What do you do all day? General Manager
Name: AYSHA POWELL
Job Title: GENERAL MANAGER
Hello! Can you give us a brief overview of your career so far?
Hello! I have been a very lucky lady and have worked in some incredible places across London and the UK for most of my career – I had a wonderful university placement with Northern Broadsides, worked at the Brisbane Arts Festival and took a show to Edinburgh in my teens. I have dipped my toe in casting at Soho Theatre with the wonderful Nadine, spent three inspiring years at the Lyric Hammersmith (a place I still embarrassingly class as my second home – most of them don’t know who I am now) moving from Admin Assistant to Finance Manager, and a while at Curtis Brown delving into the big bad agency world and now I’m here.
How did you end up in your current role?
I have been a Paines Plough fan ever since I saw Dennis Kelly’s AFTER THE END at the Leicester Haymarket back in 2005 when I was a theatre obsessed teenager – so when the role of General Manager at my favourite theatre company came up naturally I jumped at the chance (after some confidence boosting from a very treasured past colleague) – there is something quite wonderful about being a super fan of the company you work for, it also comes in quite handy most of the time.
A huge part of where I am now is also about me making the most of work placements, keeping in touch with people I have met in the industry along the way and CRUCIALLY working hard. It does pay off.
What are your main responsibilities within Team PP?
Generally managing most things – this includes staff – their welfare and their to-do lists, the offices, the finances, the contracts, and the fundraising amongst lots of other things.
I often say to people its ‘the unglamorous but essential’ side of theatre e.g paying the creative people who make the theatre.
What do you think are the essential skills needed to be a successful General Manger?
My top five:
– Passion for the work
– An eye for numbers
– A ‘YES’ attitude
Real talk – what’s the least enjoyable part of your job?
Panic hoovering the floor before a Board meeting after a pastry based Taste Tuesday!
What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
There are so many – I am very grateful to be surrounded by many talented people and friends in this industry and here are a few things some of them have said to me that have stuck:
‘Being nice to people will get you far’ and ‘Do something that scares you everyday’
So press send on that email NOW!
And one piece of advice from you to someone who aspires to be a General Manager?
Where are you?! I want to meet you!
Paines Plough offer work placements in our Admin and Production offices throughout the year. If you’re interested, you can download more information here.