Please describe your typical day.
Broadly speaking I am here to support our Press, Marketing, Digital and Periodicals teams. My main focus is Access.
Access is a massive, complicated and subtle matter for the Globe, mainly due to the unique nature of our space. It is also highly responsive, so from day to day I find that I am working towards improving our practice for individuals who have personal access requirements. Anyone who is D/deaf or deafened, has visual impairment, an ambulant disability, a learning disability or any other special requirements who wants to work here, watch a play, visit the exhibition, take a workshop or attend a lecture will come under my purview.
At the moment, for example, a lot of my time is taken into making the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse as accessible as possible whilst ensuring that the historic accuracy of the project is not undermined. Every other Wednesday I order the stationery.
If you would like further information on forthcoming Accessible productions and events please scroll to the bottom of the page.
How did you end up where you are today?
My local comprehensive, in Essex, had a formidable and inspirational English department, so it all started there.
As fortune would have it, I won the World Championships of Irish Dancing at the age of 16, so after my BA (English Lit. Durham), I was able to join the touring production of Riverdance. I thereafter was lucky enough to get a position as a stage door keeper at the Globe. To cut a long story short (‘too late’, they cry), I have worked as a receptionist and guide here whilst taking my MA (English Lit. KCL). Two years ago I took up the mantel of Communications Assistant and that’s how I ended up here. Ta Daaaa!
Tell us something that it would surprise people to know about your role.
I look after four email accounts. That’s a lot of inboxes; am I right or am I right?
Any highlights in your Globe career so far?
Possibly being interviewed on the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes about, surprisingly, cakes (and Elizabethan playhouses and that sort of thing).
What do you enjoy most about working at the Globe?
This will sound odd, but definitely the listening. I’m notoriously loquacious, and often am found talking to myself simply because I have run out of people to talk at. However, I must admit that it is a privilege to listen to the breadth of human experience and thought that passes through. It may be that I am listening to the scholarship of Stanley Wells or Martin White, the vibrant opinions of drama teachers from across the world; the deft erudition of actors or the engaging explanations about the importance of language from a visually impaired patron. These voices are all part of the Globe, and I have worked in no other theatre with such polyphony to enjoy: yet sometimes, of course, it’s the silence of the empty theatre first thing in the morning I like listening to the most.
If someone wanted to get into a role like yours, what advice would you give them? Are there any resources you would recommend?
If you want to focus on Access; first and foremost, familiarise yourself with the Equality Act 2010 and its subsequent amendments. Access officers in venues need to understand the legal requirements placed on their venues. If going for an interview for an Access role there is a good chance you will be asked to demonstrate some knowledge of the act. Volunteering in audience development (with groups such as SHAPE) will help people know if it’s a career they wish to pursue.
Lastly, broaden your theatre-going habits: attend a disabled led performance, watch a play in sign language, go to an audio-described play and listen to the description. I have found that the range of ways performers make plays accessible to themselves and their audiences is a potent instigator of imaginative problem solving.
What do you strive to achieve in this role?
Free and open discourse: Access at Shakespeare’s Globe is a wildly different matter than it is for other houses. As such, it is really important to me that patrons and staff can talk to me honestly and frankly about their needs and their expectations. I rely heavily on audience members telling me about their experiences here to understand what we do well and where we can improve. Likewise, I hope that audiences listen when I explain that sometimes I am absolutely powerless against rain, helicopters and the relative hardness of oak.
Just before you go, which is your favourite play by Shakespeare and why?
The Tempest. As a child I was forever drawing maps of fantastical islands with castles, caves, rivers and mountains so I guess it speaks to that part of my makeup. For me it’s a play about facing defeat and retreating to master one’s own mind before returning to the world just a little bit wiser. Also magic is cool.
The Tempest 16 June
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 31 August
- Touch Tours:
Gabriel 18 August
Macbeth 22 September
The Tempest 26 May
Macbeth 28 July
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 6 July