In this new feature we introduce you to some of the people who bring our work to life on stage.
Catherine is a Trainee Venue Manager, working at The Other Place. She has been with the RSC for four months.
Describe your role in three words: challenging, ‘infinite variety’
What do you do in your typical day? Have a hearty breakfast. Complete the building checks and ensure everything is set for the rehearsals, meetings, shows and events going on throughout the day. Play some funky music and open the doors. Then I welcome people for their activities - often beginning with a Page to Stage Tour.
Meet a colleague or client to show off our amazing venue for them to use and hire. Recent show rounds have been for a 50th birthday party, a new play, a potential wedding reception and our education team for the Playmaking Festival.
Work through planning and preparation for an event that we are leading on. My last event was the Learning and Performance Network Symposium and I looked after the operational side of the event in The Other Place from the number of chairs to the flow of the guests, the layout of the rooms to the exact spot which Erica [Whyman - RSC Deputy Artistic Director] was to stand on for her speech. Everything is considered and looked into so that we are ready to do our best on the day.
Grab a swift lunch. Answer emails and complete reports. Set-up rooms for the next days festivities and get everything ready, talking with catering about making a room or foyer set-up together. Finally, I hand-over to a colleague for the evening shift. Go and watch a show and grab a bite with my new husband. Then sleeeeeeeeeep.
What is your favourite RSC production? Loved Gregory Doran’s The Winter’s Tale, though I did not see it live. The best ‘exit pursued by a bear’ ever!
What was your most memorable moment working at the RSC? When BBC Radio 3 were in the foyer in a glass box and there was a huge queue outside The Other Place, my colleague and I took it upon ourselves to crowd control and entertain which was great fun. We saw hardcore Shakespeare fans coming in, people who loved classical music, Stratford residents, people from Australia, couples, families and people who joined the queue to get in without knowing what it was and the reaction was fantastic. I even did a little sonnet for those waiting, which made the man who (unwittingly) requested a performance blush as he was compared to a summer’s day – so much fun!
What Shakespeare character would you most like to play? Oh gosh….I played Mercutio earlier this year and that was a big tick off my list – such good fun as a sassy woman. I would now quite like to play the Jailer’s Daughter from The Two Noble Kinsmen because the structure of the part is so unusual and the drive required to power through what she experiences must be incredible. Or Queen Margaret, but I loved Katy Stephens so much in the part I do not think I could compare.
How do you start each working day? With a genuine mixture of excitement and cheeriness, because the team are awesome but with a sprinkling of nervousness because I want everything to go well and reflect the hard work that everyone puts in.
Alistair is Head of Costume and has worked at the RSC since November 2002.
Describe your role in three words: multi-faceted, challenging, rewarding
What do you do in your typical day? Gosh, no day is really typical...I can be catching up with designers about shows currently in rehearsal, talking about shows in the future, discussing staffing, contracts, budgets or reorganising the stationery cupboard or building shelves!
What is your favourite RSC production? The Orphan of Zhao was something very special indeed, Don Quixote was great fun and Polly Findlay’s The Merchant of Venice was breath taking.
What was your most memorable moment working at the RSC? There are too many great moments to just pick one. Both Costume Sales were amazing fun and the costumes my teams produced for the Aztec Trilogy were stunning are just two things which immediately spring to mind.
What Shakespeare character would you most like to play? I’m quite happy being off the stage...
How do you start each working day? With a nice cup of tea and a trawl through the emails! It’s not all glamour!