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Matilda The Musical’s Rebecca Treanor on what goes on behind the scenes at one of London’s biggest shows

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Stylist Team
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Work/life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Rebecca Treanor talks us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights out.

Rebecca Treanor, 30, is general manager of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London. She lives in southeast London with her husband, daughter and dog.    

My alarm goes off…

At 6am. I have a five-month-old, so the first thing I do is feed her. I work long hours, so for those 40 minutes I give her my total attention. Then I’ll check emails, jump in the shower and get us both dressed. I usually wear high-waist jeans and Dr Martens; it’s a creative environment so we’re not into business suits. I drop my daughter off at nursery on my way to the office, which is above the theatre. 

I’m responsible for…

The successful execution of Matilda The Musical on behalf of the producers. This involves everything from running the budget to contracting actors. I manage a team of three. 

I got the job…

By studying theatre at drama school. I knew I didn’t want to be an actor, I had a problem with control. I remember thinking, who’s the person in charge? I want that job! After much hounding, I got a job at production company Bill Kenwright Ltd when I was 23; it was a baptism of fire. I went on to work on everything from Billy Elliot to Memphis and started in my current position two years ago. 

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My typical day...

Starts with expressing milk in the office. Then, I’ll eat breakfast at my desk. I am that awful person who makes their own granola and brings it in.

The job is enormous, so it varies a lot day-to-day, but often I’ll start by reading the nightly report from Matilda House, which is where some of our Matildas and Bruces live while the show is on. It tells us how they’ve been post-show, when they went to bed, what they ate. The house parents are gorgeous, I wish they could look after me.

Then, I’ll catch up with our company manager. We might chat about what props need to be painted or actor’s contracts. People management is a large part of the job. If we are in a cast change period, which happens twice a year, then I’ll spend a lot of time in rehearsals. Often, I’ll sit at the back of the auditorium with my laptop and get on with my work. I look after all our outgoing payments, even petty cash, so I could be approving things for that, too.

I don’t remember the last time I took a lunch break. I usually eat something I’ve brought from home, like a bulgur wheat salad, at my desk. In the afternoon, I head down to the theatre to check in with the creative team and regularly stay to watch the show. If I’m not staying, I run to the train station at 6pm to get home to put my child to bed. 

Rebecca is responsible for the day-to-day running of the show - props included

My most memorable work moment…

Was when we performed When I Grow Up on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night. We’ve done lots of big, glamorous shows, but there was something beautiful about hearing it stripped back. You focus on the powerful lyrics.

The worst part of my job…

Is the fact I can’t bring my dog, Ted. We do everything together.

The best part of my job…

Is seeing any child’s opening night. The moment Matilda first walks down the stairs clasping books in her hand… my heart is in my throat.

Opening night is the highlight of the job

After work…

I feed, bath and read a story to my daughter, then I jump back on emails while cooking something by Ottolenghi. I’m always contactable, so I might get a call that one of the children isn’t feeling well mid-show. I try to be in bed by 10pm.

My Plan B: Foreign Secretary

Growing up, the only travelling I did was to Benidorm with my parents. So the older I’ve become, the more of the world I’ve tried to see. I think the only way to really understand a culture is to understand its policies, so I’m going to go big and say I’d like to be foreign secretary. 

Photography: Holly McGlynn

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