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  • Mat Rees

People Power

The one thing that's always brought into sharp focus when you direct a play for Kelvin Players is the sheer number of people who are involved.

"It's amazing – all these people just appear and all this stuff just gets done," is the sort of comment I've heard lots of times before from new members when they experience their first Kelvin production.

And it's true. Sets get built. Props are gathered. Marketing is disseminated. Lights are hung. Soundscapes compiled. Bar stocks replenished. Tickets sold. Costumes put together. And very often this hard work goes on behind the scenes and the cast don't get to see any of it until the get in weekend.

Quite often, even the director won't see any of this either. Taking responsibility for any production means relying on a huge number of other people and having to make a certain amount of assumptions about what will get done and who will do it.

But with bigger shows you have to let people get on with it; no matter how much control you like to have, with shows the size of Earthquakes, for example, or indeed most of the other shows we've produced in the last year you can't be across everything. Some autonomy has to be given to cast and crew to make their own decisions.

Sometimes this can seem like we're taking people for granted – and in many ways, we are. We have to in order to concentrate on what we need to get done in such a short space of time.

But that's the great thing about Kelvin. We have such a wonderful array of dedicated and talented people who take on certain jobs and just get them done...with little direction needed. For a director, much of the stress and worry is removed.

Of course, occasionally some of those people will be ignored or forgotten or not recognised for doing their job. Sometimes we so take these people for granted that we forget their contribution. We can forget, for example, that tickets don't sell themselves – we have a team of people who market and advertise the show and sell the tickets.

It's when those people aren't there or when people pull out, when things can fall down and systems that we rely on don't click into gear as they should. This is when we need others to rally round, pull together (and lots of other cliches) to get the job done. Most of the time this works.

But occasionally it doesn't, or at least not to the degree we need or want it to. And this is why it's so important to have so many people trained across a wide range of areas; why we need to share responsibility and not rely solely upon the same one or two individuals each time.

If you're keen to do something – put yourself forward. We crave input from different technical and creative people, and you shouldn't be put off just because someone else has always done it. We grow as a club when individuals grow, develop and take on new opportunities and learn new skills.

Perhaps your New Year's resolution for 2023 could be to try a different role?

Whatever you take on, we'll do our best to support you, and not take you for granted.

Mat Rees


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