Meet the... Theatre Stage Manager

PUBLISHED: 13:33 18 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 20 February 2013

Meet the… Theatre Stage Manager

Meet the… Theatre Stage Manager

Chris Radford, former Playhouse Theatre press officer, has swapped his pen and notepad for a script and props and has returned as a freelance stage manager

Why did you decide to become a stage manager?
It is one of the most diverse jobs in the entertainment business, and every production and every venue presents challenges which need to be overcome. Also, the sound of an appreciative audience applauding at the end of a show, and knowing you played your part in that, is a very rewarding feeling and one that you never tire of.

Can you describe your role?
Generally speaking the stage manager is there to ensure the production needs are met on both time and budget. The role involves talking to all departments involved in the production to make sure the process from rehearsals to the final curtain runs as smoothly as possible for everyone involved.

The Playhouse is a vital part of the entertainment provision, not just in Weston but Somerset as a whole

What was it like training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School?
I feel incredibly honoured. There were only four places on my course so there was a lot of competition to earn a place, but it is the best training in the world, as can be witnessed by the fact that it has a 100% success rate in stage management students getting jobs in the industry within six months of completing their course.
What memorable moments do you have from your time as media and PR officer at The Playhouse Theatre in Weston-super-Mare?
I remember one particular shoot we did to promote a Beach Boys tribute act took place at Marine Lake in Weston, where the performers were all dressed in surf wear, with their surf boards, amid a snow storm. I also got to work with Roy Hudd, Jimmy Perry and Norman Wisdom and have been able to interview some amazing people such as Bruce Welch (The Shadows), Helen Shapiro, Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), Jack Douglas (Carry On films), Terry Waite and
Bob Geldof.

What makes the Playhouse special and what does the theatre mean to the people of Weston-super-Mare?
For me, The Playhouse will always be a really special theatre. I performed there as a child, which ignited my passion for theatre, and I have so many fond memories and good friends there. However, it also has a fabulous reputation on the theatre circuit as a well-equipped and hospitable theatre. The Playhouse is a vital part of the entertainment provision, not just in Weston but Somerset as a whole. It provides a really diverse and entertaining programme all year round, and long may that continue.

Where will your new role take you?
I am still based in Weston-super-Mare, but being a freelance stage manager means that work takes me away quite regularly but I always look forward to returning to Somerset. In fact, Somerset has a great tradition of providing top-quality actors and stage managers. And it is always a pleasure to return to The Playhouse, which in the last ten years has been a second home for me. The staff and the theatre friends have been so supportive since I announced my decision to pursue my stage management dreams. They are my theatre family.

For the latest show details at The Playhouse visit or call the box office on 01934 645544

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