My Belgrade Unplugged with Commercial Director David Jane
1. How are you involved in Belgrade Theatre Unplugged?
I’m the administrative producer for Unplugged. I find and book the venues, sort out licenses for them, manage the budget, co-ordinate the operational logistics, manage the staff and drive the minibus!
2. Describe a typical day ‘on the road’?
Having collected the cast from the Theatre, we’ll go out in convoy with the crew van to the venue. On arrival, I talk through the event with the venue manager to make sure they are happy with everything that has been agreed and then help the crew set up. As audiences arrive, I welcome them in and then give clearance to our Stage Manager for the show to start. After the performance, I’ll help strike what we’ve taken, make sure the venue manager is happy with how we have left their venue and then drive everyone back to the Theatre. My last jobs are then to write up a show report which provides the wider staff team at the Belgrade with feedback and information on the performance, and update the budget with anything we’ve spent that day.
3. Which has been your favourite venue visited as part of Unplugged these past three years?
I think my favourite has to be Lunt Roman Fort. We performed there on a beautiful Saturday evening last July, using their gyrus as our amphitheatre. Everything was perfect, the weather, the audience, the performance, it was a fantastic last performance in the run for 2014.
4. Which BT Unplugged Venue are you most looking forward to visiting this year?
I’m really looking forward to going to Fargo Village in Coventry on Friday 26 June. I love what they achieved at Fargo with attracting so many independent retailers and cafes, and I think the performance will fit in really well there. I’m also looking forward to going to The Merchants Inn in Rugby on 24 June. Performing in pub whilst people enjoy a pint seems like a really natural place for unplugged to go…and it helps that it’s my local!
5. Which shows are you most looking forward to previewing this year?
I’m really looking forward to seeing Sisterhood. I’ve never seem the production before and don’t know a great deal about it, so it will be a chance for me to learn more about it too!
6. What is your favourite thing about Belgrade Unplugged?
I love talking to audiences after the performance and hearing how enthused they are to come and see productions that they might not have otherwise taken a risk on.
7. What is the biggest challenge of moving between so many different types and size of venue?
Coupled with the fact that there are 8 different venues, many of them have both indoor and outdoor performance areas, depending on the weather, so we really don’t know exactly where we’ll be performing until we arrive. We could have an enormous field to perform in, or be squeezed into a busy café at lunchtime, and the cast have to adapt very quickly to their surroundings. Fortunately we’ve always been really lucky with our actors being incredibly flexible and accommodating to the strange places that we ask them to perform. This year we’re welcoming back Miriam Edwards who came out on the first Unplugged we did in 2013, so she’s used to the experience (and it can’t have been that bad if she’s come back!)
8. What do you hope audiences will gain from coming to see an ‘Unplugged’ performance?
Having seen a short excerpt of a production, hopefully audiences will feel better placed to be able to decide that they want to come and try out a production that they may not have heard about before. Coming to watch something you’ve never heard of before is an investment of both time and money, something which few of us have too much of. So by giving people a chance to get a flavour for our work, hopefully they’ll have the reassurance that they will enjoy the full production
9. Sum up ‘Unplugged’ in three words.
Insightful, playful and exciting!
More information about all events can be found at www.belgrade.co.uk/unplugged or by calling the Belgrade Box Office on 024 7655 3055. All events are free to attend, although Kenilworth Castle charge an entrance fee to their property as standard.