Spotlight On... Roger Richardson (Company Stage Manager)

Spotlight On... Roger Richardson (Company Stage Manager)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Roger Richardson was born in Whitby and currently lives in Cardiff. He has been in the theatre business for 40 years working as a Company Stage Manager. By David Huntley.

What does your job entail?

I work alongside the technical manager, we look at how the show put together and actually build the show too. We look at any repairs while the set has been on the move to different venues and working all of the technical issues out in advance with the technical manager. Once the set is all positioned and set up, I then turn my attention to the lighting, during the week we have rehearsals which I co-ordinate and make sure everything is working and looking how it should do.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Whitby and growing up at the time I did, there wasn't much in the way of arts available apart from my family. It's funny because I remember coming home to Whitby from being at university in London and the pub I would go to, the patrons would say “here comes the superstar” and sing the Jesus Christ Superstar theme to me. I would always make sure I told them that I worked backstage, so I have very fond memories of going back there.

How did you get into theatre?

When I was growing up my mother was very much involved in amateur dramatics and so I was exposed to the theatre very early as a boy actor from the age of five. I helped with backstage duties while in school and thought of doing it professionally. When the time came I decided to study in London, that was when I became much more involved in backstage duties and realised it was so much more enjoyable. It all happened so quick though that I had no money and pretty much nowhere to stay so I would sleep on people's floors and things like that. I actually made myself a key out of wire that fit the building's locks where we were studying and I would let myself back in at night and sleep in the university building when I was stuck for somewhere to sleep. It was a tough time but I was rewarded with having a really enjoyable and successful career.

What aspects of your job are the most difficult?

Being on the road constantly can be quite tiring and that is one of the toughest aspects of the job. A lot of people think that working backstage will only be a couple of hours a day but it's the total opposite. I've worked about 11 weeks straight with very little time off, in terms of the set we have to make sure it is looking its best at every venue. The set is built in a way that a lot of repairs have to take place quite often and I am the person that does that too, I even help out with the salaries of the actors and some administrative work which can be quite boring.

What do you love most about your job?

Although my job is a lot of work, I do love it. I've been working in theatre for about 40 years and  I have travelled all over the world. I've worked in the West End twice and worked with some really great people. I've seen things I would never have been able to see or even afford to go and see. I've worked in Russia, China, Australia, Canada and Lebanon twice and I have had a fantastic time while getting paid for it.

What is next for you?

The arts is a tough business to stay in and so I hope to stay in it much longer, I've worked with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company before and they've very kindly offered me the next tour which will begin in the spring. That play will be A View From the Bridge which is a brilliant play and it's Arthur Miller's centenary year, so rehearsals for that begin in London in February so I'm very much looking forward to that.  

A View from the Bridge opened at Theatre Royal, Nottingham, where it ran from 4 to 7 March 2015. It then toured to Cheltenham, Darlington, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Coventry and Edinburgh, where it concluded on 2 May.