Journey into the Theatres

The more I know what TTT works, the more I am dedicated to my role. It’s so much more complicated to run a theatre, after I know how many experts are needed to construct and maintain a theatre building. I was also amazed at the director’s ability of remembering plethora of information and schedules in her mind and tell me explicitly what I should learn before I commence the role, as the adviser’s assistant.

As I wish to gain as much knowledge as possible about my organisation, I read the report from last year’s conference. Everything starts from arts, as in CCIs. But, these participants in the conference have gone a step further by addressing that our theatre can have a greater sustainability than just housing the arts, stated by Jake Orr. I think this idea is true in reality. One example I read in the report is Manchester City Council’s use of culture as a tool of regeneration since the 1990s. There have been three major buildings, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Art Gallery and Urbis museum. Urbis museum is now the National Football Museum re-opened just last year and was transformed from a contemporary arts exhibition centre (admission required) to British popular culture (free admission) and now the popular football museum. In addition, Manchester’s two aging buildings are seeking regeneration–Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse  will commission and co-produce theatre, contemporary art, exhibitions and films. In 2014, they will open a venue at a site not far from the centre. The transformation tells the phenomenon that the art needs to be accepted to benefits the communities and the states, when it is used in policy planning. Of course, from an artist’s perspective, art for art’s sake, leaving its utilitarian needs out is a more common belief. And I can totally agree with the artists, since I was one before. But seeing the story from a different angel is also important. I now get to critically think about the purpose of doing arts–creating, distributing, sharing and even gaining monetary benefits from it.twelfth annual conference focused on the theatre’s sustainability with speakers from the industry to share ‘sustainable development’ strategies. The main focus of the theatre I believe, is the cultural and social narrative and stories told by the theatres. ‘Theatres have the social role in fostering a sense of inclusion, sustaining communities and improving people’s well-being’, stated from Mhora, the director of  TTT. Community and social responsibility are two words that have appeared so many times in the organisation’s documents. While the relationship between theatres and their communities are the base for running the theatre, the environmental sustainability was also approached and taken into consideration.

Ok, I don’t want my blog to sound too academic… As I was doing more research on the topic of Manchester’s regeneration plan, I found a piece of fabulous news! The Manchester Art Galley is really serving the community by renting out the space even for wedding! Haha! How community-oriented and cheerful the gallery can be!



Even though I am writing this post 2 days after I’ve got the internship offer, I am still very excited at this moment.

Thank you my advisor in internship course, Rhys. I seriously couldn’t have got to this stage without you. You taught me the STAR. And I think it really helps me shine!

He examined my cover letter and taught me how to address my weakness but at the same time put it in a positive way. ‘I am a motivated learner and excited to learn less familiar techniques’, things like this! It’s brilliant, isn’t it? Same applies when I am in an interview. It’s great to acknowledge what shortcoming I may have. This is learnt from my previous interview experience. ‘Talk about things that didn’t go as well as you expected’ this sort of question.

Protecting theatres, protecting the cultural heritage, without being commercially successful is the goal of Theatres Trust. I’ve mentioned previously that I’d love to work in urban regeneration which focuses on culture-led initiatives. This organisation provides advice for theatres who plan to refurbish or take a major capital project. It is true that after the recession, many (well, almost, except the very a few commercially popular ones) theatres are suffering from lack of support financially and other aspects. The Theatres Trust aims to give them the best solution to take care of the theatres.

When I was being interviewed, there were questions which I actually was so not prepared. The managers asked me my opinion on the architecture of the most recent theatre I’ve been to. I am currently interning at Iris Theatre, St. Paul Church. But I had no clue about the architecture… Luckily, while I was at the box office collecting tickets the other day, one old gentleman was telling me the church has been there for three hundreds something more year. And I commented on the acoustic effect of the church which I think it’s perfect for musical performances but difficult for a play to deliver speech. Lines can’t be heard clearly. So that’s my very shallow response. Another question is about capital project. All I know is because of the huge amount of money, any organisation or related government sector should play as cautious as possible.

They said I’ve expressed my motivation and have initiatives. I think that’s because there are so many old cultural buildings in my country that urgently need a sound scheme to either regenerate it or tear it for safety concern. The most important thing I think the state should keep in mind is community mobilisation and institutional support, rather than more state-led flagship buildings. I hope to see more small theatres, promoting and providing places for young artists to develop their passion in arts. As a former composer in music, I’ve always aspired to help artists to find potential fields to develop their career.

The job starts in three days. I am so excited but definitely worried if I am capable of dealing with the task and the dissertation. Finger crossed!

Try STAR, if you haven’t come across this!