Imagine going behind the scenes of your favourite performances: playing a part in creating the magic that unfolds on the stage, capturing hearts and evoking wonder. For associate artist at Perth Theatre, Ross Mackay, he does just this on the regular. Hailing from Oakbank, in Perth, Ross tells us no two days are the same at Perth Theatre:
"One day I can spend in the rehearsal room working on the rhythm of a gag for the Perth Panto. The next I can spend reading scripts or answering emails, planning for future shows."
"Right now I am exploring creating a show with young men in Perth, and as part of this have led magic workshops for teenagers in the theatre, and at Big Dog Books."
Ross divides his time between his job at Perth Theatre, and working at his own company, Tortoise in a Nutshell, who primarily work with puppets and tour worldwide. As for when he's off the clock? "There's nothing better than heading down to The Old Ship for a post-work pint!"
We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into the life of a theatre artist!
Tell us the weirdest / funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
There are definitely too many odd and weird parts of my job to mention them all. Sometimes I catch myself in a rehearsal room or on the stage meticulously working out something stupid like how a crow eats food or how loud a fart sound should be and I think I have a very weird job!
One of the weirdest was working on the BFG. I had to build a giant puppet and had nowhere to try it out except my garden. I had hitched the puppet onto my bag and hoisted him up in the air and he looked great. The only problem was I forgot to warn my upstairs neighbour who got the absolute fright of their life with a giant face spying into their bathroom window!
What signals the start of your days off?
I work in Perth, but I live in Aberdour in Fife. I usually stay with my parents when I’m working at the theatre. So, my day off starts with a train ride home. Then I'm greeted with a big hello from my wife and an even bigger hello from April, our pet cat. I usually crash out of the sofa, happy to be back in my own space. On a cold night I love to make a fire (we have a fireplace so its not just a random act of arson).
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I have a Blue Peter Badge. I got it for working on a puppet project called Big Man Walking. It was a giant Blue Puppet that paraded through streets throughout Scotland. It was a mightily impressive sight. He was over 8 metres tall and earned a giant badge himself.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
Ohhh, good question. One day I would love to direct my own show on Perth Theatre’s gorgeous stage. I’ve assisted on lots of projects, but I would love to work on it with my own piece.
One day I would love to direct my own show on Perth Theatre’s gorgeous stage.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I was an event steward at Edinburgh International Conference Centre. As far as I could tell the only role of this job was to stand at the escalator for 8 hours a day and occasionally say hello. It wasn’t hard work, but it was super boring. I use to try out different voices to say hello with to stop getting bored.
Who or what inspires you?
I absolutely love Philip Pullman books. They are a great place to escape to.
Tell us about the day you’d love to live again?
Hmmmm, I have to be truthful and say my wedding day.
What’s the best part about your job?
The audiences. You work countless hours on a production sometimes literal blood, sweat and tears are poured into making a show. When you see that moment where it ignites someone’s imagination, its all worth it. It sounds cheesy but it’s the absolute truth.
Complete this sentence; the best things in life are….
The best things in life are not free, you usually have to work pretty hard for them. But its worth it.
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