Gail Pallin

Seeing that 'eureka' moment in a student's eyes... and watching their self-confidence grow over the months as the skills and knowledge settle in. The next best thing is them announcing they have landed their first job!

Job Title

Lecturer in Stage Management

Subjects

Technical Theatre

institutions

Fife College

Education

I trained at QMU in the late 70’s then worked professionally in stage and production management for 15 years in a variety of theatres, companies and venues. During that time, I realised that every individual and team I worked with had skills, knowledge and complimentary experiences which fed into my own. When I became a stage and production manager it was necessary to not just keep learning but pass on some of that passion and knowledge to the team and continue sharing new skills.

I was offered work at Dundee College delivering a stage management unit, which inspired me so much that I applied for and was successful at getting a full time stage management lecturer’s post at Queen Margaret University. Throughout the 15 years I worked there, identifying a lack of a modern accessible book on Stage Management, I decided to write one!

Career Highlights

– Landing an ASM / Sound Technician job at The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh the week after graduating- the right place at the right time!

– Getting my second job in England opened up a whole new range of employment opportunities and contacts.

– Working on the original production of ‘Road’ with Jim Cartwright at The Royal Court. It had a longer rehearsal period than shows I was used to, using processes which were innovative, daring and exciting.

– Every new play, every new contract in every new town or city is a key moment…what remains constant within all of these is the feeling of family, commitment to whatever project you are working on, and the sheer delight and pleasure of achieving the impossible each and every opening night. This is just as true for my lecturing work now, as it’s always a team effort. The extra cherry on the cake is letting go of a show, handing it over the students and seeing them run with it….that’s where the learning really begins!

– Every time I see a graduate’s name in a programme or see, hear or read of a graduate’s success gives me the incentive to keep doing what I’m doing. What is really exciting now is assigning current students to placements working alongside graduates who are now stage managers all over the country.

– Being invited onto the boards of the Stage Management Association  and Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

-Gail is now Lecturer in Stage Management at Fife College.

Inspiration

Professionals (be they theatre practitioners or lecturers) who are passionate about what they do, their innovative practices and new ideas, who are really good at their job inspire me.

My main inspiration many years ago was Kevin Eld, who worked his way up from being a casual at Haymarket Theatre Leicester to Production Manager. He is now Head of Walt Disney Creative Entertainment. What I loved about Kevin was his ability to manage any team, and any event with a wicked sense of humor, ever increasing technical acumen and amazing ability to solve any problem which the production demanded. I never once heard him raise his voice, and he chivvied a lagging team along with a few quips and a cup of tea.

Best thing about working in technical theatre

Seeing that ‘eureka’ moment in a student’s eyes….and watching their self-confidence grow over the months as the skills and knowledge settle in. The next best thing is them announcing they have landed their first job!

Advice to students

Advice and support is what educators try to do on a daily basis, so it’s hard to distil into a single statement but ‘choose your placement with great thought and discernment, as it can often lead to your first job’ is a useful piece of information.

 

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