From Alma-Tadema to Aretha and Amy

Riverside Theatre manager Roseanne SturgeonRiverside Theatre manager Roseanne Sturgeon
Riverside Theatre manager Roseanne Sturgeon
Every industry has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic especially the world of arts and entertainment. The manager of Coleraine’s Riverside Theatre, Roseanne has been busy in recent times despite the enforced closure of the venue.

Although the theatre is ‘dark’ at the moment, Roseanne said: “Do keep in touch with Riverside online and on social media for information on the next season. We will be back soon after this crisis so check out”

Q. What is your favourite song/album and why?

A. This is difficult! I love so many songs - especially classics by iconic women - like Aretha Franklin’s ‘Say A Little Prayer’, Dusty Springfields’s ‘You Don’t Have To Say you Love Me’ or Janis Joplin’s ‘Piece of My Heart’. My favourite album is a little bit more contemporary - Amy Winehouse’s debut album Frank - full of soul, jazz and hip hop with contemporary lyrics by a truly unique voice and talent.

Q. What is your favourite film and why?

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A. Gone with the Wind - I always watch this at least once a year and it’s always as poignant as ever. This epic film has it all and takes you on a journey through all the emotions we experience as human beings with a stellar cast; dreams, hopes, and plans for the future being turned upside down ... love ... dealing with memories and the past ... human perseverance ... race, society and class inequalities and differences...warfare and the role of women and issues of femininity.

Q. What is your favourite piece of classical music and why?

A. Chopin - Nocturne op. 9 No.2 - beautiful!

Q. Who is your favourite artist and why?

A. I studied an Art History degree at the University of Glasgow so I appreciate so many different artistic movements and artists. But without doubt the most interesting module I studied was entitled ‘Medievalism and Aestheticism in Victorian Art’. Truly fascinating and introduced me to many wonderful artists such as all the Pre-raphaelite painters, Rossetti, Millais, Burne Jones and later in the era Albert Moore, Beardsley and Whistler.

I particularly love looking at Alma-Tadema’s languorous figures set in fabulous marbled interiors or against a backdrop of dazzling blue Mediterranean sea and sky.

Q. What is your favourite play and why?

A. I get most excited by contemporary or new writing - a taste I developed whilst working in the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.

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I got to see at least two pieces of new theatre per week working there, and a lot of innovative Fringe First work coming through from Edinburgh. I loved the immersive experiences David Leddy/ Fire Exit were producing at this time and after when I worked for Dublin Theatre Festival the site-specific work of Anu Productions. I also really admire the work Big Telly Theatre Company is currently pioneering in the area in relation to locally inspired/site-specific/ interactive experiences.

Q. What is your favourite musical and why?

A. I grew up with Julie Andrews on screen singing away in Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music. When I was living in Glasgow and Dublin I got to see a number of the big touring musicals, my favourite was Grease - the energy of the choreography and the timeless tunes make it irresistible.

Q. What is your most special moment in the arts and why?

A. Without doubt the most satisfying part of working in the arts has been all my work with children and young people - the impact participation in the arts can have on children of all abilities and backgrounds is truly amazing. It has been amazing to watch the young people in the Riverside Youth Theatre grow in confidence and form life long friendships over the past three years.

The young people have been working alongside the National Theatre of London’s Connections programme recently and it has been amazing to be able to offer our local children such a prestigious and credible experience.

Q. What ‘classic’ just doesn’t do it for you?

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A. Unfortunately anything Sci-Fi, i.e. Star Trek or Star Wars - that kind of film just never floated my boat!

Q. What do you plan to read/watch/listen to/revisit during the coronavirus period?

A. I have about 10 books I’ve bought over past year and haven’t taken time to read yet, including a Billy Connolly biog for a giggle. I’ll be listening to all the old divas on Alexa and binge -watching some Netflix original series. I absolutely love crafting so I might start making my Christmas 2020 gifts for friends and family already as well as up-cycling some recycled materials for new garden furniture.