The Torch Theatre welcomes Tyla Thomas as Stage Manager for its autumn production Private Lives and its festive panto Beauty and the Beast.
With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Tyla is delighted to be working at her local venue and in the county where she grew up.
Born and raised in Pembroke Dock, Tyla, who attended Pembroke Secondary School, went on to study Stage Management and Technical Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
But she’s no stranger to Milford Haven’s Torch Theatre.
Tyla said: “This will be my third year working at the Torch, and in that time I have been lucky enough to be a part of many shows. I started in 2021 with the pantomime, ‘Cinderella’, as Deputy Stage Manager.
“In 2022 I was asked to stage manage the Welsh tour of ‘Carwyn’, which performed at the Torch for two weeks before travelling to various venues around the country.
“I was honoured to join the Torch at the Edinburgh Fringe, as the stage manager for both ‘Grav’ and ‘Angel’, and ‘Angel’s transfer to the Hope Theatre in London.
“Returning to Milford, I was the Deputy Stage Manager for ‘Of Mice and Men’, and the panto ‘Sleeping Beauty’. 2023 is exciting, as I will be stepping up as Stage Manager.”
Her stage manager roles have taken her across Wales and beyond. Her recent productions include being Stage Manager on the book for ‘Assassins: The Musical’ (WAVDA), and Assistant Stage Manager for the Welsh language production ‘Pijin’ (Theatr Genedlaethol and Theatr Iolo). She has also worked on various events, including as Stage Manager for RWCMD’s ‘Annual Evening of Music and Drama for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’.
But there’s nothing quite like working at a theatre that you attended as a child and being inspired by its productions. Taking on the Stage Manager role with its challenges was just up Tyla’s street.
She added: “I love working at the Torch, and I have very much looked forward to coming back here on every show for the last three years. I enjoy coming back to the community that has been built here, and I am passionate about being a part of that community.
“I was lucky enough to have the Torch as my local theatre growing up, and it is a large part of the reason why I wanted this to be my career. The Torch was a great representation of what professional theatre can be, and it was right on my doorstep. I am also very appreciative of the opportunities the Torch has given me: my first DSM job in 2021, my first tour of Wales, my first Stage Manager job, going to work at Edinburgh Fringe on not one but two shows, and hopefully many more.“
Private Lives (Noël Coward) can be seen at the Torch Theatre from Wednesday, October 4 until Saturday, October 21 and it’s most definitely a drama not to be missed.
“I think it will be a great production. I’m excited to see it all come together – set, props, costume, and I’m very excited for everyone to see what we’re all working so hard on. The set has been brilliantly designed by Kevin Jenkins in an art deco 1930’s style, so it’s going to be like stepping into the past! It will be a very big task for myself and my team, but I know at the end it will look amazing, and I’d love for everyone to come and see just how great it is!
“This year, my role is a bit different to what I usually do. Previously, I have been the Deputy Stage Manager, and my job has been to sit in rehearsals, make notes on everything that happens, distribute the schedule every day to the entire company, produce meeting minutes after production meetings, and ensure that everyone knows everything that they need to from the rehearsal room.
“During technical rehearsals (the time in which we put everything onstage with the set, costume, props, lighting and sound), my job is to sit on the side of stage with my script, and cue the show. This basically means I tell everyone what to do – when to change the lights, when to play sound effects, when to move furniture etc. This year, I’m the Stage Manager on book, which means I do all of the above, and more, including managing the ASM’s and ensuring all props are bought or made, working with the Production Manager on schedules, solving any problems that inevitably arise, running the technical rehearsals, and general running of the production.”
She concluded: “I hope people will do their best to support the Torch by coming to see ‘Private Lives’ and the panto, and continue to support by coming to see future shows. The Torch is an invaluable asset to our community, and it needs all the help it can get to ensure that not only ourselves, but future generations of Pembrokeshire can continue to benefit from the art that the Torch produces.”
Tyla will be joined by Rebecca Evans and Bethan Elsbury. Both are Assistant Stage Managers and attended the University of Wales Saint David’s, Carmarthen.
Rebecca said: “My role is quite challenging as sometimes you have to find very specific items and have to stick within a limited budget and time frame but I do love working here and I hope I can work on more productions here in the future.”
Working on Private Lives at the Torch Theatre is the first job for both after graduating and although challenging, it’s going well as Bethan explains:
“It’s great to be able to put what we’ve learnt into practice and learn more along the way, surrounded by a supportive group of people. Prop sourcing is our main focus so far and this is a prop heavy production, therefore there are a number of things to source in little time. Remaining organised throughout the process can be difficult but it helps to rely on the props list and ensuring to update it constantly.”