Today’s Spotlight On… is with David Jell, our Deputy Technical Manager!
What does your role at the Wyvern Theatre entail?
As Deputy Technical Manager I work with Paul, our Buildings and Technical Manager, and the rest of the technical team to ensure that all the technical elements of incoming shows and events are in place, assisting both local and national touring companies to get their shows into the Wyvern and the Arts Centre on time and to a high standard. I also oversee elements of our health and safety and work with staff, contractors and visitors to ensure everything we do is safe as well as fun! Most of my time is spent at the Swindon Arts Centre, overseeing the technical side of all the shows there and maintenance of the building, but I do manage to make it down to the Wyvern every now and then, especially over SYP time!
What do you enjoy about running the technical side of SYP?
I started my own career working on SYP at the Wyvern, while I was studying at university, so it has always had a special place in my heart. I am passionate about training and supporting the next generation of theatre makers, so the thing I enjoy most is working with the young people who come in with interest and enthusiasm and keenness to learn – from the very first time we meet them to maybe 3 or 4 years on when we see them progress into further formal training or onto work in the industry. Over the 18 years I have been working on various incarnations of SYP I have seen many of our ‘project kids’ go on to work in the West End, on tours and even internationally!
What can the audience expect from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
Has anyone mentioned there is a flying car?! Before we even finally decided on doing the show we made sure that we could book Chitty herself so that we could make sure the show was as spectacular as SYP audiences have come to expect. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a loved story, film and most recently stage show – and this is the first time it has been performed on a Swindon stage, so we have plenty of colour, magic, live music, huge set pieces and surprises planned! SYP has a great following and rightly so, each year we have to push ourselves more and more to better the years before. I know this year is going to be fantastic and the usual buzz and excitement around the theatre has started even earlier than usual! Swindon’s young performers and technicians are so talented that it often amazes audiences just how high the quality (achieved in just under 2 weeks!) is. It is always exciting to see what reaction the culmination of the hard hours of rehearsal and set up get from the audiences…there really isn’t any bigger buzz!
What’s the most challenging part of this year’s SYP?
The most challenging thing is making the rest of the show compete against Chitty herself. When you know what the most expected part of the show is, you have the challenge of building the rest of the set and show around it! We have to accommodate nearly 200 people on stage so designing the set is no easy task. But we do enjoy it as a team because we don’t often get to put our own ideas into reality, rather than just putting other shows sets, lighting and sound together with them.
What would you choose from our new Showstopping Food & Drink menu?
After working at the Wyvern and Arts Centre for just over 12 years, this is one of the most varied and exciting menus we have had in the restaurant – so I want to be able to try pretty much everything! But, I think on my first visit (hopefully soon!) I will be looking to order the Lamb Koftas, Sticky Chilli Chicken and round it off with a nice Iced Banoffee (my favourite dessert!) plenty of great flavours to mix up and make my mouth water.