Glenn Meads chats to Katy Lipson
Joseph Houston and William Whelton joined forces with Katy Lipson and the three of them now work together at one of Manchester's most beautiful theatre venues, the Hope Mill in Ancoats. I caught up with her to find out about her role and Aspects of Love, before it opens next month.
How do you feel the Hope Mill has grown in terms of reputation since you began?
It's been an incredible journey over the last 2 years; We are about to open our 9th musical! I can't quite believe it sometimes. We could never had imagined building up an audience this quickly and getting the recognition we have within the industry and beyond. We are extremely grateful and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
What have you learned since you, Joseph, and William joined forces?
Well, Joe and Will opened the venue; I joined as resident producer for all in house shows and as co-artistic director too. We have learnt so much about our ambition, commercial potential and how to build and look after artistes and audiences. We understand the impact theatre in small spaces can make and want to continue embracing that.
What criteria do you have when choosing what to stage there?
I am a little bit of a musical theatre obsessive; I have always listened to many shows and have a good knowledge of the genre. I have to love a show deeply though to produce it. The music, characters and story. We also have taken risks on staging UK and Northern Premieres. I want to produce work which you can not see anywhere else around Manchester. Bold musicals with passion, creativity and incredible characters.
Aspects of Love has never been staged in the North West, but what else attracted you to this musical?
I've never staged a Lloyd Webber. You don't usually get the chance but I have always been a fan of his compositions. I have a sentimental attachment to this show too as it was something I grew up on. It was definitely the right move for our third year re-imagined yet again for our small space.
Many of the shows staged at Hope Mill have had a new life elsewhere? How does that feel?
It's so rewarding but very hard. The models of these shows are so difficult; we can never cover our costs so we continue searching for backers who believe in our vision and ambition to help us stage the shows in the first place. And to date we haven't paid ourself a fee, a train fare or a theatre rent!
What are your long term plans for the venue?
To continue producing high quality, original musicals and revivals which have the potential to continue their journey beyond. I would eventually like us to become the home for new musicals.
How can audiences support Hope Mill, beyond buying tickets?
Keep spreading the word to friends about the venue and if you are interested in sponsoring a show do get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org
Aspects of Love runs at the Hope Mill Theatre from 7 July - 9 August. For more details, click belowRead More