The stars behind the scenes who make performances shine

Theatre Manager

Lexie Ward

Lexie graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts (a legacy institution of the University of Cumbria) with a first in Performing Arts. She loves her job in Arts Management, and has enjoyed overseeing the development of Stanwix Theatre to a venue with three performance spaces and over 100 performances a year. Away from Stanwix Theatre Lexie has worked as a theatre director for a number of professional and amateur ventures.

Previous Directing Credits include :

One Man Two Guvnors (West Walls Theatre); The 39 Steps (West Walls Theatre) (nominated for Cumbria Culture Awards Production of the Year 2015, and Finalist for Best Play, Lead Actor and Lead Actress at the NODA Awards 2016) ; Tom Dick and Harry (West Walls Theatre) (2015 NODA Award Winner Best Director); Boeing Boeing (West Walls Theatre); Three Men in a Boat (Cumbrian Tour and Edinburgh Fringe transfer); The Wind in the Willows (Lanercost Festival); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (West Walls Theatre); the UK Premiere of Behind the Times (West Walls Theatre).

Other nominations include Carlisle Living Awards : One to Watch (2014); Carlisle Living Awards : Culture Citymaker (2016); as well as being part of the teams which saw Stanwix Theatre nominated as Carlisle Living Best Arts Venue (2014); Carlisle Green Room Club, Best Amateur Dramatic Club, Cumbria Culture Awards (2015), and West Walls Theatre, Carlisle Living Awards Best Arts Event/Venue (2016).

Technicians

Brian Brooks, Senior Sound Technician

Brian has over twenty years' experience working within the sound and music industry. He began his early music experience, working for many years as a keyboard player/pianist in covers bands in the south of England – playing in clubs, functions etc. Alongside this, for about five years he was the music and business director of a theatre company based in Hampshire. Brian left the theatre company and bands behind him, when he eventually went to university at the London College of Music – graduating with a BA (Hons) Media and Radio Broadcasting and a DIPHE Music Technology.

He moved to Cumbria after working as a video technician in London and has now been at the university for well over ten years. He has since achieved post-graduate qualifications of MA Performing Arts (focusing in sound and video performance) and a PG Certification in Education. He is a member of the Musicians Union, the Audio Engineering Society and the Institute of Sound and Communication Engineers.

Away from the university, he works as a music composer, sound engineer, sound designer and video graphics artist in his home studio - working with many professional musicians and artists on projects. He is also still an active performing musician and a VJ artist - collaborating with a number of artists and musicians from the north-east on various multi-media art experiences.

Mary Crook, Technician

Mary has had a keen interest in lighting since her final years in secondary education. She attained a HNC Technical Theatre from West College Scotland (formerly Reid Kerr College) and continued her studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, graduating with a BA Production Technology and Management in 2015. Mary was very much involved in extra-curricular lighting experience whenever she could, and was involved in numerous projects with the Short Courses department including lighting for various sharings and performances, plus assisting in the delivery of the Introduction to Lighting and Technical Theatre programmes in 2014. Mary developed great enjoyment in teaching students about lighting, and worked with Scottish Youth Theatre to gain experience in working with educational and youth theatre. She began working at the University of Cumbria as a Theatre Technician in February 2016 and is enjoying assisting students with learning the finer details of lighting for theatre.

Previous Lighting Design credits include; The Tempest; Collateral Damage; Moremi Ajasoro; Jason and the Argonauts and A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Previous Chief Electrician credits include; Sir John in Love; The Wolfman; Our House and BA Modern Ballet Showcase.

Heather Rucastle, Technician

Heather trained at the University of Brighton studying a Foundation Degree in Stage Management before studying a Bachelor of Honours Degree in Theatre Art History. After graduation she worked at a performing arts school as a technician for two years. She then moved to London to be the manager of Screenface, a make up company that provides make up for film and tv, while there she worked on films such as Dark Shadows, World War Z and 47 Ronin. She starts work at the University of Cumbria as a technician in November 2012.

Tony Sharpe, Technician

Tony has worked at the University of Cumbria (formerly Cumbria Institute of the Arts) as Senior Technician/Technician for seven years. Before this he worked at Cumbria Institute of the Arts as the Front of House manager and casual technical staff. He also worked on a variety of touring shows and bands doing varied technical roles. He has a BA (Hons) in Creative Arts, specialising in sound recording and band management.