Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 37

and working. But over time, there was
a realization that while the equipment
might be very good, some fundamental
errors were occuring in the planning of
the buildings and especially auditoria and
stages. So led by Richard Pilbrow and
Iain Mackintosh, we developed what became known as theatre planning services
to work with the architect, client, and users to produce an excellent building and
equipment.
There was a further development
into the initial planning, development of
concepts, feasibility studies and generally working with clients to assemble a
viable and achievable project. These front
end studies and assignments became my
natural home: working with a client, city,
Ministry of Culture, etc., to plan a new
project and assisting in pulling together
the project land, site, design team, etc.
My management training helped in these
assignments and I became not only a theatre consultant, but also a Fellow of the
U.K. and U.S. Institutes of Management
Consultants, eventually becoming a
Chartered Fellow of the Chartered
Management Institute.
BTR:

What did you find most fascinating in your work?

Occasionally someone has
asked me what is my best
or most interesting project to which I'd
reply, the next one! I've always believed
very strongly that every situation, every
city, and every client or user is unique.
The team should be working to develop
a creative, exceptional solution for every
project. That is the most exciting part of
my work over the past 40 years. I never
want to repeat myself. Yes, learn from
previous projects but strive to create
something distinctive and exclusive for
each client.
STAPLES

You have worked in many countries of the world, mostly of the
English-speaking world, but also in China,
Saudi Arabia, and Oman-different cultures and political systems. How did you
develop collaboration and working relationships with the different countries?
BTR:

I was born and brought up in
the North of England with
very little exposure to other cultures, religions, or political systems. The past 45
years have changed that radically. I have
worked in 67 countries with every political system, from democracy to communism, dictatorship, monarchy, etc. I've
encountered and enjoyed trying to understand every major religion in the world.
Working in the performing arts, it is inevitable you will come across every conceivable gender identity and sexual
orientation. These experiences have enriched my life in incalculable ways.
Almost every project has been brought
to fruition by a project champion, be that
person a citizen, community leader, government minister, president, sheikh, sultan, emir or communist party secretary.
Some have been effective dictators, others
more subtle motivators, and it has been
fascinating to see how many different ways
there are to get such things done.
I have been involved in many projects
that have successfully reached opening
night. But, I have been involved in many
more that did not make it. I wish now
I'd kept a record, but the projects that
crashed and burned considerably outnumber those that succeed. If you want
an easy and comfortable life, do not embark on a theatre building project.
Many different types of groups-citizens, government, municipality, etc., initiate building projects. They need one
person or a small core group with the
determination, energy, and influence to
fight for the dream and force it through
to reality. Some project champions are effective at generating support and building
consensus for projects. Others are dictators who simply force everything through
to a conclusion.
STAPLES

" The projects
that crashed
and burned
considerably
outnumber
those that
succeed. If
you want
an easy and
comfortable
life, do not
embark on
a theatrebuilding
project. "

In the projects of Theatre
Projects, one can observe that the
shape of the auditoria are often the same
horseshoe shape. Iain Mackintosh, principal consultant, was a strong supporter of
this intimate yet traditional shape. Does
the consultant in the English-speaking
world have more power in the decisionmaking process of the design or is there a
BTR:

SPRING 2021 | THEATRE DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

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Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021

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Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover2
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Contents
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