Stage Manager Jules Richardson On Working Four Shows Every DayDate: 7 August 2010
I am sitting on a train from London to Bristol, on my way to a preview of one of the shows I am working on at the festival – Lockerbie: Unfinished Business written by and starring the wonderfully talented David Benson. It’s been a real week for Lockerbie: Unfinished Business, David and I going through the show and all its technical aspects in meticulous detail – script changes, amending projections, sound cues, lighting – and I have now got first-hand experience of making a bomb.
This will be my 5th Edinburgh Festival and I am waiting for the madness to ensue with a mixture of great enthusiasm and slight nervousness. I am lucky enough to be a fan of all the shows I am working on this year. Actually I have never not been a fan of my shows, because I fall in love with every show I work on, but this time I was very pleased when I heard the line-up of my days at the festival.
Lockerbie: Unfinished Business with David Benson, who I worked with on Dirty White Boy in London and have the greatest admiration for as an incredibly talented actor and a wonderfully warm and lovely human being. Reel to Real, for which I went all the way to China to learn and tech, and now I am lucky enough to work on it at the revered Pleasance Grand. Nina Conti whose show, Talk to the Hand is one of the funniest things I have ever seen and it’s an honour to work with such an extremely talented lady. At the end of every day, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, which not only has a highly talented and lovely cast but is different every single day, nothing quite like it to keep me on my toes as I operate the follow-spot.
So, four great shows every day. Usually people’s reaction when I tell them I’m working on four shows a day is either “How?” or “Why?” But for me it feels normal and is the way I and most stage managers at the festival have always worked. In fact, I would say four is the minimum people work on. If you’re at the festival you might as well be working hard, getting experience and making contacts. Anyway, at the world’s biggest arts festival, what could I possibly find to do if I wasn’t working all day?
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