15 minutes with NLP Theatre Assistant, Grace Laird

Can you give me some background on your job?

I started here nearly 6 years ago when there was no theatre division as such. I was hired to assist the theatre manager, Andy Williamson, working under the two theatre partners, Anthony Pins and Paul Taiano.

When I first started I used to visit clients each week and therefore was meeting dozens of different people, putting faces to names and really feeling part of the “family” of a production. We always get great feedback on the job we do from each client which is lovely. We have contact with our theatre clients every day and so relationship building is a key part of the role. Each production is their “baby” and it becomes yours too. When I went on maternity leave, the producer of one show was also pregnant and so we bonded over our real babies as well as the show’s!

Tell me more about your role…

The theatre division works alongside well known West End productions, many of which then go on tour. The firm’s role is to deal with the day to day financial accounting of each production which includes the payroll of all the staff involved in each show (now handled by a separate payroll department at NLP).

Our job is to produce the fortnightly or four weekly reports which encompass all financial aspects of a production (this is not a full set of accounts as the productions are generally part of a larger group that does the overall end of year accounts for the whole group). We report on the royalties, merchandising royalties and pre-production costs eg stage sets, props, costumes, choreography costs and salary costs. We act independently of the client, so the investors get the true picture.

What are you passionate about?

Well, I am totally passionate about travel, I can’t get enough of it! My most recent trips were to Japan and Korea followed by New York, then a trip to Switzerland, Belgium, and France. I also frequently take my daughter to see her grandparents in Portugal.

I also adore reading and am an avid knitter – I joined a knitting circle ‘Stitch London’ almost 6 years ago and am, funnily enough, one of the oldest people there – so, knitting is definitely back in fashion! Mind you, the Supermodels made it popular again. I have also just learnt to crochet and enjoy Amigurumi (Japanese crafts).

You sound very creative…

Yes, I keep myself pretty busy. I can honestly say that I love my job, which I know is rare these days. I am lucky to be working in an area that I am passionate about.

Your energy is infectious, Grace, thank you.