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The quarterly staff newsletter of ABERDEEN PERFORMING ARTS

September 2008

Fun day suits golfers to a T at Aboyne en golfers – three ladies and seven chaps – gathered at Aboyne Golf Club back in April for a day of fun and some great golf. The day started well with tea or coffee and a very tasty bacon buttie - the standard fare for golf outings – then it was off in groups of two or three for the morning round under Irish Stableford rules (if you want to find out what that means, you'll have to attend the next outing!).


The Lemon Tree Lifts Off une saw the happy re-opening of Aberdeen Performing Arts’ new edition to its portfolio – The Lemon Tree. The day was as smooth as a Nasa launch, however we were assured the environmentally friendly balloons wouldn’t quite reach orbit, as the natural latex was fully biodegradable when they reached a particular height and the temperature changes the balloons would degrade fully into a fine powder.


On the day, the friends, partners and Hollywood stars, not forgetting the great and good, turned out to celebrate the opening of our fantastic venue. APA board member Jenny Shirreffs compered the day, handing over to Duncan Hendry who announced the fantastic sponsorship deals with Shell and Belhaven, sponsoring the Friday and Sunday lunchtime lives. Aberdeen City Council’s deputy leader Kevin Stewart and cultural spokeswoman Jennifer Stewart both said a few words wishing The Lemon Tree and APA success for their future together. It was then over to the star of the day Alan Cumming who did the honourable job of passionately re-opening The Lemon Tree. As he released the unique star-shaped balloon launch, filled with green, white and yellow balloons, the spirit and excitement was captured by the paparazzi of Aberdeen. Scottish folk rock band The Pictones entertained attendees while they nibbled on the contemporary cuisine specifically designed for the day, and, needless to the say, the front of house staff did an excellent job of keeping the pallet refreshed with a selection of beverages. With great company, appetising food and wine, the day was a great success and throroughly enjoyed by all! Here’s hoping The Lemon Tree continues to go from strength to strength in its future success. – LAUREN TAYLOR

Our numbers had grown from eight last year, and should have been even more, but illness and other commitments meant two could not join us on the day. Perhaps next time, guys. The morning winner was Ben Torrie and Spike Young won both the longest drive and nearest the pin challenges. Dark mutterings were heard later that day about slashing Ben’s handicap next time... After a very nice lunch of soup and sandwiches, the groups were mixed for a Texas Scramble, in which everyone in the team hits off from each tee and then the best drive is selected for everyone to hit from again and so on, until the ball hits the bottom of the cup on the green. This type of event allows those of a wide range of abilities to work as a team to outplay the other teams - great fun! The winning team was Clarissa Kelly, Ben (again), Duncan Hendry and Mark Crighton. At the end of the day, Duncan announced the winners (and losers) awarding prizes as appropriate, then a first class high tea was enjoyed. Everyone enjoyed a great day out in fabulous scenery, getting some fresh air and exercise, and enjoying jokes and good company. Do come and join us on the next outing – especially if you're a 36-handicap duffer like myself! – ANN HOPKIN

From HM Theatre to HM Forces

ormer Front-of-House regular Christine Shaw is marching to a different tune these days having been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Sandhurst on Friday, August 8, under the watchful eye of the King of Bahrain who inspected the cadets.


She will be joining the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. The daughter of our own Alison Shaw, and sister of Front-of-House Grant, Christine worked at HMT for five years, from when she was 17, first as a casual and then as contract staff while studying for her degree in Engineering (Civil) at Aberdeen University. She was an active member of the OTC while at uni and was accepted for officer training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst a couple of years ago, but waited until she graduated before going. The Shaw family celebrate (from left) Eion, Alison, Christine and Grant.


Colleagues in the Limelight ou could feel the excitement in the air on Sunday, June 5. Everyone had been working solidly for weeks in order to get The Lemon Tree ready for its re-launch; and it was time to stop for a minute, kick back, relax and realise the achievement that had been made.


When it came to celebrating the hard work and effort that had gone into preparing the venue it was decided that the best way to do it would be to hold a night for staff, friends and family.

Sunshine and rain on a fabulous day at Templars f you went down to the woods on Sunday, August 3, you were in for a big surprise – for APA staff were out in force and ready to socialise. The staff barbecue at Templars Park was a big success, despite a shower of rain in the afternoon, which did nothing to dampen anyone’s spirits. There were activities galore for all to take part in or just watch – and laugh - from the sidelines.


