YOUR THEATRE TEAM
LARISSA - MANAGING DIRECTOR
Larissa speaks Italian and Russian and of course English. Her day job is as the Business development director for a major Russian company and the theatre is her little side line hobby. She leaves the day to day running to the team below although often steps in to help Richard, the bar manager to pull pints on a busy night. She is the reason why we got such well known Russian theatre companies performing plays in Russian in our little theatre over the past year. She is often mistaken as being Swedish as her accent sounds more Norvic although she is from Moscow and came to the UK 7 years ago on an invitation by a Russian state owned company, who needed a Russian expert on the UK. She has since left the KGB.
She goes to the theatre most weeks to see all types of plays around London. She enjoys the gym, driving her little sports car and is learning to sail. PS she loves English bitter and fav at present is the Meantime Wheat beer (hence why we have to stock it, our Vodka is also Russian Standard at her request). She has become a bit of an expert on spotting good (as she calls it) 'chips and fish' (fish & chips). Harry, the artistic director always mocks her for getting those two around the wrong way, she then points out that he can't say 'Digital' and he says 'Dig at all'. Anna who is German, and on a theatre management training programme with us has everything she says beginning with V sound like begins with F , so Harry then corrects her. So Anna also then reminds him, he can't say 'Digital'. Then it all kicks off!
Anyway back to Larissa, She also spends lots of time reading classic Russian novels and also is an avid fan of 'Family Guy'.
HARRY- ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Harry joined the police at 18 and was medically discharged as he suffered from severe vertigo. The police did pay for him to undergo treatment and they offered him his job back if he took a high wire assault course and proved in other ways he was cured. Part of the treatment was to do something that exposed him to the fear, so he took a plane ride in an open top bi plane which he loved.
He forgot about returning to the police and took up flying lessons and then got sponsorship to train as a commercial airline pilot. Next time your near The Tower of London, there is ugly 1960's building next to Tower Gateway tube, it looks like a city office building but its not full of city bankers, its where many airline pilots are trained along with sea captains, for their chosen careers. They have the simulators, both aircraft and oil tanker and he was one of the few flying students there not called Nigel or Vernon. He spent a number of years flying passenger prop planes such as the Shorts 360 before moving up to jets and the Boeing 737. The airline then introduced the new Boeing 737 - 400 series which had a glass cockpit, which meant Harry could never progress any further as if you read the bit above about Larissa, you will know that he can't say Digital as it comes out as 'Dig at All' and now he had a whole bank of these 'Dig at all' readouts to contend with! (the truth is that he was made redundant as they cut back on routes but he still thinks it was becuase he kept saying 'Dig at all'). He has crash landed twice, once nearly killing a member of the Royal Family at RAF Northolt, He had some highlights in flying such as being able to land at the Space Shuttle runway at Kennedy Space Centre and has flown loads of types of planes from Russian fighter Migs to Antov AN2's.
He now flies for fun and after spending a few months with the Flying Doctor service in West Africa which meant he got sun burnt and had to come home, looked for another profession and went into stand up comedy 20 years ago. For the last 20 years he has been a headline stand up comic at places like 'Jongleurs' playing a 'Saff London Geezer' where not being able to say 'digital' is not a problem. 15 years ago he started drama school after doing a short course at City Lit and did a masters in directing. He also wrote a play which was on at Barons Court Theatre and has since written 9 professional plays, all with commercial success and the biggest being the aviation comedy 'Club Class' which has now been seen at over 180 UK theatres in the last ten years from The Derby Playhouse, The Lowry in Manchester and the Yvonne Anauld in Guildford. It is still going strong, now with its 11th cast! Sara Pascoe who is the rising female comic from 'Stand up for the week' spent 5 months touring in it after leaving drama school as part of cast number 3, a few years ago. Harry went on to direct professional plays at over 60 UK theatres from The Shakespeare's Rose to large scale regional theatres and in 2009 was asked to direct a major UK number 1 theatre tour of a 'Shakespeare' play using actors and circuit comics. He is the casting director for 'Shakespeare in The Park' which do large scale outdoor theatre and also is the head tutor at 'The London Comedy Course' which teaches over 500 comedy students a year, stand up comedy . This is the first theatre he has been asked to run as artistic director and the types of productions he is programming are really working well.
Away from here, he is a member of the Erith Model Railway Club, although he has no interest in trains, but loves model buildings and many of the buildings and and in some cases small villages he creates from scratch are sought after and often adorn model railway mags, although they are really works of art as he creates real scenes such as a wet morning in a coal mining town in Yorkshire and a Brits in Spain beach scene which is the latest model he is building.
Here is model he made for Larissa, the MD for a Christmas present, which showed a Russian Village in winter to remind her of home. She was not impressed as she wanted John Lewis vouchers!
Harry has tried to get 3D model making accepted as an art form, but with little success. Art colleges and galleries say model making isn't art. Each scene takes a few weeks to a few months to build and is used as a real snapshot of life. He tries to capture the real world, not the twee world and every model is build with a story in mind. Often you can see one of these models on display for a few weeks at the theatre. The three houses above are made out of matchsticks, the dome on the church below is a Terry's Chocolate Orange which he has made a rubber mould from and filled with plaster. Amsterdam is card and Balsa and Norway is packing foam.
Larissa and Harry hold regular production meetings to programme the new season
MARA PELTO - Director Trainee
Mara trained in New York at the world famous 'New York University TISCH School of the Arts and majored in Acting. She is on a three month programme looking at British Theatre and expanding her knowledge on running a company. The programme with us includes her directing and producing a well known play and she has chosen 'MEDEA'. She is also co - directing on a number of other productions.
RICHARD - BAR MANAGER
Richard spent 7 years working for Meantime Brewery so knows about proper beer and also has exams and experience in wine and is a real foodie. He has another passion which is conservation and wildlife and is learning Spanish. Richard spends much of his spare time working with and documenting wildlife. He volunteers at The Greenwich Ecology Park and is a very active member of the RSPB. He also works as the show manager when productions leave the theatre on national tour and has show managed at over 20 theatres in the UK. He went to Roan School in Blackheath and was in the same year and class from the age of 11, as Harry, the Artistic Director, although Harry doesn't remember him (There was over 25 in that class for those 6 years, so he can't expect to remember everyone).
Here are some of Richard's latest wildlife piccys
MARIA - TECH
Maria trained at Goldsmiths in visual art which included light boxes which got her interest in lighting. She teaches aerobics and volunteers as a 'Special Constable' and she has a application in to join the 'Met' full time, and is training her brother to take over when she goes full time into the police.
ABBA - STAGE DOOR
Abba is a Wolfdoodle and as you see she has grown up to be a big girl 37kg (it is the Husky in her). Apart from stage door she will also be responsible for getting lots of attention.