13 September 2016 • Gate Theatre
Interview with: Jo Royce
Tell us a bit about your job at the Gate?
I make sure that the Gate Theatre is run as a robust and effective company: I am responsible for creating and delivering the Gate’s business plan, which outlines the Gate’s ambitions from an artistic and operational perspective and how we make these a reality, whilst ensuring that we are a financially stable organisation and a well-run charity.
A big part of my job is to look after the many relationships of the Gate: from the brilliant staff team, where I make sure that the Gate it is a happy and supportive place to work through to our many external relationships, which include the Arts Council, local council, our funders and supporters and our landlords at the pub. With Chris, I also manage the relationship with our fantastic Board, who are there to provide governance, guidance and support.
In an alternate universe, what would your ideal job be?
I often wonder if there is an alternate universe where I became a Doctor. I considered going down the medicine route at the time I decided which A-Levels to take but couldn’t make the choice between science and arts subjects (it all felt so final at the time). I went down the theatre route (and I don’t regret it one bit!) but in another lifetime, I like to think I became a Doctor working for Medicine Sans Frontieres or the Red Cross or something...
What is the best show you have ever seen?
That is really hard - I don’t know if I can choose one! Can I have a top 10?!
If you were to twist my arm, I’d have to say Dirty Wonderland by Frantic Assembly. It was a site-specific piece in an old Art Deco hotel as part of Brighton Festival about 10 years ago and it was absolutely mind blowing. I’ve always been a huge Frantic Assembly fan but this was by far and away my favourite. The audience followed a young couple embark on a weekend at the hotel, before you spiralled in to the world of the ghosts and history of the hotel: it was exhilarating, terrifying and moving and no other experience has rivalled it since for me.
If you could swap places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
Can I be the Jo in the alternate universe that became a Doctor? I’m intrigued to see how that worked out!
Why does theatre matter?
A good play can help you to escape reality or to see the world from a different perspective. You are transported to another world, where you hear and experience other stories and other viewpoints. As part of an audience, you are inspired or challenged by sharing someone some else’s experience, whether that’s the character on stage or the person sitting next to you.
There is also something magical and exciting about it being live: anything can happen. There is a thrill that you don’t get in the cinema or watching the television and that’s what makes theatre and live performance so special.