Meet London theatre's stalwarts
Julian Fox in the Barbican
stage-door keeper, Barbican‘Is the definition of a stalwart someone who won’t leave? That’s me. I’ve worked at the Barbican since I was 18, and I’m now 35 (and single). I had just got a job at Wagamama when I got a call from the London manager of the RSC, asking me to cover the stage door for a few weeks. I took it , and eight years have somehow elapsed.
‘There are two shifts: one from 8am until 4pm, the other from 3.30 until 11pm. I can’t get up before noon, so I go for the late shifts. It’s a very demanding job. You have to sit still for long periods of time and surf the internet. And you have to be able to differentiate between the two buttons that are under your control – one for the inner door and one for the outer door.
You mustn’t get them mixed up. You also answer the phone and handle theatre companies who come in, making them sign in and out and generally being professional. You can’t get starstruck. I was only really starstruck by [Pedro] Almodovar, but he didn’t look at me, so I don’t think he noticed.
‘In terms of personality, I think a good stage-door keeper has to get along with everyone, and be able to soak up a lot of verbal abuse from your colleagues who work much harder than you do. Another important quality is having no friends, because you’re in the theatre when normal people are socialising. Philosophically, you have to be the kind of person who enjoys sitting still and watching the world go by. It suits me very well.’
Julian Fox will be performing in his one-man show: You’ve Got to Love Dancing to Stick to It at the BAC from Nov 14-Dec 3, and can be heard on Radio 4 every Tuesday evening at 11.15pm, in ‘Concrete Poetry’ until October 3
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