Dundee Live Big Interview: ‘Rewarding and exhausting’ The boss of the Dundee Rep gives an insight into his time in charge

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the Dundee Live Big Interview series continues today with the boss of one of Scotland’s best loved and widely respected theaters.

Andrew Panton, who is from fife, took over the reins at the Dundee Rep in 2017.

His hugely impressive CV displays a host of highly acclaimed theater productions, TV work with Children in Need and BBC’s The Voice, and helping devise the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

He’s also managed to fit in a stint as the creative director for Susan Boyle on her last five albums and her international concert tours.

How have your four years been in charge of the Dundee Rep? Anything surprises you?

Challenging, rewarding, exciting, exhausting – almost in equal measure.

One of the fantastic things about my job is that every day is completely different. I wake up thinking I know what the day holds, and it frequently turns out another way entirely.

I love being surprised by our audiences. You never know what a new show really is until it meet its audience. The best surprise in the world is their reaction and it often lands differently than expected. The audience tis the final character that makes the production whole.



The Dundee Rep is well known for it’s Christmas shows.

What are the biggest challenges facing the Rep as we ease out of lockdown?

We’ve managed to navigate the challenges of the last 18 months without any of our staff team being at risk of redundancy, which has been one of our primary goals.

Feeling the amazing support from our audiences whilst the building has been closed has kept us going while our work has largely been in the digital space through Rep Studios and the brilliant work of our Engage team.

Managing to stay connected to our participants and audiences over this period has been a challenge and being able to open the theater was a truly amazing experience. We now encourage our audiences to buy tickets and come back to the wide range of shows, workshops, events and classes that we have on offer.

This next period is the most challenging for us as the government support schemes finish and we’re once more reliant on ticket sales. We’re working hard to build back the confidence of our audience and we believe The Rep is a safe and secure space, thanks to the work of our operations team.



William and Kate visited the Rep during their last trip to Dundee.

What can we expect to see in the Rep in the next 6 months?

We returned with a world premiere, Wings Around Dundee, which received great reviews and our audiences told us how much they loved this world premiere.

The autumn season also includes a long-awaited return of such critically acclaimed shows as Antigone, Interrupted which will see Scottish Dance Theater touring for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, and TuTuMucky, a smash hit from Botis Seva blending hip hop, ballet and contemporary dance.

The National Theater of Scotland will return once again with the World Premiere of The Enemy opening at The Rep and the season will climax with a new musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, directed by Rep Artistic Director Andrew Panton and created in collaboration with musical theater writing duo, Noisemaker.

We’ll also be screening on demand Sinder and Every Map Has A Scale, two new films created by our Ensembles of actors and dancers with our communities during lockdown.

We’re really excited about This is a Love Story, a new pop musical telling the 200,000‑year love story between Earth and Humanity. Our REP STUDIOS live stream performance, scheduled during COP26 and celebrating Dundee Rep’s new Climate Beacon status, will be the first opportunity for audiences to experience the show in a concert setting – performed by two actors with a live on-stage band and continuous creative captioning . .

Anything visitors to the Rep need to know about whenever they’re visiting?

We’ve aimed to keep the experience as familiar as possible, but keeping within current government guidelines. Audience members need to wear a mask throughout their visit, except for people with medical exemptions. We have a full bar available as usual (you can lower your mask to drink!).

There are full capacity and socially distanced performances for most shows depending on how you’d like to see the work and details of all of this is on our website. We’re opening the auditorium earlier for performances to give audiences more time to find their seat and reduce congestion.

Wings Around Dundee was our first show which reopened the theater and we completed the run incident-free and received really positive feedback both on the show and on our audience experience. We’re fortunate to have a fantastic front of house team!



One of the most popular recent shows was the Rep’s hilarious take on Oor Wullie

What are your aspirations for the Rep in the next five years?

I’m excited to continue to produce a diverse program of new work and revivals in collaboration with the most exciting artists locally, nationally and internationally. Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theater are known for making world class theater and dance and we also have a new strategic focus on music and musical theater.

We’ll continue to create socially engaged work that enhances the lives of our communities and participants and through the work of Scottish Dance Theater tour our work nationally and internationally both in-person and virtually. REP STUDIOS will continue as our digital platform to compliment and support our live, in-person work.

We have some really exciting collaborations planned over the coming seasons and continue to partner with producing arts organizations across Scotland, the UK and other parts of the world.

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