the festive season too. Jim is back next week and we will get to play lots of music.

A packed pub room at #LittleFest
These are little details, and I know they are very personal to me. But they all add up a wonderful bit of life time. I finished reading The Perks Of Being A Wallflower yesterday. In it, Charlie talks about looking at old photos of his parents. He says that the way they look and the way they talk about those memories makes you feel like they were the glory days, and that you will never be as happy as those memories. He realises though, later, that these are our glory days and we must make sure that our children know they are as happy as we were in their glory days. I like the idea of glory days. These feel like glory days.

I never remember writing plays really - or at least the good ones. They just kind of happen with lots of other peoples input. I never feel like they belong to me. I don't really feel like my glory days belong to me, rather I owe them to everyone who makes everything quite as wonderful as it is. I owe the last 12 months or so to a lot of wonderful wonderful people. Far too many to mention by name, but in the last 12 or so months the following things have happened by no fault of mine:

Holy Moly & The Crackers
The Little Festival Of Everything opened it's door in Coxwold for the first time.
William, The Fastest Train To Anywhere, The Boy James and HOT went to Australia.
The Mystery Plays performed to over 30,000 people with over 2,000 people involved.
We made Beulah which got loads of great reviews, loads of great feedback and performed to some of the best people.
The Little Festival Of Everything opened its doors for the second time in Coxwold and then in South Hill Park and Edinburgh.
In Edinburgh we performed a lot, drank a lot, sang a long, met and played with lots of brilliant brilliant people and had ball.
Made good friends with Holy Moly & The Crackers and toured If The River Was Whiskey.
Louis & Brian decided to tour Beulah & Some Small Love Story - so we started planning that.
We mounted and remounted A Christmas Carol.
We played lots of gigs, sang lots of songs, danced lots of dances, met lots of brilliant people and drank most of the booze.
I got engaged.

I have realised, as I often do, that people are the best thing. People make up our glory days.

I am working on/dreaming about a new show called Babylon. I think it's a good idea, but that doesn't mean it is. It's a story about Kings and Queens and the beautiful lands of our homes after they have been torn to pieces. It's about what we love and treasure. It's about what we hold near and dear and what we should keep safe in the world. It's part post-folk-apocalyptic and it's part about the beginning of a utopia. It's a big story, but hopefully can be simply told.

The thing is, I want to tell it with as many people as possible.

After spending time running festivals and events and what not, I have met and played with so many brilliant musicians, storytellers, artists etc and each one of them makes me feel like I want to do what they do. So I think we should try and do it together, instead of being exclusive about how we make work.

So, I'd like to make Babylon as a big story. I want to structure the telling of it like a band structures their line up.

The Buffalo Skinner
A band might be a four piece band: Guitar, bass, drums and keys. But you will see that band play a gig with 8 of them; they'll add violin, accordion and horns. Then you might just see two of them, unplugged doing an acoustic set in a cafe. I want to do that with Babylon. I want to involve all the brilliant people I know in the telling of a big and, I think, exciting and important story. And, logically, if all the people I have met this year, and the people who I have spent more time with over the years, are quite as brilliant as I think they are, then they must know even more brilliant people. I want to spread a story, a song, an idea across lots of people and lots of places.

I don't know how to do that, but I'd quite like to find out.

I want us to share some glory days with some more dancing, singing, playing, drinking, storytelling and having a ball. People are brilliant - they deserve to give and receive brilliant things. I'd like to make things together. I want to find theatres, pubs, halls, front rooms, back rooms, parks, streets, cabaret bars and anywhere else where we can start to tell our story. I want to find bands, storytellers, musicians, illustrators, directors, dancers, performers, actors, singers, puppeteers and whoever else who can help me start telling the story.

I need to find the best way to start starting.

Maybe, over the year, I'll take photos of it all so I've captured the glory days.

A pretty picture of a butterfly
Maybe I'll talk to Joe in the pub tonight about Babylon. Maybe it can start there.

Ideas - give me a shout:

To all involved in my last year - I am remarkably grateful.

To all those involved in the next - I can't bloody wait.


