Technical Director and Production Manager, Matt Frankish, has come a long way from his days of sweeping stages and pulling curtains in theatres across the pond. This brand new Canadian and first-time dad shares why he loves working at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.
The best part of working at the Roundhouse is the sheer variety of what’s going on.
JS: How long have you worked at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre?
MF: Five years. I got the job six months after moving to Canada, and have been here ever since. I grew up in Portishead, near Bristol in the UK, and then in Cannock, near Birmingham in the UK. I moved to Canada in 2007, and became a citizen earlier this year.
JS: Can you describe your typical workday?
MF: As the Technical Director and Production Manager, (TD), my day usually consists of meeting renters or partners to discuss their upcoming events; writing up cost estimates; writing production schedules and checking in with the current users of the large spaces, like the Exhibition Hall and the theatre, to see if they have everything they need.
JS: It seems you must require some knowledge of theatre and working with artists and event organizers. Does this mean you have a background in the arts?
MF: My mum and dad used to take me to the Pantomime every Christmas – I think that’s where the theatre thing comes from for me. I started out sweeping the stage at my local theatre at the age of 15. My first paid theatre job was that of a counterweight. The theatre curtains were very heavy and the full-time staff was so slight that they could only climb the rope rather than pull the curtains open. I was hired to add some mass to the job.
Since then I’ve worked backstage at theatres in Leeds, London, Edinburgh, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, and also onboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean and Alaska. I also have a degree in lighting design for theatre.
JS: You’ve worked in a lot of different venues, so what do you like most about working at the Roundhouse?
MF: The best part of working at the Roundhouse is the sheer variety of what’s going on. At any given moment you might have a wedding going on in the Exhibition Hall, a kids karate class in Room B, a rehearsal for a piece of contemporary dance in the Performance Centre, and a prenatal yoga class in one of the smaller rooms. And that’s not even a particularly busy day! It’s a super relaxed place to work, but we do so much. We’re working flat-out, but it doesn’t feel that way.
JS: How would you describe your co-workers?
MF: The best words I could use to describe my co-workers are relaxed, dedicated and fun.
JS: Besides obviously enjoying your work, is there anything else that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of becoming a Canadian Citizen and a new dad. My daughter is nine months old and she’s amazing. My citizenship exam was scheduled at the same time our baby was due. I was a touch worried they would end up happening on the same day, but my daughter was born three days before.
JS: Thank you Matt Frankish, and as they say in the theatre, BRAVO.
For facility and room information, go to our Facilities & Rentals page can answer most of your questions, and there are picture galleries of all the Roundhouse rooms. For information about renting the Roundhouse, contact Joe Oliveira, Rental Liaison.
Meet the Roundhouse is a new feature blog series published on the first Friday of the month. Jacqueline Steuart interviews staff members so that you can learn a little bit more about the people who help to make the Roundhouse a hive of creative and recreational activity, and the best community centre in Vancouver.
By Jacqueline Steuart, Roundhouse Blog Team. Jacqueline is a graduate of the Print Futures: Professional Writing program at Douglas College, New Westminster. She is pleased to write about the dynamic and diverse culture of the Roundhouse.