Over the coming months, and in celebration of The Touring Network’s 20th BIrthday, we are putting a spotlight on our members, the people who passionately graft behind the scenes to make our region a better place to live and work through putting on shows in their local communities. Each interview will culminate with an #EPICSTAGESTORY.  To share yours read here

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Meet Juliette Lowe, Herbalist and Yoga Teacher by trade, with 6 years under her belt and Promoter for the Entertainments Comittee at Ardross Community Hall in the Highlands.  Read on to hear about her, her community and of course her  #EPICSTAGESTORY

Hello, pleased to meet you, where do you live and what venue(s) are you involved with? 

I live in Ardross by Alness and am involved with Ardross Community Hall

How long have you been involved with promoting there? 

I started promoting here in 2012, so have be doing this for 6 years

And how long have you been a member of The Touring Network? (approx) 

Ardross Hall has been a member of the Touring Network for many years, probably about 16 years?

Do you work as a promoter group or fly solo? 

I work with one other volunteer, Petria Brooke-Carr, but we do get some other help from local friends for very busy nights

And what is / was your main job? 

I am the promoter, I do all the leasing with the performers, advertising, marketing, organising etc. I apply for the grants and I also do the door on the night and sort out the finances. Outside of promoting for Ardross Hall I am an Acupuncturist, Herbalist and yoga teacher.

How long have you lived there? I have lived here for 21 years

What attracted you/your family to that area? 

We moved up to bring our children up in the countryside and to go hill walking , cycling and enjoy the hills and countryside.

How do you decide whether or not to book a performer? 

We rebook good performers and ones who have been previously popular. For new performers we listen to their music or watch their performance online first and decide whether it would work at Ardross Hall. Mainly we go for things that we like!

What types of performances tend to go down the best? 

Traditional music, anything that involves the Highlands, Islands or has a local connection.

What challenges do you have as a rural promoter – go-on, any bugbears you want to get off your chest 🙂 ? Audience numbers and getting local people to come, lack of local support.

What do you hope for a performer to take away after having performed at your venue? 

Having had a good experience of us as promoters and a positive audience feedback. Everyone asks to come back to Ardross Hall, especially those that Petria feeds with her wonderful cooking, so we must be doing something right!

Give us a local must see/do/dining tip for any visiting performer or audience? 

If they have time a walk up to the Fyrish Monument is really worth a visit for the views. Sadly no great dining establishments near here.

Give us a little known pop fact about your venue / area / living rurally 🙂 

Ardross was all part of the Ardross Castle Estate which was funded on Opium money in the 1800’s.

Tell us, how do you advertise performances to your audiences? Most of my audience comes form my extensive mailing list which I have built up over the years. We also post on Facebook and Twitter, put up posters and contact all the local papers and online advertising places and magazines.

Whats your favourite venue to see a performance in and why (outside of your own). 

Eden court, comfortable seats (especially the cinema) and some great choice of performances.

If you could programme anyone in the world, sky’s the limit. Who would it be and why? 

I would love to put on a really fantastic Contemporary Dance company like Ballet Rambert, many local people do not get a chance to see and appreciate top quality dance.

Finally, tell us your #epicstagestory* 

On Friday 29th January 2016 we had the Dance company Plan B with “And Now” booked for late January, I was worried about the event as the previous time we had booked them we had a very poor audience and made a big loss. As the date neared I got more anxious as the night of their performance was the same night as “Storm Gertrude”, who was going to come with howling wind and lashing rain! On the night people poured into the hall in their droves, we had limited seating as the dance company needed much of the floor space for their dance production, we had to squeeze people in up the sides of the hall and on the floor just next to the dancing, we got to the point that Frank McConnell of Plan B said we simply could not get anybody else in, but we could not turn people away on such a dreadful night. It was a fabulous show and much enjoyed by everyone.

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