New Finsbury Park Theatre director speaks of exciting times ahead for the area
15:03 03 February 2013
Fresh from the BBC, where she worked on Felix Baumgartner’s space jump and the jubilee coverage, Miranda Betram tells the Gazette she is pleased as punch with her new role.
When you’ve been involved with arguably the TV event of the decade – live coverage of a man flinging himself into space – and of the Diamond Jubilee, how excited can you get about Finsbury Park?
Very, if you’re Miranda Bertram. The former BBC bigwig is about to step into the hot seat as executive director of the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park’s eagerly awaited new stage set to open in the spring. Support has already been garnered from the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart and Roger Lloyd Pack.
As well as managing the purse strings, the 32-year-old will be in charge of in-house productions at the new venue – a handful of which are planned for the first year and many more after that.
And while she can’t spill the exact beans of the grand plan, the mother-of-two, from Holloway, says the programme is definitely one to be worked up about.
“It’s enormously exciting,” she said. “The first year will be a mixture of our own productions and bringing in other companies. I can’t say too much because some of it’s still up in the air, but there are some brilliant projects.
“I have been reading scripts non-stop and there is some amazing stuff, and you can guarantee some very well-known stage names.”
“It’s extraordinary to be working at the Park Theatre. I’m very happy to be involved. As a local, I was really excited about it anyway and looking forward to coming to a show, never mind being part of the team.
“And my early career was in theatre, so it’s great to be back with my first love.”
Miranda also thinks her experience at the BBC, where she was a commercial manager and oversaw selling programme rights overseas, will stand her in good stead.
“I think my CV will have been a bit different to most, because of my TV background, but it will be good for them to have somebody with commercial experience to watch finances, as there isn’t a lot of cash sloshing about.
“When I saw the job in the paper I knew I had to go for it – it’s such a boon working so close to home. With a four-month-old baby it will be literally life-changing. Although the development is so new I won’t have an office for a while – I’ll be working from the kitchen table.”
The new theatre has aroused curiosity across the capital and Miranda says it can only be good for the area.
“Its really important for Finsbury Park,” she said. “There is a lot of regeneration here over the next few years and we want to be part of that whole change in landscape. We want to be part of the community – a theatre in the middle of all that.
“There are a lot of freelance creative types living round here. Hopefully they will come in with their laptops, and grab a coffee on the way to the Tube.
“Plus, it’s nice to think about people from across theatre land coming here, getting off the train and enjoying the delights that Finsbury Park has to offer.”
But after 10 years at the BBC, during which time she worked with Red Bull to maximise coverage of Felix Baumgartner’s record- breaking jump from 128,000ft, she will have to adapt to a different way of working life.
“I am on maternity leave at the moment and it will be really weird not going back to all that.
“With Felix’s jump I was working on it for four years, and we always thought it would be huge.
“After all that work, I knew all the dangers and watching it was unbelievably tense.
‘‘When he went into the spin, I was sure he was going to die – but he got out and it ended happily.
“So it will be different, but the Park Theatre is a fantastic new challenge and I can’t wait.”