With quality music provided by Matt Morris and StaVruM – including a rousing rendition of Girls Aloud’s Biology – and an eclectic dj . e ic h set from Craig Marr; the glass wit shots ll a b h ig h 2 Fill a night was an instant success. f vodka, 1/ ice o ts o sh Add two le sec and lime ju . It also gave the front of of trip with lemonade house and technical crew a and top and serve for a ir chance to have a test run Gently st refreshing drink. before the venue was open to long and the public. The drinks were flowing freely and a special offer meant that everyone was getting a free beer with each drink they purchased; it tasted a little like butter, but once you became accustomed to the taste it became quite a pleasant drink! Once the bands had played their songs, the raffle was drawn and everyone was sufficiently merry it was home time for some but the night was just heating up for others. The after party travelled to The Moorings where Sailor Jerry’s were enjoyed by all, and then onto Exodus where we danced into the wee hours of the morning. A huge thank you to everyone who made it such a pleasant night, and here’s hoping we can re-enact the celebration for the first anniversary! – MARTIN GALLAGHER

t Limeligh

Our crazy social lives already had quite a hectic year of social We’ve events, but we’re not nearly done yet! We’ve got another bowling night at Sunset Boulevard on Sunday, September 21 and another pub quiz is on Sunday November 30. A race evening, a fancy dress party and the annual Christmas celebration all pencilled in for next few months. If you have any suggestions or ideas for future events please contact one of the social committee members Lesley Fowler, Martin Gallagher, Dawn Euson, Yvonne Johnstone, Nicky Jenkins, Danielle Westland and Jamie Allan. We’re always on the look out for different things to do and any help would be appreciated. – MARTIN GALLAGHER

The bungee run proved popular, along with the old faithful Gladiators, while those who tried the sumo suits and lost, found it hard to get back up on their feet but this only added to the fun and laughter. The younger children had a bouncy castle, which also proved popular with the older kids/adults, but thankfully there were no tears or traumas. And none from the kids either. One of the party games proved too much for poor Lauren from the marketing department, who ended up seeing stars with a duck’s egg of a bump on her forehead. She ended up at ARI after the night was through... here’s hoping she doesn’t sue us! That eventful game of musical knees was eventually won by Patty from the Music Hall cafe. The game which involved popping other peoples’ balloons was won by Callum (FOH) who’s prize was Animal from the Muppets, token cuddle toy! The catering was provided by Harry Fraser and I would like to thank them for a wonderful spread and a great job. Everyone managed to get something to eat and enjoyed it - it was sure better than last year. Special mention must go out Gavin and Grant for their ridiculous dustbin of booze, which they struggled to get down the hill to the park. It wasn’t so much of a struggle to empty it – perhaps they had some help? I would also like to thank Dawn, Danielle, Jamie and Martin for coming out early in the morning to help set up and get everything organised before the buses turned up. Even though the instructions were in German, we eventually managed to erect the Gazebo in time – thankfully as it saved our bacon when the rain came down in the afternoon, by becoming our dance tent, packed out with gyrating drunkards! What a difference it made having our own music this year. A big thank you to Matt and his friend for coming out and setting it up and for allowing us to borrow the PA system for the day. Our resident DJs Matt and Craig kept everyone entertained and dancing.

Now onto the hot topic....the raffle was not fixed, even though between them Alan Campbell, Craig Marr and Natasha Westland scooped most of the huge number of prizes leaving little else for anyone to win. Well done to all that won something and to those who didn't, there is always next year. However we sold all the tickets in both raffle books and made £217, which was ace. That brings us to the point in the day when the heavens opened and the rain poured down. Cue a flurry of people with brollies, bin bags and the like stampeding towards the scout hut for cover. Both halls were then turned into an indoor picnic area. Rugs went down, chairs were put back up and everyone settled in under cover to enjoy what was left of the day. Lastly I would like to make a special thank you to those who were stayed behind to tidy up and make sure everything was put back the way we found it in the morning. Finally, we all hope that everyone had a fantastic day, thank you to all who were involved with the organising and smooth running of the day itself. Roll on next year. – LESLEY FOWLER

Sunset Song receives Lynne returns and high critical acclaim turns back the clock from A the 1980s to the 1900s

s our first large-scale production sets off on its Scottish tour, everyone at APA should be really proud of Sunset Song and what we have achieved.

orget Dolly, back home where she belongs is wardrobe supervisor Lynne Greig. Head-hunted to work in the wardrobe department of the touring production of The Wedding Singer, she recently returned to HMT to work on our own production of Sunset Song.


