It’s almost showtime!
The pandemic has hit theatres hard but at last things are starting to get back to normal. New manager, Anna Davies, is very much looking forward to welcoming back audiences to Dundee’s Gardyne Theatre. Here, she shares her hopes and plans for the future...
Tell us a little about your career background.
I have always had a passion for theatre since I was a kid in my hometown Bath, where I did lots of shows on stage. Then, as I got older, I became very interested in the backstage areas and how the shows were created. I went to Aberystwyth University where I focused on production management and stage management, and loved it!
From there, I worked hard to get into the theatre world, from work experience backstage to box office, and finally found my feet as stage manager at Perth Concert Hall. I learnt so much there from the great team of people I worked with.
How do you feel Covid-19 has affected the industry?
Massively. Theatres have been closed for 18 months and are only now able to open to full audiences. Scottish theatres are a little different from English ones, in that the restrictions have changed at a slower pace. There is still a restriction for performers on stage to be 1m apart, if not wearing masks. There are exceptions to this rule but still it has made it a little more complicated. The biggest change now is planning. Theatres used to plan 18 months in advance, sometime more, but now six months is even a little risky. But at the end of the day the priority is safety!
What does your new role entail?
Everything! Scheduling, recruiting, cleaning, health and safety, contracts, constant learning around restrictions – there is so much to the role, but I love it!
Any upcoming shows audiences should be looking out for?
There are some great ones coming to Gardyne. We have The Scots Language Awards on 25 September, then some comedy shows and music gigs. But what I really want to know is what do audiences want to see? We have a chance after the pandemic to have a refreshing look at our shows, it’s very exciting.
What facilities are available at the venue?
Probably the best parking any theatre in Scotland has, it’s free and actually at the venue. The seating in the theatre is also some of the best there is, as a vertically challenged person (5ft) I can honestly say that the layout of the seating is brilliant as it doesn’t matter how tall the person is in front of me, I can see the show! The legroom in the seating is fantastic. Our bar is simple but superb.
The quality of the shows at Gardyne is also very good. This is in part because of the amazing productions, but also because of the great tech team we have at the theatre.
Do you have a favourite show or entertainer?
My favourite growing up was Blood Brothers. Now, I just can’t choose as there are so many great shows from musicals to music gigs, from comedians to one-act plays. It’s making me smile just thinking about it.
Three words to describe how you’re feeling about the Theatre opening on Saturday.
Excited, nervous, ready.
The Gardyne Theatre reopens on Saturday 25 September. For more info visit: www.gardynetheatre.org.uk