Monday, 23 July 2012

People Who Need People

Last night we started the technical rehearsals for The York Mystery Plays 2012. This is a massive project, with 2 casts of 250 community members each and the custom built 1400 seater auditorium. There are also innumerable community volunteers involved with costume making, prop making, front of house, stage managing, crew, photography - you name, people are there and willing to make it happen.

Today I quickly caught Jethro to give him a key to a shed to get some props out as he is in a van heading up to Edinburgh to start our Belt Up Theatre build. This will be out 5th year at the fringe making bespoke environments for people to come and enjoy our stories in.

Also today, Luke and my Dad are in Edinburgh, also in a van, preparing the space for LittleFest, a festival which will bring together some of the most exciting artists at the fringe to play together under one roof and without the usual competition that is so rife at the fringe.

Today I got an email about dates for If The River Was Whiskey, a gig and a show by the brilliant Holy Moly & The Crackers which we will rural tour across Autumn & Spring.

Last month we did two Little Festivals Of Everything, one in Coxwold and in Berkshire, which gathered a whole bunch of incredible people from near and far to come and try out some work and spend some time with artists and with audience.

Also today I will do some more work on our little Beulah tour after the fringe in Autumn. We'll head to pubs and village halls. 

We all use the phrase, 'Oh I'd love to...' followed by a list of things we'd dream of doing. Mine includes running a pub; running some sort of arts farm in the countryside with performance, development and workshop space as well as a cafe; run an arts centre; write stories for people.

It's perhaps a little slow of me to realise, but last night stood on our custom built stage with a backdrop of the ruined wall of St Mary's Abbey, I realised exactly what the York Mystery Plays is about: it is purely, simply and wonderfully about people. It's about bringing people together to create something spectacular which we could never create without each other. All too often in theatre we get wrapped up in ourselves, in making things precise and correct, and we fill in all the holes so that noone can access it anymore. But the Mystery Plays is the opposite of that, it is made from the very bricks and mortar of the city. The city is inside the plays. And it will never be a soullessly precise piece of theatre, because it has to much soul, too much love and care and, frankly, too many people to to be able to quash the soul out of it. 

Stood looking at the stage, when the angels first come on and when the garden of eden comes on and when the whole company first arrive, it is incredible. It is incredible because it is truly and utterly alive - not in the same way that a tightly knit and well drilled Chekhov is made to feel alive - it is alive because it is full of the life of real and superb people. It is such a wonderful difference. 

And then, after realising this, I realised what links all the above together - it's about people. People are fantastic and fascinating and surprising and breathtaking. 

Belt Up's shows can be electric. They are never the same twice. This is because we let people bodily in to the story - they can sit in it, play in it and become a part of that world. Our bar nights are about people being together. Simple but very good fun.

The Flanagan Collective is a pleasure to run because it is about talking with people, taking shows to people or letting people bring shows to us. It's not a machine, it's a real conversation.

The Little Festival Of Everything is magical because it brings people together, it levels the playing field and it lets people relax, chat, laugh and experiment; all with people they wouldn't otherwise have spent that time with.

I would like to run a pub because that's where a lot of people go. A pub is a place made purely for people, you can't fill in all the holes yourself, the people are the final and most important part of the piece.

A whole arts farm could let people in at every possible door. To stay, to visit, to make, to play, to drink, to eat, to help, to enjoy. 

All these things work because we let people in, and we actually let them in. This is why, for me, a fourth walled piece of theatre behind a proscenium arch is difficult, because there is nowhere for people to get in to it - they just stand outside and watch - you can't touch, talk, move around in that place, you are separate in every way. The piece is finished without you, they've done it on their own.

What I have learnt so far through The Mystery Plays is how phenomenal people are, in their glory and simplicity of being just that: people. The York Mystery Plays are filled with, built by and loved by people. There is a passion that sits inside all of it that is worthy of more than just reviews and theatrical praise, it is what the society should be made of: people working together to make something very special, something which they own, their own piece of magic which takes it's rightful place in history - theatrical, cultural and, most importantly, personal history. 

