Meet the Off-Stage Stars
By Tiphani Fisher
Working in the theatre industry comes with many benefits, one of which is that your co-workers will be some of the most interesting people you will have the pleasure of knowing.
Here at ATG we decided it was time to have a sneak peek into the lives of the off-stage stars. Duke of York's Theatre is no exception when it comes to their staff who were more than happy to answer a few of our questions giving us an insight into this beautiful theatre and the people in it. Duke Of York's was bought by ATG in 1992 and is currently showing Noel Coward's Hay Fever.
|Laura is 21 and from Hampshire. She works as both Front of House and Bar Staff and has been at Duke of Yorks for 1 year and 2 months.||Daniel is 29 and from Belfast. He works at Stage Door and has been at Duke of Yorks on and off since 2009.
||Matt is 21 and from Northampton. He works as an Ambassador Lounge Host and has been at Duke of Yorks for 1 month.
What is your typical day at work like?Matt: Customers are able to come to the lounge an hour and a half before the show begins. I welcome everyone in, get them drinks, take their coats and show them to their seats. I will take orders for the interval and get them ready during the first act. It's all about making sure that audience members receive the VIP experience!
Has anything surprised you about your role here?Rebecca: You do a lot more than people might think. We don't just sell tickets we also talk to producers and do a lot of admin. We are selling tickets for shows right up to December at the minute so you have to be able to multitask, which is nice because it gives us a challenge and keeps us busy.
What is your favourite part about working in this venue?Matt: The people. Everyone is so friendly here and because it's a smaller venue you get to know everyone. We go for drinks after work together and even have quizzes in between shows. I guess it's also just being in a theatre. I'm a theatre student so to be working here while I study is great, every day is different which keeps it interesting. Farinelli and the King is coming in September and for that production a number of seats will be on stage which will be new for the ushers!
Have you always wanted to work in the industry?Casey: I always did, I studied at a musical theatre college and recently left because I decided I didn't want to perform. I'm going to University in September to study screen writing and producing. I don't think I will ever branch out from the industry.
Kathy: Theatre is a recent passion. I saw a play two years ago and after that I was hooked. I finished my studies and decided to live in London. I thought it would be interesting to work in theatre because that's what I love now!
Can you tell us a bit about your path in the industry?Laura: I was coming to the end of my University degree which was in theatre and I wanted a job in the industry. I saw advertised on the ATG website a position for Ambassador Lounge host, I applied and got the job. I worked as host for about 6 months before being cast in a show which meant I had to change to part time as Front of House and bar staff. I really enjoy working in this venue because the staff are so lovely and welcoming. Currently I am training with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company and luckily I'm able to juggle both.
Have you got any funny stories from your time working here?Daniel: After shows the actors will have guests visiting them in their dressing rooms and I'm always trying really hard not to embarrass myself in front of any famous or important people in the industry. I was doing pretty well until one evening someone was buzzing to get into the building. I couldn't see who they were so I didn't let them in until one of the actor's came to let me know it was their guest. It turned out to be Ang Lee. I should have been welcoming him in and handing out my CV instead of leaving him on the street!
Have you got any advice for people who want to work in the theatre industry?Rebecca: It's important to gain knowledge on all the different roles in theatre and how they work collectively. I think the best way to do that is through lots of work experience and shadowing. It's all about personality in this industry so walking into theatres and personally handing out your CV gives you a chance to showcase that.
What do you think should be in the West End?Laura: I haven't seen it but have heard amazing things about Hedwig and the Angry Inch which is on Broadway. Even if it didn't do well I think we should have it as something different and new.
If you could be the lead of any show what would it be?Casey: I watched Urinetown recently so I would like to be the lead in that.
Kathy: I am too shy to go on stage, I would love to be back stage but not on!
Matt: I'm not the right sex but I would be Elphaba from Wicked. If I had to be a male I would want to be Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre-dame. I would just have to get some upper body strength to be able to swing, but I wouldn't need any make up!