From the glitz of London’s West End to Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre, Mark Goucher has brought sell-out shows and acclaimed productions to town during his first year as chief executive.
Revealing his personal higlights from the year and what to expect from the new programme, the multi award-winning producer discusses all-things theatre with SoGlos.
What’s been the highlight of your first year at the Everyman?
One of the highlights has been producing Quartet which went out on tour; that was very successful here and continued to be very successful on tour. We also had the most amazing response to Ian Hislop’s play The Wipers Times.
There’s been a lot of stuff that I’ve been very pleased with. We’re just looking at the new brochure that runs until the Christmas pantomime, which this year is Aladdin.
I’ve also just been in a meeting about plays and shows going right through until June 2019! There’s lots of things coming up that are looking very, very good.
It was your aim to get Hairspray into the Everyman; how does it feel to have achieved that?
I’m delighted! It’s going to be very tight because it’s a big cast and big dance show and our stage is small. But I was determined we’d do our best to get it onto the stage. It sold out extremely quickly – there’s not a ticket to be had.
There’s a lot of West End productions coming to the Everyman before London, such as The Messiah?
Yes, The Messiah is a re-working of Patrick Barlow’s play. We’re revising it with Hugh Dennis and Lesley Garrett; the tour finishes in Cheltenham and moves to the West End the following week.
What other shows are you excited for?
We’re doing a couple of co-productions in the autumn, one of which is a really extradorinary, multi-visual production of Dracula. It was originally produced in Singapore and it’s going to première in the UK.
Something else that’s selling extremely quickly is The Full Monty, which is starting its UK tour in Cheltenham, starring Gary Lucy – who seems to be, most of the time, taking his clothes off!
What changes have there been during your first year?
Before I came to the theatre I was surprised to find that we were closed in summer. This year we’re going to be opening the theatre; in August we have The Beatles musical Let It Be on tour from the West End.
There’s also another David Walliams show; we had Gangsta Granny in April which sold every ticket, so the next show Awful Auntie will be here for the first full week of the school holidays in August.
We announced quite late that the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery are trying out their new show in Cheltenham. It’s called Mischief Movie Night and at the end of the show, our audiences are going to get a first ever peak into the company’s brand new show!
It’s about a magic show that goes wrong, and they’re going to try it out at the Everyman. Every show they bring to the Everyman completely sells out and there’s a big following for them here. This is a first for Cheltenham, that our audiences can see the company’s new show before anyone else.
Can you tell us about the Cheltenham Investment Fund?
When I came to the Everyman I wanted to launch a fund for people in Cheltenham who want access to West End shows. We’ve raised a sum of money that we’ll now use to invest in West End and touring shows; the profits from that company will go back to the Everyman Theare’s education and community department.
What can we expect from this year’s panto, as there’s a new director?
Yes, we have Peter Duncan of Blue Peter fame. I wanted to change things around a bit; it will still be a very traditional pantomime but Peter is going to direct it, we have a new choreographer, and I’m hoping there will be a slight twist on what it’s been in the past.
Most importantly, we still have Tweedy!
The panto’s already sold over 15,000 tickets. So if you want good tickets, you’ll have to book them fairly soon.
And finally, what production in the new programme are you most excited for?
It’s a bit difficult to say…
I am really looking forward to An Inspector Calls; it was reconceived by Stephen Daldry, it’s been in and out the West End, it’s been here a number of times before and completely sold out – it’s an extraordinary production of a very good play.
For more information call (01242) 572573 or visit everymantheatre.org.uk directly.