Richard Turner - Manager of The Stand Newcastle

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Richard Turner
We go behind the scenes of the North East’s most interesting jobs, starting with Richard Turner, the Manager of The Stand comedy club in Newcastle

What’s your job title? General Manager.

What does that mean? Good question. I don’t go in for titles much and I guess the easiest thing to say is it’s a wide-ranging remit and role. 

How did you get the job? I had been working in the bar and restaurant sector for a number of years and this opportunity leapt out and seemed a huge challenge. It was, but so much fun too and I’ve worked with and met some amazing people.

What was your dream job? Pilot of Thunderbird 4 because it looks like fun and danger is my middle name. Actually, it’s Mark.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I delivered chickens for a farm many years ago. If you have never visited a chicken farm the smell is quite unique.

What time do you start? I’m on call 24/7 but usually 9am.

What time do you finish? It varies, but 1am or 2am. 

What does your working day entail? As we’re operating seven days a week it’s pretty intensive – the nuts and bolts of a restaurant with an added 300-seat dedicated comedy venue. 

How many staff members are you responsible for? Thirty.

How do you maintain control of them? It’s collaborative and every member of the team from kitchen porter to technician is integral to what we do. If people know you are all working towards the same goal, control doesn’t really come into it. Ensure your door is always open and never assume you have all the answers.

What’s the worst part of the job? I’m not very good at staying away from work so the hours can be quite long.

The best part? Believe it or not, a room full of happy customers. That sounds really corny doesn’t it?

Ever had any disasters? The job can be crisis management at times, from acts who can’t make a gig or the weather giving us what for and flooding the venue, but we always get the show delivered.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met through work? As a huge comedy fan (even now!), you get to meet a lot of your heroes, but it’s never cool to name drop.

How do you handle meeting famous comedians? As long as you never let them know you’re sweating and nervous it should go well. 

Do you ever get your photograph taken with them? It’s not my style, so no.

What are your career ambitions? This is a really great job and I can’t see myself doing anything else, but I used to teach and found that very rewarding so maybe that. If I can find a way of combining the two, that’s a good gig in my book.

What assumptions do people wrongly make about your job? That comedy is ‘low rent’. In fact it is a very good barometer of social mores and at times asks hard questions about the human condition.

Published in: January 2016

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