Michael Horne, our Marketing Chair, caught up with our newly appointed Vice Chair of Governors, Kathryn Rose, to find out a bit more about her links to the Mill and plans for the future… We hope that this will be the first of many interviews with people at The Mill so that everyone can get to know each other, and what we all bring to our theatre.
First of all, congratulations on the appointment! How long have you been part of The Mill?
I first remember coming to The Mill when I was 6 years old to see The Sound of Music – and I haven’t really left! My parents and sister have all performed here and I refer to the building as my second home. I watched many shows here growing up but didn’t get the chance to do a full production (due to university and career commitments) until 2015 when I was part of the Parade company. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to be cast in Cloud, Spamalot and Wait Until Dark as well as several concerts and fundraising events, plus I worked as Production Manager on The Crucible and Daisy Pulls It Off.
I’m also part of the Marketing Team and until last year was on the Production Committee too. If I’m not involved onstage for a production, you’ll probably find me behind the bar at least one night of the run as well. Maybe that’s why it’s a second home…I’m here an awful lot!!
Why did you stand for Vice Chair?
The Mill is a very important part of my life and I’m passionate about its survival. I wanted to help with that survival and add my own stamp to what is already an incredible building and society. It’s thanks to The Mill that I have formed some strong friendships over the years, along with some fabulous memories, and I want to ensure that future generations can have that chance as well. Being part of somewhere like The Mill isn’t just about putting on good quality shows; it’s much bigger than that. I’ve also got a huge amount of respect for our Chairman, Douglas Pope, and being able to work and learn from him is a real honour – the Trust are so fortunate to have him at the helm!
I’ve been on the Board of Governors for about a year and through conversations with our Chairman and other Governors, I felt I had a good understanding of what would be involved by undertaking this role. Although the Trust hasn’t had a Vice-Chair for many years, it was thought that there was an opportunity to re-introduce the role to allow for the duties of the Chairman to be distributed and ‘relieve some pressure’ – despite being a voluntary role, there is always much to be done and sharing the load seemed like a good option! I’ve also got the ‘spare time’ to devote to delivering what needs to be done and rather than sit and relax, I’d rather be involved with projects…as any of my friends and family will tell you!
What can you bring to your role as Vice Chair?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked in the theatre industry professionally, spending 11 years as a Stage Manager, Producer, Front of House Manager and everything in between at venues in London’s West End, on UK Tours and at regional theatres working on a range of productions from plays to grand opera including world premiers and revivals. I’ve therefore been able to experience pretty much every role within theatre and understand the demands, constraints and passion needed for a successful venue – from scheduling to promoting, fundraising to recruitment, communication to performance, logistics to designing and sourcing to making. Having worked on low budget plays to multi-million pound musicals, I’ve learnt many tricks and tips along the way to make the most of everything to create quality productions without, necessarily, the quality budgets. Having the knowledge of every aspect of creating productions and programming gives me a wider viewpoint on how to develop what we have and how to continue being one of the best community theatres in the area. In order for any venue to continue, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and my experience allows me to be able to do that and see things from a variety of angles.
I’ve also established many strong connections with industry professionals who are keen to work with community theatres and share their skills and knowledge. Many professionals started in community theatre and they have a soft spot for these types of venues which is wonderful to see. As soon as we can get workshops and masterclasses programmed in safely, there will be something for everyone to enjoy!
I’m confident that my experience will be able to bring new members, ideas and projects to the venue to see us into our next chapter – I may not be here for the 100th Anniversary but I’d like to know the Trust and society will be still providing as much joy, memories and friendships as I’ve been lucky enough to experience here.
Any ideas and plans for the future?
Oh, there’s loads…! My main focus is working with a team on providing more opportunities for our youth members on every discipline of theatre. We’re still in the planning stages but we’re hopefully launching a project later in 2021 which will give anyone between 7 and 18 the chance to learn more about theatre as a whole – through performance, technical, design and promotion which will not only give them the skills to create productions at The Mill but also to give them life skills that will benefit them beyond their time with us. The idea is to encourage young people to discover an enjoyment in the arts – whether or not they’ve tried it before! There will also be plenty for adults to enjoy. Watch this space!
Thanks for your time, Kathryn.