"Part 2/4": We run a theatre company AND...
Updated: Jun 30, 2019
We've found that one of the biggest misconceptions about running a theatre company, is that making shows is our full time job... we wish!! (broken heart emoji). You've heard us waffle on about the admin work that goes into keeping our small business afloat in previous blogs, but what else do they do? I hear you cry! So we have decided to create a 4 part blog series called 'We run a theatre company AND...', that delves a little into our 4 very different lives.
Part 1: Meet Emily
Slight caveat, I’m terrible at decision making so the favourites below are correct at time of writing but will have probably changed in about a week...
Job Title: Stage Manager/ Freelancer
Home town: Peterborough
Favourite Colour: Emerald Green/ Mustard/Burnt Orange
Favourite Film: The Secret Life of Bees
Favourite Animal: Quokka
Biggest Fear: Fish
Favourite Place: Italy
Favourite book: Yankee Girl
What first interested you in the Arts?
Surprisingly when I was younger I wanted to be a performer, I’ve always loved films and I spent a lot of time pretending I was in films and TV shows. You can bet that I also did the classic sitting in the car listening to a sad song and staring out of the window pretending I was in the music video. Growing up I spent most of my school holidays watching my cousins dance in competitions so I gave that a go (which as most people who have ever seen me dance can attest to, didn’t work out well for me) It wasn’t until secondary school that I was properly introduced to theatre, Gradually I began watching more fell in love with it pretty quickly. Any opportunity I had to watch something I would and although I didn’t realise it at the time, I always had a fascination with how it all worked. Even now one of my annoying habits is that I spend half the show staring up at the rig instead of watching the actual performance. University was when I finally realised the amount of work and preparation that goes into a performance before an actor even touches the stage and from that point on (as someone famous once said) the rest was history.
What other work do you do besides Push To Shove?
I very much live the life of a freelance artist, so it really does depend on when you ask me.
I, just like Alice, spent a year teaching Performing Arts in a secondary school. Before working in a school I’d done quite a few different workshops with young people but secondary teaching was when I realised how much I enjoyed that branch of work. Although I don’t teach full time anymore, it definitely influenced my work with the company and I also still teach performing arts on weekends.
Alongside teaching I do other freelance work including workshops, being a venue technician, stage management, producing and event management. I’ve also been touring recently with Prototype Theatre, stage managing A Machine They’re Secretly Building and The Audit (or Iceland a Modern Myth.)
Last year our company member Mark made his own solo show as part of his MA at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. We’ve been working together on marketing and putting together a tour for late 2019/early 2020 and this has meant that I’ve been able to hone in on producing as a skill, something that we all take part in as Push to Shove but this is my first time taking a lead.
Like most people who freelance I also have a ‘day job’, I’m a team leader at a theatre/café bar in Lincoln (sound familiar? Me and Alice spend a LOT of time together) We’re really lucky that we have a job that we both love and is so flexible whilst allowing us to stay within the arts sector. Plus, like she said, it has a lot of perks!
How do you think your other work influences Push To Shove?
Over the last year as I have begun to tour more regularly with different theatre companies, I have been able to visit a number of different venues and meet many other creatives in the arts field. This has been especially helpful with deciding on venues that we would like to tour to. I have first-hand experience of many venues across the country and know their capabilities so now I have a good idea of where our show would work well within the program. Through working with other companies I have learnt so many transferable skills that I can then bring forward to Push To Shove. I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to work with people at all stages of their careers who have been kind enough to give me advice and answer all the random questions I have.
We are really lucky with the continued support we receive from the Lincoln Performing Arts Center. I’ve worked for the technical team since I was in 2nd year of University and without the staff here, I probably wouldn’t be on the path I am now as this is where my journey into stage management and technical theatre began. Through them I have had the opportunity to work on a number of shows on many different scales, as well as attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All of these projects have given me the opportunity to hone my skills which are now used continuously within the company dynamic.
Although I primarily work in education and technical theatre, I still relish in the opportunity to create work, whether that is as a director, as working with the community or even sitting in on rehearsals for another company. Devising is and always will be my favourite part of Push To Shove Theatre and all of the experiences I have outside of the company only aid me in growing my skills as a theatre maker.
I think one of the best and worst things about working in this way is the uncertainty. I don’t always know where my next job will come from which can be terrifying but what I’ve found is that it always seems to work out in the end. On the flip side I never get bored because I get to do so many different things. Now I may not be earning the big bucks but I’m doing stuff that makes me happy and I feel like that is more important.