Rich Mason - Q&A
Hall For Cornwall, Truro
Ross Lowe | Thursday, May 28, 2015
Downstage Centre meets Rich Mason, programming associate at Truro's Hall For Cornwall as they gear up to host their next production: The King's Speech.
What's your role at Hall For Cornwall, and how long have you been there?
I joined Hall for Cornwall in July last year. My job title is Programming Associate. We might have a piece of drama or opera one night, and then the very next day we’ve got George EzraWhat that means basically is that I have responsibility over which shows that come to perform at the Hall. HFC is a presenting house, meaning the shows on our stage aren’t produced by us.
Every show we present (except our Christmas show) is a touring production, and it’s my job to talk to the producers of these shows, decide which ones are right for HFC, schedule them and negotiate a deal.
The one exception to this is the HFC Christmas show. Very excitingly, from this year it will be 100% produced in-house by HFC: the first time in the history of the organisation we have done so. Being Associate Producer responsible for delivery of the Christmas show is the other side of my job. Strange as it sounds talking to you in Spring, preparations are in full swing!
What has/have been your most enjoyable experiences there so far? Any particular show/s? What do you enjoy most about your job?
The most interesting thing is the huge variety of work we programme. From my point of view that means conversations with all sorts of people and a massive juggling acts trying to get it all to fit together. So we might have a piece of drama or opera one night, and then the very next day we’ve got a stand-up or a big name gig like George Ezra, and it’s a whole different crowd of people through our doors. That’s a really exciting part of what we do here.
One of the most special shows I’ve seen was Institute by the physical theatre company Gecko. Really powerful, innovative work and it was fantastic to have such a fantastic company making their first visit to Cornwall.
What's your earliest memory of going to the theatre?
I grew up in the West Midlands and remember going to Malvern Theatres from when I was very young. We went to all kinds of shows there – probably my very earliest memory is a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I got a lasting impression of the importance of regional theatres - often they’re the one place that thousands of people rely on for access to great performing art.
I started my career in London working for a touring theatre company, and it was especially satisfying to be touring back to Malvern Theatres with shows I had worked on myself.
Has theatre always been a passion of yours?
Yes, I’ve always loved going to the theatre. I don’t think I’ll get bored of it – in fact I find the more shows I see, the more I get out of it. I don’t think there’s anything that can replace the power of actually being in the room live with what you’re watching.
I didn’t think of actually getting involved until I was at university when some friends of mine were doing student drama and I offered to produce their show. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! But I got a kick out of it, started to learn, and eventually decided to have a crack at it for a career.
What upcoming shows are you excited to have coming to the Hall this season?
It’s a great summer for drama at HFC, and I’m especially looking forward to The Kings Speech at the start of June. It’s a great story and a superb production. Last year I saw the amazing poppies display at the Tower of London, so I’m really excited that co-creator Tom Piper MBE has designed the set and costumes for this show – I’m sure it’ll look amazing.
Find out more about Hall For Cornwall and their upcoming events by clicking here.
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