In between times, she was briefly back on home ground when The Wedding Singer was here in early July. “I really enjoyed the touring,” Lynne said. “We went to a lot of places I’d never toured before. And it was an excellent company.” But she now moves away from the 80s glamour of the hit musical, to the early 1900s in The Mearns at the austerity of the First World War years.

“It’s very different and a lot of hard work, especially trying to get the costumes right for that era. That has been quite difficult.” After the succesful run in Aberdeen, Lynne is now touring with Sunset Song – before heading back to HMT in November to work on this year’s panto, Peter Pan. Lynne has worked with wardrobe at HMT for 32 years, beginning as a 14year-old – both her parents worked at the theatre and around 15 years ago, she took over when her mum retired as wardrobe supervisor. – JOYCE SUMMERS

With four-star reviews in The Times, Guardian and Sunday Herald, Sunset Song was praised for being a bold intelligent production with fine live music and of course excellent acting with Hannah Donaldson’s portrayal of Chris Guthrie stealing the show. Nearly 7500 customers came to see Sunset Song helping make it HMT’s second biggest grossing play - achieving sales just a whisker away from £100k (only beaten by Rebecca staring Nigel Havers.) A fantastic beginning to our bid to become a major producing theatre. Well done to all. – SHONA BYRNE

Just in time! rriving fashionably late, Jessica Amy Watt was born 12 days after her due date on May 16, 6.33pm, weighing 7lb and 13oz. After a brief stay in neo-natal as a result of an infection, Jessica was off home 10 days later, just in time for an introduction to Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Mum’s favourite show!


Andrea, Gordon and Rebecca are all thrilled, and Rebecca particularly enjoys seeing her baby sister smile at her! Mum Andrea says: ‘We are delighted with our girls and enjoying going out for walks and meeting friends. Gordon is now surrounded by women!’ – SARAH HARBISON

Changing faces of APA t’s been a busy year so far with staff joining and moving onwards and (in some cases) upwards at APA.


As most of you know our very own Cate MacPherson, Education Manager (pictured below), was appointed Artistic Director for The Lemon Tree just recently. She will play a leading role in building The Lemon Tree’s artistic programme.

Happy Birthday! There were a couple of significant birthdays at the Music Hall since the last edition of The Goss, which were marked with presentations, speeches and much hilarity. On the cleaning staff, Margaret Ross celebrated her 70th and the café’s Patty Hutchison her 60th – and pictured is Linda Barclay reading her poetic tribute to Patty on the big day.

Also joining the LT team was Lynn Hackett as House Manager. She was previously a Duty Manager for APA working mainly at the Music Hall. Initially the main challenge for Lynn was to get the venue up and running ensuring that the venue and staff were ready for action on the launch weekend. Other appointments include Jade Weir as Bar Supervisor/Cashier at the Music Hall, Martin Gallagher and Chris Collins as Marketing Assistants, Matt Morris as Stage Door/Maintenance Assistant for HMT, Claire Davidson as Education Worker and Ross Sims as Music Hall Attendant. Welcome to all the new people and goodbye and good luck to all those who have moved on. – SHONA BYRNE

Our footie agony and ecstasy orget your FA cups and your Champions League, the titanic struggle between APA’s young and not-so-young guns resumes on the football pitch at Garthdee on Sunday, September 21, in the third clash in as many months.


In the first and second much-anticipated match between His Majesty’s Theatre and the Music Hall, both teams were confident of victory as they walked onto the hallowed turf of the Strikers arena in Bridge of Don. However it was the Music Hall who boasted a far superior fan support and this proved telling in the opening stages of the game. MH were spurred on by the sound of the masses in support which clearly seemed to rattle the nerves of the HMT team and this allowed Craig ‘superstar’ Marr to pounce on a loose ball and slot home the first of his four goals on the day. Annoyed by his team’s sloppy defending, man of the match Matt ‘two-touch’ Irvine rallied his troops and were soon back in the game. Irvine was beginning to control the game with a master class display of skill and raw power, everything HMT did seemed to come through him. At half time HMT held a comfortable 6-3 lead. Both teams were treated to sliced oranges at the break courtesy of Laura Keith and a well deserved rest!

