Dundee has many great talents and one that shines very brightly is the city’s commitment to the Arts. A place that embodies this commitment and talent is the Dundee Rep Theatre. With a roster of diverse, entertaining and thought-provoking shows throughout the year, it’s a cultural hub within the city that attracts theatre-goers from all over the world. But, as Visitor Experience Manager Andrew Manzi explains, the Rep welcomes many supporters right on their doorstep.
“One of the really nice things about working here is to see such a range of people coming in with different shows, but also just the range of people that come into the Rep,” says Andrew. “We have quite a big local audience. There are definitely people who come and see every show that Dundee Rep ensemble and Scottish Dance Theatre put on. And, through Become A Friend which is our membership scheme, we see people coming along to every show.”
As Visitor Experience Manager, Andrew’s job is all about ensuring every visitor has the best possible time. As someone who has been part of the Dundee Rep family for most of his life, this is a passion that comes naturally. “I started off in Youth Theatre here when I was 11. Then, I worked my way up through Youth Theatre and joined the Box Office and Front of House team. Being part of the theatre, there’s a real sense of belonging here and the people are so friendly.”
They also welcome guests from further afield, or who haven’t visited Dundee Rep before. “It’s great having those conversations with people where you hear what’s brought them here. It’s often people who are visiting family or have travelled to Dundee because they’ve heard such good things about the place.”
It’s apparent speaking with Andrew that looking after their visitors is a huge part of the Rep experience. This was solidified when the theatre was a finalist at this year’s UK Theatre Awards. Unsurprisingly, it was in the Most Welcoming Theatre category. “We’ll likely strike up a conversation with anybody who comes in the door or gives us a phone. I think it’s that welcoming environment that sets us apart, not just for visitors but for visiting actors and staff as well. We are very proud of to have been shortlisted for that award.”
Andrew thinks this friendly, warm approach is a wider ‘Dundee thing’ where the local folk know the meaning of community spirit. “People say that Dundee is like a village and that anybody will stop and speak to you. I think that it’s one of those places that once people have visited once they want to come back or move here – it’s that kind of place.”
In true Dundee style, the theatre has lots coming up in the next few months, lots of variety. Currently Andrew and his team are preparing for the arrival of Cinderella, their big Christmas show. A modern take on a classic tale, this musical version has Instagram in it. No joke! Cinderella runs this festive season from Saturday 26th November – Saturday 31st December.
Based on the life of one of Scottish football’s best loved characters and ex-Dundee United boss, Jim Mclean, the show explores the complexities and contradictions, the highs and lows, and the triumphs and regrets of the man. Smile runs from February 18th – March 11th 2023.
Also, look out for Thin h/as h/air & The Flock from Scottish Dance Theatre. Part biographical and part fiction, Thin h/as h/air is a poetic solo work created by company member and choreographer Pauline Torzuoli. Inspired by the natural phenomena of Itla Okla and Hair Ice, the piece follows the journey of a man – from scientist to the spirit of a tree.
By contrast, the full Scottish Dance Theatre Company will be taking the stage for the UK premiere of Roser Lopez Espinosa’s The Flock, a dynamic and athletic performance exploring our desire to fly. Runs 16 – 18 March 2023.”
Whether you’re a Dundee local or coming from another part of the world, one thing is for sure – Andrew and his team will be there with a warm welcome at the Dundee Rep for this diverse calendar of shows.