Mariel Swannie (née Bunnage)
My job is to make ideas happen.
From vehicles to hotels and everything in between I do whatever the team needs to help our shows run smoothly.
I do a lot of booking and behind the scenes organising.
It all started with me coming to the UK to study stage management
At the end of my first year of stage management studies at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama I took up an opportunity to do a placement with Walk the Plank on its Lift Off! production in Portsmouth. I can’t quite remember how I came to hear about the role but I do remember practically begging my tutor to send me.
I then sent an email to Liz and John asking if there were any opportunities for a placement in my second year, asking to be thrown into the middle of things –reckoning I’d either sink or swim. By 2012, I found myself stage managing the finale show for our Sparks Will Fly tour, which I hadn’t realised I’d be doing until I arrived on site. I remember sitting with Liz watching the stage being de-rigged and her asking me if she had thrown me in deep enough. I’m still here four years later so I obviously started swimming, and haven’t stopped since.
Stage management and show calling. I spent 3 years studying it and have since stage managed and show called on a huge range of Walk the Plank shows. Each one presents new surprises and challenges to keep me on my toes and thinking fast.
What attracted me to Walk the Plank?
I’ve been doing theatre and the arts in some form since my best friend forced me to audition for the school play with her when we were 12. I’ve always been attracted to non traditional theatre so a move to outdoor arts was an easy step to take and Walk the Plank had already made the case a very compelling one.
My favourite Walk the Plank project so far has been ‘The Return of Colmcille’, the finale for which involved a massive fire breathing Loch Ness monster sailing down the River Foyle in Derry-Londonderry. Not many people can put ‘Monster Stage Manager’ on their CV.
What do I get up to outside work?
Walking and trekking (although I’ve broken my two front teeth no less than five times).
Home brewing – elderflower wine and champagne, and ale. Oh, and a spot of baking and cooking.