Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Attending a Promoters’ show menu launch event is a bit like opening a box of chocolates. You know your eyes will light up as you get to see everything, you know you’ll get a bit of guidance, but then you know you’ll be left to just sit back, feel spoilt, and get to pick the ones you really like.
This was the happy position I found myself in at the delightfully named Bardon Mill and Henshaw Village Hall (was there an argument over which name came first ?) in Northumberland last month, where two dozen Highlights Promoters got together for their twice-yearly meeting. A chance to mingle, to make face to face contact with Highlights HQ staff, and to discover which shows had been selected to be offered up to be booked for the Spring. Highlights cover a huge area, stretching from the Lake District to the Northumberland coast – and usually, they run four Promoters evenings every six months so that everyone has got a chance to get to one.
But actually, for me, what’s just as important is the chance to be able to say hello to all the other Promoters. It can be quite a lonely role at times, acting as cheerleader, front of house, box office and bed and breakfast host, let alone setting out the chairs and tables and making sure the heating’s switched on. The opportunity to compare notes, see which Past shows worked and which didn’t, and let off a bit of steam about hire charges, raffle prizes and wobbly tables can definitely be good for the soul. And it’s also a chance to pinch a good idea or two. And to nose around another village hall.
And it’s nice to be a little bit spoilt. A few tasty cakes and buns go a long way to making the evening feel special. And to hear words of thanks from Highlights HQ really matters too, because they know how much work goes into being a Promoter. Equally, there is a lot of reciprocated respect, love and admiration from Promoters for rural touring scheme staff who go above and beyond to make everything happen across the UK’s 30 rural touring schemes.
So all hail to the Promoter menu launches. If you’re a Promoter like me, try to get along to them whenever you can because they’re about so much more than just the new season. And if you’re a Scheme director – my advice always – never skimp on the food….
Audiences across the North are guaranteed a great Spring 2019 offer – I know because I’ve seen it .
Tom Speight Highlights Promoter and NRTF Chair