Press and PR Manager at Soho Theatre, London
How did you get started in PR and how did you find yourself where you are now?
I grew up in theatre and always knew that that was the only profession I could have, though that didn’t stop me going for a Psychology degree, partly for fear that there was no such a thing as a career in the arts, and partly to appease parental expectations. Not ever wanting to work as a therapist, I went travelling immediately after completing the degree. I worked in other areas for a few years, including as a microbiologist (don’t ask), eventually deciding to take a second degree, this time in what I should have done in the first place, in Drama & Theatre Arts in Edinburgh, the city I was then living in. On my first year there I responded to an ad looking for a PR assistant to work with London-based PRs Bex Colwell and Nancy Poole for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which runs for 4 weeks in August every year. I ended up getting the job with people who would eventually become friends and mentors, going on to work with them for another 5 festivals after that.
When I graduated I almost immediately moved to London, and worked freelance for a while as well as working as an intern in the theatre PR team at the Barbican. A few months after the end of my internship, I was invited to come back to cover for a few months while they recruited for a new PR. I ended up spending the next 4 years there as a Media Relations Officer for Visual Arts, until my current job came along. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave a job that I absolutely loved, with people that I adored working with every day, but it was time to move on.
What is your role within the company?
I'm Press and PR Manager. I work alongside the PR & Events Director, works on higher level PR matters such as the company long-term messaging and strategy, reporting to the board, planning major events, etc.
Meanwhile, I look after the shows campaigns, the day to day running of the press office, managing the messaging of individual shows and the social media campaigns, running press nights and photo calls. I’m always working on 6-8 press campaigns for plays, cabaret and stand up comedy. I'm in touch everyday with artists, PRs and journalists. One of my goals is to bring the industry closer, inviting them as much as possible to our shows, for drinks and events at our theater.
What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?
Surviving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe looking after 19 shows in total!
What is most important in your work?
The artists I work with are always at the heart of my work and my dedication but overall I make sure that everyones feels supported, listened to, and looked after.
How would you say the media landscape in your field has changed since you started in PR?
I don’t really think it’s changed. It’s constantly adapting, and there are always several news outlets coming up and bringing competition, and we know that newspaper readership is going down, but being a PR involves so much more than simply selling a story to a paper; it involves event and personal management, writing, reading, watching shows, meeting and engaging with different types of people, communicating, creating and maintaining relationships… the only thing I think has changed since I started in the industry, frankly, is my own confidence in my work and my knowledge and experience about what I do.
Where are your favorite places for business meetings or drinks with writers/clients?
We are very lucky to have a great bar in our venue, which is in the centre of the city, so it’s a perfect central hub for meetings and my favourite place to invite clients to.
PR/Communications can be fast-paced and stressful, what is your favorite way of relaxing?
Going to the theatre! Just kidding, although I do go to the theatre a lot. I relax in the swimming pool, at my yoga classes, riding my bike to work or around the city on the weekends, and reading for hours on my sofa. I have moved recently and I’m absolutely in love with my place so I’ve been spending a lot of my time on my sofa.
What are you reading these days?
Oooh a lot of cheese I’m afraid. I always have a few books on the go but this time you can totally spot a very obvious pattern: I was in the middle of Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love when I had to go back to his original Essays in Love... Then a friend suggested When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, and another mentioned the Tales of the City series [by Armistead Maupin], which surprisingly I had never heard of until now, and I’m fast approaching the third one already.
What are you listening to on repeat these days?
What is the next event you're the most looking forward to in the next months?
We’ve got a few of our shows that we took up to Edinburgh coming to our venue, including the Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer winner Natalie Palamides with her show Laid. It is absurdly brilliant and it opens in November.