I hope that in our own ways, Belt Up, FlanCol & LittleFest will at least let people in to something special which they give to and can take from. I hope over the last 5 years people have enjoyed getting inside Belt Up shows and creating some spectacular moments - our favourite moments and memories. I hope the shows we carrying taking to people with FlanCol keep being an open conversation and we keep talking to people for as long afterwards as we do at the minute, because we like talking to people. I hope LittleFest keeps allowing such diverse people to come together and to spend time, as well as test ideas, but more importantly to eat and drink and talk and meet new people.

If ever I get a pub or a farm, I'll let you know. 

There are hundreds of things I could say in praise of Belt Up, FlanCol, LittleFest and The Mystery Plays - and all things that I could take no credit for. But it all comes down to people, to things that we could never do on our own, about people giving a little bit of themselves to something. People giving a little bit of themselves to some art, imagination, a story; and idea which because of them, becomes something remarkably beautiful and full of soul. That is very special indeed.

When I grow up, oh, I'd love to do that. And I'm very proud to be a part of it now.

[The Mystery Plays run from 2-17 August. www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk / @YorkMystery2012]

[Belt Up Theatre runs from 2-17 August. www.beltuptheatre.com / @BeltUpTheatre]

[#LittleFest runs from 2-27 August. www.theflanagancollective.co.uk / @FlanCol]

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cowboys in Australia

I often complain a bit – talk about how there should be more opportunity, more support for young artists and companies. I often think that it should made a lot easier for us to access the levels of infrastructure that we could really benefit from. And I do believe all of this – of course I do – and I will generally do all I can to help people to make things happen, because often making things happen can be hard and not a lot is often done to make it easier.

However, there are benefits to being young and not wrapped up in infrastructure or three year plans, even though most of the time that’s what I’d quite like. I was in a conversation with a friend of mine the other day, Mr Liam Evans Ford who runs Sprite and Factory Theatre companies. I described myself as a bit of a cowboy, not because I ride horses and herd cattle, but because I am still at that stage where you can kind of do stuff just because you want to. Sometimes it doesn’t have to make massive financial or career development sense, sometimes it’s okay to do it just because it’s fun.

In the early hours of Friday morning I will drive Veronica Hare to Manchester airport. She is flying out to Australia to perform at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. She is performing William for The Flanagan Collective. Joe Hufton is going too, to perform The Fastest Train To Anywhere also with FlanCol. Jethro Compton, Dominic Allen and Serena Manteghi are going out for Belt Up Theatre, produced by Jethro, to perform Outland by Dom and The Boy James by me. Damsel Sophie is already there, she left last week, to perform her new cabaret, HOT in Melbourne and then Adelaide. Sam Krylonksy, who is normally ASM at York Theatre Royal is going out too, she’s working as a Stage Manager out there.

Between all that, I have three shows that I’ve written and one which I’ve directed. Two shows with The Flanagan Collective, two shows with Belt Up Theatre and one with Damsel Sophie. What’s perfect is that regardless, the whole thing will probably be very fun. Why? Because we get to go to Autraslia and pretend that it’s work. Yes, of course, it is work and we will all work hard – but it is work in Australia. For people our age that it pretty cool. It’s quite cool to say ‘Sorry, I can’t do that day, I’ll be working in Australia.’

I’m only going out for two weeks to catch up with everything. But even that sounds cool, heading off to Oz just to ‘catch up with everything.’

So a bunch of us who are normally to be found in cheap pubs will be lauding it in the height of Australian summer. We will make shows and perform them, we will meet new people – people who we would never meet in London, York or Edinburgh – and we will have new conversations about new things. We’ll meet new artists and watch new shows. We’ll probably come back with lots of new ideas and we will probably have conversations which start ‘When I spent some time working in Australia…’ and you will have permission to slap us.

So even though a lot of the time some of us get sick of working from our bedrooms and pretending they are actually an office, as much as some of us moan about rehearsing in living rooms and making costumes out of our old clothes, despite the fact that all of us don’t have a three year plan or a neatly written list of touring contacts – we do get to go and play in Australia for a little bit. It feels like a treat.

If you read this and you are at the Adelaide Fringe then drop us a line…we’ll be the white, pasty British kids, giddy on Australian sunshine.