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Production Manager Paul Bull Wears Different Hats

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Three months ago it seemed so simple.

Last year I was Sound Designer on David Benson’s Lockerbie: Unfinished Business produced by Festival Highlights. It was performed at the Gilded Balloon where I have provided sound technical support on behalf of the hire company, Orbital Sound, for the previous nine years.

This year, I offered my services to the Highlights team to help co-ordinate the technical side of their productions. It would be all about the planning – and I already knew many of the key players from three of the venues.

I’m now at the centre of twelve productions. And it does help that seven of this year’s productions are at the Gilded Balloon - my summer residence since 2001. So, for the first time since my Edinburgh debut in 1996, I’ve drilled holes and got paint on my hands. And I’ve spent far too long in Homebase, especially at 8am in the morning when they open.

I ponder why it’s harder to hang an illuminated sign for Showstopper: The Improvised Musical than it was to get the giant 5.5m high, 12m wide curved back wall on and off-stage for Oedipus (a great shout-out for riggers Craig and Callum at the Pleasance for that one).

However, the long hours have been worth it. And now all shows are up and running, do I have time to put my feet up?

No, as well as keeping all 11 shows in tip-top condition – today’s task will be sourcing new Velcro for the tartan surround to Hardeep’s kitchen tables – as well as keeping the sound systems running at Gilded Balloon, and a chance to catch up on friends old and new and seeing shows from my ever expanding list of those I want to see.

And who knows what next year will bring? All I know is that whatever it is, I’ll be ready for the challenge.


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