Continuing our series of blogposts meeting our staff team, today is the turn of the man behind The Marlowe Studio, Adam Wood.
How long have you been working at The Marlowe Theatre?
I started with The Marlowe in November 2010, wearing a fetching red gilet and green felt cap whilst ushering Peter Pan at The Marlowe Arena. When panto was over I transitioned to the Box Office, which was then based at Sun Street. I opened the new building in October 2011 as part of the Box Office team, got the job as Deputy Front of House Manager in September 2012, and took on the new post of Studio Manager in January 2014.
What does a typical day for you look like?
It’s probably a healthy balance of looking for new shows to come to The Marlowe Studio, talking to the companies behind shows that are coming up, popping my head into The Studio to welcome the company who are performing that evening, and some meetings with colleagues from various departments on all aspects of the day-to-day business of running The Studio.
What inspired you to work in theatre?
I had a job at the theatre in my home town, Hereford, which I returned to during academic holidays whilst studying for my BA. When I graduated that led to a full-time position at a theatre in London called Riverside Studios, and then I moved to The Marlowe (see above!) when I came to Canterbury to study for my MA. I could pretend that all that was to a plan, but in truth it was more happenstance.
How did you get to where you are today?
I just kind of stuck around and made it known I was looking to do more things and different things. I count myself super-lucky that the right opportunities came up at the right times for me: not once but twice a new post was created just as I was looking to make a change of role.
What is the best part of your job?
I get to make a contribution, however small, to the arts. For all of the hard work and the hoops that need to be jumped through—everything that goes into bringing a show to the building or working towards bringing a project to fruition—at the end of it there’s that wonderful feeling of watching an audience commune with a piece of art and really benefit from it. The power of art to enrich people’s lives is absolutely sacred to me, and working in service of that is a privilege.
What would you say has been your proudest moment since working at The Marlowe?
After a lot of hard work, a lot of lessons learned, and a real journey of discovery, it was great to be in the audience when our first in-house production opened in The Marlowe Studio in October 2014. Beached was a project that genuinely stretched the boundaries of what The Marlowe does, and it provided a vital first step down a path we’re now committed to: more new work, more home-made work, a new way to contribute to the artistic ecology of Kent.
Outside of work I…
Read a lot, write a little, drink too much coffee, meditate to alleviate the effects of the coffee, run sometimes, listen to a lot of music and podcasts, and watch films and… all the normal stuff.
Favourite productions you’ve seen at The Marlowe?
– Every Brilliant Thing (Pentabus & Paines Plough), which came to us recently, is clever and funny, sad and moving, and just an outstanding piece of writing by Duncan Macmillan, and an incredible performance by Jonny Donahoe.
– Dumbstruck (Fine Chisel), was an odd ensemble piece about marine bioacoustics… amongst other things. Quick-paced and whip-smart, it’s also wildly inventive and one of those shows I wish I could go back and see again for the first time.
– Fleabag (Drywrite & Soho Theatre), the Olivier-award nominated one-woman show that our friends at Soho brought to us was one of the single best whirlwind performances that has graced the Studio stage, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s script is a drum-tight (if filthy) marvel.
And the production you’re most looking forward to?
Next season in The Studio is going to be a lot of fun: we’ve got an absurd physical-theatre love story (Crazy Glue) and a clowning show called that’s going to be an obscenely good time (Pss Pss). But probably the show I’m looking forward to most is He Had Hairy Hands by Kill The Beast: a 1970s werewolf detective mystery that has to be seen to be believed.
There are also some secret things I can’t talk about that are in the works, which are very exciting, so I guess keep an eye on the website and the Studio brochure.
Any advice for someone looking to get into theatre?
I don’t think there’s a set answer to this, and I can only really speak to my experience. But if it’s something you really love and want to be a part of, find a way to get your foot in the door—put on that gilet and the felt hat if you have to—and then stick around, do good work, and make it known that you’re interested in progressing. I think the arts in general, and perhaps theatre in particular, provide an environment that really allows for and encourages people to give what they can, in the knowledge that it won’t go unnoticed.