One of the key figures who guided Fringe TheatreFest through its formative years was Claire Thomson (now Claire Woods).
The first Fringe TheatreFest was a collaboration between multi story theatre company (otherwise known as Gill&Bill), North Devon Theatres and North Devon College.
From 2009 the partnership was between multi story and North Devon Theatres and so it remained until 2017.
Claire was our main point of contact with North Devon Theatres and it was she who did all the heavy lifting. She superintended our relationship with all the other parts of NDT – the publicity department who produced all the print, the technical department who provided the bulk of the equipment and personnel and the box-office – using her finely-tuned diplomatic skills where necessary and keeping us in order if our ambitions got out of hand. She managed to be both passionate and realistic in the pursuit of TheatreFest’s goals. She also did a lot of the administrative work that we rather took for granted before we went solo in 2017 when North Devon Theatres ceased to be. She took on the licensing and a lot of H&S and safeguarding, she superintended the budget and I think she particularly enjoyed crunching the numbers at the end of each TheatreFest.
The collapse of North Devon Theatres was severely traumatic for many of the staff, a lot of whom were particularly fond of what Fringe TheatreFest brought to the Queen’s in June. None more so than Claire. And we had to set up a committee to fill her shoes.
Thank you Claire. And I hope you remember Jesus Quintero – who made you cry and you didn’t know why.