Hayley Stafford

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I’m the Head Mechanist for the National Tour and my job is to bring a consistent, quality, theatre experience to every audience no matter their location.

I’m responsible for the set, getting it into the venue, working with the local crew to install and build it, and packing back into the truck.

I love working with crews in venues of all sizes across the country. The regional crews are incredible because they work in venues that have unique challenges such as heritage facilities or small spaces. Sometimes we are the biggest production to come to town. It can be eye-opening for a technician to know a production of this scale is possible in their own venue. People with limited experience but a thirst to learn are the most rewarding to work with because they’re invested in what we’re doing and share what they learn from us with others.

Bell Shakespeare is about making theatre accessible. Shakespeare is not elitist, it is for everyone. Part of what the National Tour does is make sure theatre can be for everyone and it’s important that live performance continues to be part of our culture. I remember seeing Hamlet in Toowoomba when I was growing up. It was fun, inspiring, and relatable. To come back in 2019 to put on Much Ado About Nothing on the same stage was thrilling.

2020 was kind of surreal for all of us. I lost a year’s work in a weekend. I was a bit lost for a while and volunteered my time at the food pantry because I was desperate to be useful. I worked in a grocery store cool room for a while, which oddly enough reminded me of unloading the National Tour in Orange each July.

It means a lot to be able to tour again. Our entire industry is about gathering people for a shared experience. Watching something on screen can never be the same as being surrounded by people experiencing the same emotions. It feels triumphant to be coming back.

Thank you for believing that what we do is valuable, viable, and important – even when we couldn’t bring you a show last year. Your support is not just an investment in the Company’s future, but also an acknowledgement of its history. Every gift, no matter the size makes a difference.

To support Bell Shakespeare, you can donate online or contact our Philanthropy Team via email or phone at 02 8298 9080.