I applied to be a technical volunteer for Contacting the World 2012. At that point, I had done a lot of studio-based sound engineering and was hoping to learn more about live sound work, so I was a bit thrown when I got to interview and was asked some questions on a lighting plan! Thankfully I managed to guess a few correct answers, as I found myself heading back to Contact later that year to start 10 days of helping the technical team prep the spaces and run the many shows, workshops and other events that made up CTW.
Contacting the World Festival was a week-long summer event which paired three youth theatre companies and groups within the UK with three groups from overseas. That year, the overseas companies came from Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Nigeria. It was a wonderful mix of different stories, talents and skills, marred by the sad news that several members of Crown Troupe of Nigeria were unable to come due to visa issues. We were so glad to be able to show videos of their work at least
Funnily enough, most of my memories Contacting the World don’t actually centre around the performances, amazing though they were, but around the backstage moments. Being lectured on the right way to coil a microphone cable (now whenever I see someone coiling one around their elbow I can’t help but wince). Coming in early each morning to remove the blocking tape from the stage, and carefully repainting the scuffed sections. Feeling extremely smug about being able to swipe my keycard at the door from the foyer to backstage, which I carried on a lanyard attached to my belt-loops, like a real stage technician would. (Please feel free to laugh at/judge me at this point. Clearly I thought I was very cool.)
There is a buzz to the backstage area of a live venue that’s quite unlike any other workplace, and now that I’ve returned to Contact, eight years down the line and in a wildly different position as Marketing Manager, I can’t wait to see Contact looking, sounding and feeling as it did back in 2012.