A Day in the Life: Gary Stevens

A Day in the Life: Gary Stevens, Operations Director and General Manager, The Old Rep Theatre

Launch Of The Snow Queen- Taken by Emma Ferguson.jpg
Gary Stevens at the launch Of The Snow Queen, The Old Rep's Christmas show 2019 (photo: Emma Ferguson)

Gary Stevens takes us through a day in his life as Gary Stevens, Operations Director and General Manager, The Old Rep Theatre.

Date Published: 03 October 2019

Each day at The Old Rep is never the same!

It can anything from staff issues to leaks in the building, and during performances there are always a lot of things to consider, especially when there could be up to 100 students backstage. Here atThe Old Rep, we have a great sense of autonomy and diversity when it comes to performances – it’s astonishing. It can go from a school production one week to a celebrity appearance the next, it’s a great mix of talent.

I first started out working in cinema, where I was a projectionist. Then I went into management, but as time went on, I felt like I was more tied to a desk than I was dealing with the public, so I decided to change direction and first moved into theatre 15 years ago. What I like about theatre was that, whereas films could be repeated anywhere, each live show was unique.

I love the period between the audience coming in and the curtain going up, especially on opening night because people don’t know what to expect. The anticipation is so exciting. As a manager, there are so many things to constantly be thinking about, but when you consider the experience, you’re giving those people, especially at the end when you see their reactions, that’s the beauty of working in theatre. For me, it’s showmanship, and I love working in an industry that has the power to make people happy.

Brain Blessed with The Old Rep team - Gary Stevens & Emma Ferguson – taken by Steph Crilly.jpg
Brain Blessed with The Old Rep team

The Old Rep has formed a partnership with Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) back in 2014. It’s a great platform for the students. It gives them the opportunity to move away from a school environment into a proper theatre and perform to an audience, whilst also learning the technical skills used in all Theatres. Alongside this we hire the space out to organisations and then we fill it with commercial shows as much as we can. But for us, the biggest BOA production every year is the Christmas production where we mix professional actors with a huge ensemble cast from the academy. Now in its fifth year, The Snow Queen will be coming this November and preparations are well and truly underway. Before we know it, it will be show week!

We’re part of a great community here, and we’re also in a prime location with great public transport links. Customers can get straight off the train at New Street Station and be on our doorstep within minutes. It feels like we’re part of an exciting entertainment hub, because you’ve also got Birmingham Hippodrome and the Electric Cinema, all iconic buildings and all our venues feed into the other businesses. It’s nice to have the hive of activity that Southside has. 

*This article first appeared in UK Theatre's Autumn's 2019 Training and Events Prospectus in September 2019. 

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