New year, new start

The New Year is always a time for reflection and given that this New Year signaled a brand new job, what better time for a look back on my first two weeks as a Producer at Théâtre Sans Frontières?

It’s been a fantastic blur of meetings, new faces (and too many names!) and exciting projects so let’s put it to the test and see what I can remember.

The first day was the obligatory bundle of nerves mixed with the shock of leaving the house at 7:15am to get to Hexham from Newcastle. It was more than worth it though when my first day unfurled and I began to see what I was in for. I had the full building tour of the company’s base at the Queen’s Hall, including the stage and back stage areas, the box office, gallery and rehearsal rooms and met everyone from the technicians to the Artistic Director and some of the other companies sharing the building. Without exception, everyone I met was friendly and welcoming and it made me feel very much at home. No time to relax though, as from there I had meetings with TSF’s Artistic Directors (to look at what my job role entails) and a project specific meeting in the afternoon.

First day done and it was back on the train, metro and bus and near enough straight to bed.

The next few days were more meetings, more lovely people and the start of me finding my feet and feeling at home. Some of my highlights included;

An all staff meeting on the Artistic Programme

On my second day the whole TSF team had a meeting to review the Artistic Programme. It was a brilliant opportunity for me to see what shows and projects the company have planned and eye-opening to see that they’re planning now right up until 2015. It was also great to see how involved everyone is and what the company lacks in man power (there are only 6 members of staff and only 2 full time) they definitely make up for in passion.

Marie Curie project

TSF work very closely with schools on a lot of their projects and I was fortunate enough to visit one such school with Artistic Director, Sarah Kemp. The Project is based around Marie Curie and involves the children taking part in a whole day of activities looking not only at the French language but also the history and culture of the country. We met with staff from the Science, English and French departments and I was impressed with how keen everyone was to be involved. It is a project that could easily be seen as a ‘language’ project but actually has great benefits across the curricular. In one of the sessions the children get to take part in a science experiment, based on some of the principles that Marie Curie worked on, looking at the component parts of a substance. Although I’m not sure we persuaded the science teacher to go as far as getting into costume he was keen to brush up on some French in preparation for the big day. It was a really insightful meeting and I’m planning to go back to see the project in action.

The office mysteries

A bit of light relief came mid-week in the form of a mysterious smell that developed in the office. It was a solvent, inky kind of smell and everyone had a theory as to where it was coming from. We had the computer guy come in to check the printer (‘it must be a sticker that’s got caught’), had the Queen’s Hall Artistic Director check it out in case it was a building problem and all the team turning the office upside down to find the source of it. In the end we all de-bunked, had our meeting in the coffee shop next door and celebrated when we came back to find it dispersed. Never a dull day!

It’s been an intense two weeks full of lots of information but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in on writing some funding applications and getting out and about to meet different venues and programmers.

Thanks for reading,