This week we meet Ellen Frost, Commercial Venue and Bookings Manager in UCL Culture. Here, Ellen chats to us about some of the many exciting things happening in UCL’s museum and theatre spaces, including an evening of horror story-telling....
What is your role and what does it involve?
I’m the Commercial Venue and Bookings Manager of the Bloomsbury Theatre and Studio, and also the Petrie, Grant, Pathology and Art Museums in UCL Culture.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I’ve been at UCL for one and a half years. Before then I spend three years as Theatre Manager at the Shaw Theatre (opposite UCL’s Bidborough House), where I also hosted three years of UCLU Students Autumn term shows whilst the Bloomsbury Theatre was under renovation. Before that, I was at the RSC in Stratford Upon Avon for seven years.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
My biggest achievement was definitely reopening the Bloomsbury back in November 2018 after its three-year closure. It was a huge project which had been driven by so many passionate staff and students and to be part of the team that reopened it was a very special experience!
I am very proud of the fantastic and varied programme we host, which includes fantastic UCLU SU productions - which showcase our hugely talented students (last week’s UCL Musical Theatre and Stage Crew production of Legally Blonde was a highlight!) - and also the UCL departments and staff who use the space to showcase their work and research through performance - it really demonstrates how the Arts and Academia can collaborate together.
We have also hosted some brilliant commercial shows including UCL alumni Ricky Gervais and Sandi Toksvig’s autobiography book launch. We also hosted our very first Relaxed Environment and Audio Described shows for our 2019 family Christmas show and will be doing so again for Gangsta Granny show and hopefully introducing to other shows throughout the year.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
Currently I’m exploring how we can welcome our theatre artists and audiences to our fantastic museum spaces - last week we had a fantastic horror story-telling evening with a theremin in the Grant. My dream is for top comedians and artists to create responsive shows about, and in performed in, our museums to create experiences that are both memorable, thought provoking and totally unique to UCL.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You/& Juliet (musical soundtrack) is the current fave.
Some Like It Hot - I have watched that over 100 times, to me it’s perfect!
And book wise, my guilty pleasure... Bridget Jones Diary.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
How many Theatre Stage Managers does it take to change a.....’ "done".
Stage Managers are renowned for being super organised, proactive and preemptive... they should run the world!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Eddie Izzard, Charlie Chaplin, Lizzo (bringer of the tequila), The Vivienne (bringer of the tea), Nick Helm (he would cook) and my cousin.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t wait and hope for something - make it happen!
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I do say hello to every dog I meet.
What is your favourite place?
Sitting in a theatre just as the lights go down for the start of a great show!
Photo credit: Chris Hoyle