An HMT triple bill at graduation ceremony berdeen University’s graduation ceremony at Marischal College on Thursday, July 3, was a red-letter reunion day for a Front of House trio.


For graduating with Bachelor of Music degrees were Callum Massie and Amanda Watt – and sharing their day was George Philips, who is Depute Sacrist at the University. The three HMT Front of House colleagues are pictured in their ceremonial robes on the day. Callum and Amanda are now both qualified secondary music teachers – Callum will be working at Torry Academy on a temporary basis for the foreseeable future and Amanda is taking up a year’s post at the Gordon Schools in Huntly. Fortunately for us, they are both hoping to stay at the theatre on a casual basis.

Into the second half and the fitness levels were beginning to be suspect for a few members of the MH team, which prompted them into a tactical change and Bruce Harrison took over from Duncan ‘the Chief’ Hendry in goal. It proved an inspired change as the Chief scored the goal of the game with a thunderous volley which left Greig ‘the Cat’ Chapman stranded. This was indeed just another wake up call for HMT and Irvine again took the game by the scruff of the neck and set up goals for Stephen ‘the bhoy’ Reid, Grant Shaw and Chris McGeachan before scoring three more himself. HMT seemed to be running away with game but not to be downhearted and spurred on by the fantastic support, MH continued to press and got the goals the so desperately needed through David Purvez, Jordan Rankin and again from Marr. Full-time and HMT took victory at 11-7. It was great occasion not only for the players but the support who made the journey to cheer on both teams. It was then off to the pub for a desperately required pint and a bit of karaoke! In the second match it was definitely a case of (old) men against boys. With several top stars including Doug Taylor and David Purves missing, it always looked like it would end in disaster for the Music Hall against a much more ‘youthful’ HMT side. The Music Hall were under constant pressure right from the off and only for some fantastic defensive displays by Phil ‘the drill’ Wiles and a heroic goalkeeping display from Duncan ‘the Chief’ Hendry (who injured his hand in the barrage of HMT’s attack but carried on like a true soldier) kept the score at a respectable 1-0 to HMT at half time. The second half started in pretty much the same fashion; Marr had pushed up front for Music Hall in an attempt to claw back some goals but due to lack of service was unable to find the net. Fitness levels again began to take its toll, particularly for Music Hall and HMT took advantage of some old, weary, tired legs and got their rewards with three goals in quick succession. Music Hall heads went down and the team capitulated with HMT hammering another two goals before the end. Final score Music Hall 0, HMT 6 If anyone who hasn’t played before and is interested in playing then please let myself, Matt Irvine or Bruce Harrison know. – CRAIG MARR

Speaking part for a budding APA star issed out on the X factor? Well here’s your chance to take a starring role with APA! If you think you have got what it takes to be the voice of APA then we want to hear from you. We are looking three or four staff with great voices to record voiceovers for TV and radio commercials for shows and gigs coming to our venues. In return for your time and vocal skills you'll get the fame and fortune that comes with staring in our commercials! If you are interested get in touch with marketing manager Lauren Taylor on 337640 or email


we now have a new style menu and don’t forget your staff 10% discount off the food bill Foyer Restaurant + Café at His Majesty’s Theatre Rosemount Viaduct Aberdeen AB25 1GL Tel: 01224 337677

The Foyer Restaurant at HMT, upstairs from the box office at His Majesty's Theatre, is a superb setting for lunch or dinner with unrivalled views over the heart of the city. We focus on fresh and simple classic cooking with a modern twist; offering you good food paired with attentive, friendly service.

Foyer at HMT and Foyer Restaurant + Gallery are enterprises of Aberdeen Foyer. The profit generated is used to support Aberdeen Foyer’s work with young people and their communities.

APA 'The Goss' Staff Newsletter  

APA 'The Goss' Staff Newsletter

APA 'The Goss' Staff Newsletter  

APA 'The Goss' Staff Newsletter