Chiswick Playhouse Recharged: An interview with producer Wayne Glover-Stuart
Chiswick Playhouse has been given the green light for their latest festival of shows, Recharged. We spoke to the newly appointed producer, Wayne Glover-Stuart, who talked us through some of his favourite moments and the challenges in putting together Chiswick Playhouse Recharged during a pandemic.
First and foremost, congratulations on getting the go-ahead for this festival! Can you take our readers through what you felt when receiving this great piece of news, and the measures that will be implemented to ensure safety for all performers and visitors?
Recharged was born from a real team effort, and from the initial idea right through to sign off we were all heavily involved, so getting the final sign-off was even more special. I was excited for sure. We are all raring to go and cannot wait to welcome audiences back to Chiswick Playhouse, but we are aware of the importance of keeping everyone safe, therefore we will be following all government guidelines and the specific Performing Safely guidance. One-way systems, face coverings, socially distanced seats and deep cleaning after every performance all form part of the process to keep both audiences and performers safe.
What was the process for selecting this series of plays?
We wanted to explore titles that were new to both us and our audiences. Having the opportunity to present plays like we are is very rare: to strip everything back and just have the text is truly special. All of these plays have such depth and warmth. All four of the plays tell a very different story. Variety was key here.
We’ve all missed the magical moments of live theatre. What has been your favourite element in putting together this varied festival?
The opportunity to do something different that encapsulates various art forms has been special. Exploring titles and productions that we felt our audiences would respond to and love was the highlight for me. There’s something very magical about having the opportunity to explore creatively and being able to offer such a variety in a relatively short amount of time.
Which production are you looking forward to the most?
That’s a hard one! All of these productions are incredible. I am very excited to see Another Life – a brand new song cycle with recent graduates with music by some of the greatest musical theatre composers, how could you not be excited? Also all of the play reads! And Judi Love. It’s too hard to pick!
You trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and were a Creative Producer at the BBC, amongst other roles. What do you feel you bring to your new position as producer at Chiswick Playhouse?
Chiswick Playhouse is a welcoming and gorgeous theatre, nested in a magnificent community. I would say I bring creative thinking, honesty, drive and ambition plus the ability to be logistical and approachable. Being a producer is about forward thinking and navigating various landscapes. I am lucky that I am adding my skills to a team that already exhibits these qualities.
What drew you towards a career as a theatre producer?
Even as an actor and writer I always had a huge interest in producing and what that entailed, especially in theatre. The role of theatre producer is so varied; it’s challenging and often you will feel like an octopus juggling everything possible. That was the appeal for me. I was also drawn to the idea of no two days being the same. The ability to be creative and work with some of the best creatives in our industry across the board is so exciting. There is no denying being a producer is challenging, but it also very rewarding. Also, I’m quite good at saying no – that always helps.
Which production do you think audiences will most gravitate towards and why?
I think there is something in there for all theatre-goers and we tried to incorporate a variety of art forms to appeal to all audiences. I think the opportunity to book An Evening With will be a natural gravitation as this isn’t something we can always do. How often can you sit in a theatre and get a real insight into the life and career of Judi Love or Phyllis Logan? I do know whatever you book for you are guaranteed to love.
What were the most challenging aspects of putting together the festival and how did you overcome them?
Working out availability and scheduling is always a challenge. Add in reduced capacity and Covid safety measures, which are crucial to our reopening, then the challenge steps up a gear. However, we have the most amazing team at Chiswick Playhouse and if I couldn’t find a solution to a challenge I guarantee someone else could.
Lockdown has been a difficult time for all of us. What kept you busy and motivated?
Lockdown has been a minefield for all of us – there is not a single person who has not been affected by this. I am lucky that not only do I have great colleagues, I also have the most phenomenal support network in my husband and friends. Motivation came from knowing it will end, even when it felt like it wouldn’t, and even though we’re not there yet, there is hope in knowing it will come. Some days are tougher than others, but be kind to yourself. Plus, I have two miniature dachshunds. Dogs always help!
What do you hope audiences take away from the festival and what are your plans for the future at Chiswick Playhouse?
I hope audiences take away joy and happiness from being back in a theatre and witnessing the incredible work of these amazing artists. There is something special in live theatre and we are all excited to see this return to our stage. The future for Chiswick Playhouse is very exciting, we have been working on our summer and autumn seasons plus some very exciting opportunities and collaborations. Watch this space!
For further information about Recharged and future events visit Chiswick Playhouse’s website here.