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Charcoalblue raising funds to benefit theatre staff

Dave Robinson 27 April 2010
Charcoalblue raising funds to benefit theatre staff

The London-based theatre consultancy’s projects director, Jack Tilbury, and industry journalist Sarah Rushton-Read will take place in an 1,400-mile charity motorcycle journey this June. The announcement follows a few weeks after Charcoalblue confirmed the addition of four new staff members, including acoustician Byron Harrison.

Travelling with motorbike-riding entertainment and theatre professionals’ group, The First Night Riders, Tilbury (pictured) and Rushton-Read will participate in a seven-day tour of new and historically significant UK theatres.

ABTT, Blitz Sound, Cameron Mackintosh, ETC, Hall Stage, Harmer PR, Howard Eaton, J&C Joel, PLASA, Prompt Side, Triple E Ltd and Charcoalblue itself are among the sponsors of the First Night Riders, who will visit theatres across England, Wales and Scotland in-between departing London’s National Theatre on 5 June and arriving back in the capital for the Theatre Engineering & Architecture Conference on 13 June.

Funds raised during the epic journey will go to The Theatrical Guild (TTG), a charity which supports individuals who have been or are currently employed in professional theatre in backstage or front-of-house capacities.

"We were delighted to discover that a number of the venues that the First Night Riders will be visiting are Charcoalblue projects – old and new," said Tilbury. "Although we revisit our venues on a regular basis it’s always a pleasure to make some extra, more social, house calls. I’ve been riding bikes for 15 years, but mostly only London commuting. This provides me with the perfect excuse, if one were needed, to catch up with some old friends, visit some fantastic places and show off our work to the other participants on the ride – and, of course, help raise money for a very worthy cause."

Rushton-Read – who will host a blog (link below) containing a wealth of material accrued during the tour – added: "I’m very much looking forward to visiting so many fine theatres and meeting up with some good old friends along the way. In terms of raising money, Jack and I are prepared to fulfil any reasonable requests potential sponsors might have in exchange for their cold hard cash. Our challenge to everyone is: get your thinking caps on and your wallets out and dream up a fun reason to give us your money!"

The event is still open to anyone with a suitable motorcycle, bike and sidecar or scooter. Vehicles should have at least a 100-mile range to minimise fuel stops. The event is also open to riders on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, Byron Harrison is one of four recent recruits to Charcoalblue, having joining the company in March along with theatre consultant/lighting specialist Paul Franklin, architect/theatre planner Elena Giakoumaki and stage engineer Giles Favell. The appointments follow another year of sustained growth for the theatre consultancy.

Harrison, who is also a trained singer and musician, is best-known for his eight-year stint at Chicago-based acoustic consultancy Talaske. He tells PSN-e: "I will be helping to expand [the company’s presence] into acoustics and noise control to complement its existing offer." He notes that dramatic theatre spaces in the UK are generally "less lively" than their US equivalents, and believes there is an opportunity for Charcoalblue to excel in acoustics which match the "excitement of live theatre".

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