Spotlight On: Ioan Wynne
Today we have a blog post from our Technical Manager Ioan Wynne! Ioan has worked at Theatr Brycheiniog for 6 ½ Years. Over the years Ioan has seen it all, here is an amazing insight into what it’s really like working in a theatre.
Can you tell us about your background, where did you develop an interest in theatre?
I studied drama in school for O level and took part in numerous school productions, including the 1st ever performance of Fiddler on the roof in Welsh. My next-door neighbour was a former technical stage manager at a theatre, so I was lucky enough to go up to see what his work entailed.
I was lucky to be part of the Clwyd Youth Theatre and went onto a Btec OND in performing arts where we studied all aspects of live theatre. I was lucky enough then to be given a place at Central School of Speech and Drama in London to study Stage Management. I was lucky enough to work on a few West End shows whilst studying and given the chance in 1991 to stage manage a performance of Bernstein’s Mass for the National Eisteddfod, an experience I will never forget.
In 1992 I toured Wales with a theatre company, my 1st full time contract as a stage manager. I then became technician at Coliseum Theatre in Aberdare, a post I held for 7 years.
In 2000 I became the 1st paid Technical Manager at The Borough Theatre in Abergavenny. I was in post there for over 14 years before moving to Redhouse Cymru in Merthyr Tydfil.
In 2015 I became Technical Manager at Theatr Brycheiniog.
Have you always wanted to be a theatre technician?
Funnily enough I studied acting for my O Level drama and it wasn’t until I studied A Level drama where I developed a major interest in technical theatre. I was given a chance to light 3 short drama pieces for O Level students and thoroughly enjoyed it. On the Performing arts course my interest grew further and chose the technical route more than the performing route.
Can you explain your job to us?
My job involves planning, setting up and running of all performances here at Theatre Brycheiniog with the team of technicians here. I contact all visiting companies to get there lighting, sound and staging requirements and ensure we can meet their needs and set up prior to their arrival. I am also the lead on matters relating to Health and Safety, so I write the theatres risk assessments, ensure all testing is carried out as and when that is necessary and any maintenance that needs to be undertaken. With the pandemic currently in place my role here at the theatre is to ensure the theatre is COVID safe and complies with the Welsh Governments legislation and guidelines.
Over the years can you tell us roughly how many performances you have be a part of?
This is such a hard question. I must have been involved in over 10,000+ performances over the years working in theatre. They have varied from one-night professional/amateur performances, week run amateur productions and week runs of professional productions.
Do you have a top 5 performances/ Projects?
1. Lighting designer and stage manager for Les Misérables performed by AAODS Jnrs in 2008
2. Stage manager for Bernstein’s Mass for the National Eisteddfod in 1991
3. Head Carpenter and Flyman for Central School of Speech and drama production of Chicago in 1992
4. Technical manager for Lee Evans visit to the Borough Theatre Abergavenny in 2011
5. Technical Manager for John Challis visit to Theatr Brycheiniog in 2017
As an audience member what has been your favour show?
I have so many favourite shows but the 2 that stand out for me are Les Misérables and Under Milk Wood.
What makes working in the arts so amazing?
To work in the arts is amazing as you get to see some wonderful performances, but also after spending the whole day/week setting up a production you see the audience leaving with a smile on their face and you think to yourself that all the hard work you have put in has been worthwhile.
What’s do you LOVE being a part of the Theatr Brycheiniog team so much?
It’s the team that is here. We all have different talents and skills which during the pandemic we have put to use one way or another. There is always someone laughing, supporting or giving advice. There are times where it can be stressful or chaotic but as one team, we get through it together.
What show are you most excited about when the theatre is open again?
It must be putting on live theatre again. Brecon, Powys and all of Wales has missed live theatre and the sooner we can start welcoming audiences back into the building to see a show the better it will be for everyone.
As a theatre we were very lucky to put on with Theatr NaNog a performance of WE Need Bees outdoors as part of the Welsh Governments test events. Seeing audience members, staff and voluntary stewards coming to see live theatre again was wonderful.
Do you have any funny stories about your time working for the theatre?
The one that stands out for me is I am not a believer in ghosts…… but when I worked at a theatre, I was told it was haunted. I didn’t believe it until one evening after finishing a production I met other staff members at the front of the stage when one turned to me and said, “I thought you switched the lights off up there in the control room?” I looked up and I saw a figure look down at the lighting desk looked up at the stage, down again at the lighting desk and then the light next to the figure switched off! I couldn’t explain it as we as 3 members of staff were the only people in the building the control room was locked but to that day to this, I saw a ghost of the old musical director of the theatre.
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