Young Promoter interview – Orton Village Hall Highlights’ Promoter

In May, our Young Promoter Suzanne, was very busy working with us for her work experience week, from Kirkby Stephen Grammar School;  writing articles, interviewing artists, headteachers and promoters, as well as attending shows and workshops in school. Here, she interviews Highlights’ Promoter Kathryn Nunn and gives us some history to the Hall at Orton and the relationship with Highlights.

Orton Village Hall history and Highlights

Orton Village Hall located between Shap and Tebay, has not so long ago signed up to be a part of
Highlights Rural Touring scheme as a hosting venue. Orton Village Hall has been recently renovated with amazing changes to the kitchen, heating, insulation and a coat of paint upon the entire building. This has brought viewers to the village and to shows.

The market hall was originally built in the 1800s and it was later also a school building. On the roof, it still has the old bell tower from the school building. It’s been a village hall for several years now and it had some renovations done in the year 2000 and there has now been a major refurb in the last couple of years, to bring it up to modern standards, making it a comfortable, safe, clean, bright and airy environment to be in.

Suzanne: Hi Kathryn
As the promoter of Orton village hall and the organiser of Highlights’ live events what is the thought
process behind which of the performances you choose and as you are trying to generate income for
the hall, do you choose them economically – meaning do you choose a type of show that is easier to
sell than others- or do you think of it from an entertainment perspective, meaning potentially riskier and
what people might not think they like but when they go see it, find they enjoy themselves?

Kathryn: As a promoter, I choose the performance from an economic point of view. We usually pick musical performances as they are easier to sell. Regardless of the genre, people
are usually more open-minded when it comes to music. So, in answer to your question, I pick the shows from an economic point of view but also try to pick the more challenging shows, that the audience could be surprised by.

Suzanne: You have only been a promoter for a few years at Orton village hall. During this time, do you feel that there has been an increase in people coming to see highlights performances after your big
renovation to the hall?

Kathryn: Yes, we seem to have quite big audiences of around 30 to 40 people and we get lots of nice
compliments about the hall.

Suzanne: As a local to the village, you must know many people attending performances. Do you feel that Highlights’ performances are seen more by local people or followers of the company/artist? If not just a local audience, why do you feel that is and do you feel there is anything you can do to improve the local audience for shows put on at Orton?

Kathryn: We tend to have a combination of local people and highlights’ groupies and the local people
tend to be people that come to every show, so a challenge for us is trying to reach a wider mix
of people. We’ve promoted events on Facebook and instagram and we also put lots of leaflets through people’s doors.

Suzanne: Do you enjoy working on the Highlights’ shows and with artists visiting Orton village hall?

Kathryn: Yes I do and we’ve had loads of really good performances here –  so much so that we’ve actually invited some of the people who have performed to come back again. We get all sorts of varieties of shows that might be classical music or folk or jazz, which I think local people and the Highlights’
groupies really like.


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