Since stepping out of the role of Administrator, I have returned to The Play House in a freelance capacity to work on a number of projects as teacher/actor. Working on Gold Dust, however, was my first experience as Tour Leader. My time as Administrator set me up for certain elements of the role of tour leading teacher/actor, so in many ways I was prepared, and knew what to expect. This ranged from having a good understanding of the company’s ethos and approaches to work, to liaising with schools, and already having developed relationships with long standing clients.
As Administrator I got the opportunity to be involved in all of the projects run by The Play House, handing over to delivery teams, or dipping in and out as and when my administrative/organisational support was needed. In a way, I had an umbrella view of all of the projects that took place. But as Tour Leader, my involvement was intensive and on one project alone. Jointly with the delivery team, we were responsible for seeing the project through from beginning, middle, right through to the end. As Tour Leader, having direct experience of the programme in progress, day after day, week after week, was exhilarating. Hearing amazing comments from the children about their responses to the programme (“That was the best school trip ever!”) was something I rarely experienced first hand as Administrator.
My role as Tour Leader enabled me to give full rein to two very different interests of mine; aspects of project management allowed me to utilise organisational skills, whilst devising and delivery drew on creative and performance skills.
When I think about the differences in the two roles, I can’t help thinking about the similarities, and it strikes me that some things never change. For instance, whether working as a permanent employee in the office, or as a returning freelancer, I still found myself drinking copious amounts of tea! And then there’s my obsessive relationship with the stationery cupboard. I’m one of those people who loves a nice new notepad or a brand new block of blue tac. I just love books and files and folders, and as Administrator I loved being responsible for stationery shopping. Then, as ‘Miss Nancy’ in Gold Dust, I found myself situated in the office of a jewellery factory, playing a woman who prides herself on running a ‘tight ship’, surrounded by boxes and books, sorting orders, filing invoices, and keeping and organising ledgers. Talk about emotional memory…maybe it was my perfect acting role.