Chief encounters: Theatre should be for everyone

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Rhona Matheson of Starcatchers explains her charity's latest project involves asking those who can afford theatre tickets to buy one for those who can't

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11th April 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

You just launched Forward for Families - tell us more?
Forward for Families is a campaign that is about enabling families, who might not be able to afford to come to the theatre to access Starcatchers’ new performance, MamaBabaMe in three of our partner venues – Platform in Glasgow, Macrobert in Stirling and The Byre Theatre in St Andrews.

Chief encounters: Theatre should be for everyoneRhona Matheson

I love what I do and Starcatchers is a brilliant organisation but I don’t think it would be right to be here for the rest of my career.

How did your team come up with the idea?
Starcatchers’ vision is for all of Scotland’s youngest children are able to fulfil their right to engage with, and participate in high quality, innovative arts and creative experiences regardless of where they live. 
​Our productions are made by fantastic artists who create experiences that are designed for both the wee ones and their parents to enjoy together, so it’s important to us to be engaging with families who wouldn’t normally come to a performance because of the cost of tickets or because they think its ‘not for the likes of us’.
​Forward for Families is an idea that our marketing manager, Amy came up with as a way of encouraging our existing audiences to ‘pay it forward’ and enabling some new families to enjoy our new production.

Do you remember your first trip to the theatre?
I’m not sure if I do remember my very first trip – there wasn’t a huge amount of children’s theatre available when I was growing up. But I do remember that my parents took us to the theatre or to concerts regularly. I grew up half way between Aberdeen and Inverness so we would go to His Majesty’s or Eden Court for panto and to the ballet. We would also go to the Town Hall in Elgin and I do remember, as a nearly 14 year old seeing the TAG version of Sunset Song there in 1991 and that has stayed with me ever since.

How many hours do you work in a week?
More than I should!

Who was your mentor or biggest role model?
I think my colleague Ingrid Wolff who runs a children’s arts organisation in the Netherlands is my biggest role model. She is fierce, passionate and not afraid to challenge the status quo. I’ve learned a lot from her!

What is your proudest professional achievement?
Celebrating 10 years of Starcatchers last year. It was amazing to reflect back and see how far the organisation has come – from a pilot project to a national organisation – and what has been achieved.

What was the last thing you did that scared you?
I went night sledging on a recent skiing holiday and I’ve never been so scared! Flying down a piste in the dark with poor visibility was exhilarating but terrifying, I’m glad I can say I did it, I’m not sure I’d do it again!

Is it better to work for a big charity or a small charity?
I’ve only ever worked for small charities – I like the collaborative approach that comes from working in a small team, it allows everyone to really shine.

Is this a step on the rung to success or your final destination?
I think this is a step. I love what I do and Starcatchers is a brilliant organisation but I don’t think it would be right to be here for the rest of my career.

How often do you socialise with colleagues?
Once every few months – we were so busy last year that there wasn’t enough socialising so we are making a commitment to finding some new activities for staff social outings in 2017.

What is your favourite film?
Little Miss Sunshine.

Would your 16-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?
I think so…

Which Brian Cox?
The physicist.

Rhona Matheson is chief executive of Starcatchers.

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