Find out more about the day-to-day lives of some of our team members, and what they miss most about business as usual
‘When can we return to normal?’ – that’s the thing, I really don’t believe in the word normal
From the first announcement, to the latest government guidelines to shut down performance venues, ‘business as usual’ at the Guildhall has taken on a very different meaning. Speaking to employees of the Guildhall, we take a closer look at the very real changes that have taken place for many at the venue.
Andy Grays – CEO
Looking back when the lockdown in March was announced, I remember being sat in the office watching the press conference with a few other members of the team. It was a bit of a shock considering we had a concert that evening. In truth, I felt a bit numb!
After the news sank in, there wasn’t a moment to lose. The focus is and always will be on how we all get through this together. Back in March nobody was making any predictions as to how long the ramifications of Coronavirus would last, and to this day we are all in a state of not knowing. The most difficult part has been the redundancies. I have to commend the people who were at risk, almost to a person the response we had from colleagues was an understanding of the situation we were facing, and many asked to come back when times are better.
The question I get all the time is ‘When can we return to normal?’ – that’s the thing, I really don’t believe in the word normal. We have never existed in a normal state, we must constantly find new income, challenge ourselves to do new things and learn from our experience. The Guildhall is really a fantastic building, I often can’t believe I have the responsibility for it. It’s unlike any other building I’ve worked at in that it has great spaces and the atmosphere at a gig is second to none. Equally, it attracts great people, without wishing to sound to shmaltzy we have a brilliant team and a great board of trustees all pulling in the same direction.
I look forward to pulling through this time round again and once again being a hub for brilliant performance in this great city.
Gemma Rigby – Conference and Events Co-ordinator
I can’t lie, I assumed we would originally be shut for a couple of weeks. As the news bulletins started pouring in, I realised that this was a very different situation in general. This was cemented once I was told I was going to be furloughed. Suddenly I had no work, no structure, and no clue when I would be back! I wouldn’t say I handled it very well and felt down for weeks. Everything I knew had been pulled from underneath me and the uncertainty was scary.
To ensure the future of the venue it was necessary for the business to have a restructure, for me this meant a flexibility in my role and expanding the departments I worked with. I am now splitting my time with other areas such as Box Office and the front of house team to help cover as and when it is required
If were to ask me what I miss most… where do I start? The venue is at its best when it is alive with a symphony of noises, filled with people here for community events, concerts, dinners, conferences, weddings! I cannot wait till we can throw open our doors again breath life back into the Guildhall!
Kelly Haswell – Head of Marketing
On that day back in March when we first went into lockdown, in many ways my first reaction was relief. Before that the message from the Government hadn’t been clear so to finally get a clear directive after a very difficult week of uncertainty was welcome.
Since then, everything has changed. From difficult changes to our own teams and the teams we work with beyond the Guildhall and to working from home. The impact has hit everybody from promoters, suppliers and the media which has made it hard to get things done at times – it felt like everything had ground to a halt.
This is an incredibly adaptive industry though with the ability to respond creatively to whatever situation we are faced with. The team at the Guildhall are amongst the most passionate, dedicated and hard-working bunch I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and although the sense of loss is palpable, we are hugely grateful for the support that people have given, and we are determined to get back to doing what we all love.
“If were to ask me what I miss most… where do I start? The venue is at its best when it is alive with a symphony of noises”
This Is Not Goodbye
Although a difficult time for all, we will keep on going to make sure we can provide world-class entertainment for audiences. There are some things you can do for us as a lover of performance. Consider a donation, joining as a member and you can always buy tickets for one of our many shows we have booked in for the near future, and beyond.
Staring into the unknown is always a challenging concept. With the future of live performance as a whole changing before our eyes, it is now more important than ever to keep on going. From all of the team at the Guildhall, we cannot wait to get back to business as usual and will always be looking forward to the day where we can once again welcome everyone back to our beloved building.