It is with a heavy heart that we have learned of the passing of our good friend Kay Mellor. Leeds born and bred, Kay was a pioneer of northern drama and real-life stories, going where no other female writer, director, or actor had gone before. We’re deeply proud and humbled to have been chosen as the home venue for her two stage premieres, Fat Friends The Musical (2017) and Band of Gold (2019) – both of which were huge success stories, as was everything that Kay turned her hand to. The hearts and thoughts of our theatre family are with her family, who we are also blessed to call friends of our theatres.

Bryony Jameson smiling and sat on the seats of the auditorium

In Conversation With... Bryony Jameson

Meet Bryony Jameson, our tech-savvy, trend-spotting Digital Coordinator at Leeds Heritage Theatres.

Written by Ellen Carnazza

Describe a day in the life of a Digital Coordinator?

I spend my week half in the office and half working at home. Working at home allows you to get your head down and focus, but working in the building is where it really is at. I feel very lucky I get to call The Grand my office, being able to see the beautiful auditorium every day is something truly special. I usually start my day catching up on social media notifications, messages from customers for support, checking out the love for the shows the night before and everything in between. One thing I really love about this job is that no two days are ever the same. Some days I could be meeting up with company members from shows to capture content for our channels, some days I’m creating newsletters and building new shows to put on sale. We also have regular press nights and events where you’ll find me running around capturing content.

What three skills do you think are most important in your role?

Creativity. Multi-tasking. Organisation.

What has been the highlight (to date) of your time at Leeds Heritage Theatres.

Too many! Photographing the real Jamie and Margaret from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on their opening night was pretty special.

What is the most challenging thing about your role?

I think it’s being prepared to drop plans and jump onto urgent communications at any second. It is also a challenge keeping an eye on things outside of working hours. Digital is such a powerful tool and allows us to reach more people immediately than individual phone calls or post ever could.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about working as a Digital Coordinator?

Get active on social media personally. Learn how it works, monitor the trends, and follow companies who do it well. You can learn a lot from scrolling and engaging (trust me!). Don’t be scared of new tech, embrace it. TikTok is taking the world by storm but shouldn’t be entered into until you know how it works to your advantage. Watch this space!

Margaret and Jamie Campbell in the Leeds Grand Theatre auditorium

Jamie and Margaret Campbell on the opening night of Everybody's Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand Theatre

Bryony’s Favourite Things

Favourite venue – The Grand, Varieties, Hyde Park? Why?

The Varieties. The history is fascinating – a room above a pub which has hosted legends of Music Hall and beyond. The pantomime is second to none and I’ve been going to the venue since I was little. I think my first show there must have been Bodger & Badger? I’ve been digging through the archives for our regular #ThrowbackThursday posts and I am constantly surprised by what I find in each box. I love the venue so much that I’m even getting married there next year!

City Varieties Music Hall auditorium from the circle level

The auditorium of City Varieties Music Hall

Favourite story about that venue?

I have seen a lot of comedy there over the years including the legendary Ken Dodd on the final night before the regeneration project in 2009. I seem to remember an act on the bill with a duck they couldn’t control that waddled across the stage quacking. I love how The Varieties has a long history of animals on stage, from miniature horses to chimpanzees, alligators to musical dogs…

A full audience for Ken Dodd at City Varieties Music Hall

The audience for Ken Dodd's performance at City Varieties

Favourite show/act/film you have seen at one of our venues?

So many! I can’t choose one! I have been brought up on musicals and I think one of the first shows I ever saw was Joseph at The Grand when I was five years old. I am excited for Joseph to return this summer with Linzi Hateley as the narrator, I’ve grown up listening to her recording so it’ll be a bit ‘full circle’ for me to be sat in the same theatre watching the show which started my love of musicals.

Linzi Hateley and the cast of Joseph in colourful costume with their arms outstretched in unison against an orange background

The cast of of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Favourite job – other than your current role?!

I started working in theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe with The Pleasance. First as a Box Office Operator, then as a Journalist for their in-house newsletter. I would recommend this opportunity to anyone, your accommodation is covered and you get a subsidy for your living expenses along with the all-important staff pass which gets you into any show with availability for free. It is a lot of hard work but you learn so much and get to see plenty of shows.

Bryony Jameson with the cast of SIX

Bryony Jameson with the cast of SIX at the Edinburgh Fringe

And finally… Favourite thing to do on your day off?

I am a big reader and enjoy local pubs, so you can often find me cosied up with a good book and a craft beer.