Backstage with Charlotte Geeves
The Grade I listed Georgian building, Bristol Old Vic, is an iconic symbol to the city. Known as a creative hub for emerging talent, they have been nurturing the UK’s next Oscar winners for decades.
Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world, with courses in acting, costume design, writing and much more, and boasts alumni such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Gene Wilder, Jeremy Irons and Olivia Coleman.
Charlotte Geeves has been Executive Director of Bristol Old Vic since 2019, having previously worked as a stage manager and company manager at the Young Vic and Shakespeare's Globe. She has worked as project manager for Alistair Spalding at Sadler's Wells and general manager for Salisbury International Arts Festival before working as festivals manager for Wildscreen in Bristol.
Read on to go #BackstageWith Charlotte and find out more about her journey into the world of theatre, how Bristol Old Vic has kept audiences engaged during lockdown and much more.
You’ve worked with some of the South’s most iconic and historic cultural institutions. Why were you drawn to a career in live events?
I didn’t really enjoy secondary school, but I loved drama (not acting mind you). I did theatre studies at A-Level and I had two brilliant drama teachers who took us to see productions by Complicite, Forced Entertainment and Cheek By Jowl. It opened my eyes to a world that I had never experienced. I completely fell in love with it and knew from then on, I wanted to work in theatre and live events.
Bristol Old Vic has been streaming such an exciting line-up of past and live performances during lockdown. Have you found this to be an effective way to keep audiences engaged while stuck at home?
It has been really important for us to continue to keep Bristol and beyond entertained, particularly during the three lockdowns. Working with a range of partners I think we have been pretty successful in engaging audiences.
Every business has had to adapt to the way they operate at the moment. Are there any changes Bristol Old Vic has made that you think you will continue post-lockdown restrictions? Or are you hoping to get back to normal as quickly as possible?
Our venture into the digital world will continue and I hope we can continue to produce more shows so as many people as possible can see them.
Have you always been a fan of the theatre? Do you have any memories of visiting the theatre as a child and being particularly moved by a performance?
Yes, I’ve always been a fan of the theatre. When I was a teenager, I saw a production of ‘The Street of Crocodiles’ by Complicite. My overriding memory is seeing someone come out of a bin that was full of water and someone walking up a wall with no visible wires. It was truly magical!
What albums or artists have you been loving at the moment?
Ben Howard’s – Collection from the Whiteout
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Seeing friends, family and colleagues and of course watching shows.
Can you name your first gig, last gig, favourite gig?
First gig – Bananarama.
Last gig – Tom Odell followed by Jo Whiley DJ set (at Henley Festival)
Favourite gig – Nile Rodgers and Chic (also at Henley Festival)
Which artist/band/performer would you like to see perform at YTL Arena Bristol (...and why?)
Orbital. It would take me back to my late 20’s when we used to go out dancing!
Finally, could you share an all-time favourite song so we can add it to our YTL Arena Backstage Pass playlist?
God is a DJ – Faithless.