Pull Back The Curtain // April 2023

Pull back the curtain… is inspired by the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Toto reveals the machinery, smoke and mirrors behind the projection of the Great and Powerful Oz. This exhibition aims to reveal, to our visitors, the staff that work behind the scenes and make the magic happen at South Hill Park.

Simon Peter Green was a production manager for many years and is very aware of all the hard work that goes on, in the background, unnoticed. His project aims to reveal who is behind these seemingly ‘effortless’ operations.

This work was commissioned by South Hill Park Arts as a feature of their 50th anniversary. It was exhibited in the Atrium Gallery in June 2023

Zoe Pembroke – Dance Tutor

I bring fun I bring enjoyable classes for everybody from all walks of life. all abilities, everybody’s welcome at our classes.

South Hill Park provides for everybody within the community. I don’t think there’s anybody who wouldn’t find something to do here. You’ve got the theatre, you’ve got dance, you’ve got the gardens, you’ve got the restaurant. It provides something for everyone and it’s a beautiful place.

It’s beautifully kept, the facilities are amazing, the dance studio is huge and it’s so well equipped.

You’ve got great shows that come and tour and I think it provides for everybody. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place.

Roger Prynn – Gallery Technician 

You don’t often get gallery spaces like this, even though some of the gallery spaces have been changed to the print rooms now.

You don’t often get purpose-built gallery spaces like the ones here that were built in the 80s. it’s important to make these spaces last as long as possible because once they’ve been changed or once they’ve gone they’re gone that’s it. 

Putting them back is harder than it looks.

Azariah Thomas – Student

My main contributions are within the courses that I’m doing so pretty much almost every production role I’ve done has been for my grade. 

I did some production work for my school’s show of Little Shop of Horrors and that was because they needed extra help and we were all there to help.

I live up in Slough and the first time I ever came here was probably in the summer last year.

From being here less than a year you see so many people of different ages coming in. You see kids out there playing in the gardens, you see like elderly people coming here to have a coffee and admiring all the different art exhibits. There’s people going to the theatres and people who rent out different rooms for different events. It’s an amazing spot for the community there’s something for everyone there’s even a cinema.

Basia Gorska – Printmaker In Residence 

I’m an artist in residence and a tutor. I bring my print making skills which I have acquired by studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow in Poland. 

South Hill Park brings so many incredible and beautiful things to people. Culture, arts and crafts

which are a little bit lacking in this area. 

It’s always a joy to work with creative people. I’m very fortunate to have the job that I do. People come here to ask for my advice, to gain experience and knowledge. I have a great job and I’m able to practice what I have studied.

Loucia Manopoulou – Curator

I’m working on the exhibition program and bring in interesting exhibitions for the South Hill Park audience.

This venue is really important for the artists because it gives them the opportunity and a platform to experiment and play with ideas and to communicate these ideas to the public and the community. 

I believe that somehow art works magically providing people with an alternatively to see and understand complex issues. 

As a curator my aim is to bring together different communities, groups and organisations.

Mick Probert – Projectionist

We provide a decent presentation, a magical show for the customers. They come in and experience the film, and particularly, they enjoy the surroundings because this is a unique Cinema. We’ve grown to be a central part of the community.

The building itself is historic. I used to play in the grounds when I was a kid and get chased off by the security. It’s been here for a long time, and to me it’s something special. You don’t often find a mansion in the middle of a housing estate that provides such a unique mixture of entertainment and interest.

It’s just somewhere that local people should treasure because it’s not the normal place you get in many, many towns. 

Bracknell is lucky to have it.

Craig Titley – Chief Executive

I have the overview and oversight of the whole organisation, the whole charity and the business. I coordinate and prepare the strategy with the board of trustees. 

A lot of people see the Arts as just a form of entertainment, and of course we are that, however the arts in general and certainly at South Hill park, have a social and economic impact on the town and its residents.

A lot of hard work goes into these productions but it always pays off for various different reasons, and a lot of that is for the benefit of our community.

Sam Morrison – Catering Assistant 

I overlook the day to day running off the bar and restaurant and various back of house things like the cellar, helping Lisa where needed. I work quite a bit on recruitment and training of current and new staff.

South Hill Park encompasses a wide range of different interests and activities. It Is a place that a lot of people from different backgrounds and groups use to meet up and enjoy their shared interests.

John Darvell – Contemporary Dance Tutor

Contemporary dance wasn’t here when I started over 13 years ago and we’ve grown from one workshop to three strong classes each week.

I’m incredibly grateful. This is my last term here, as I’m moving up to Scotland. It’s hard to say goodbye to this place because it’s about the people in it. The opportunities I’ve had have been vital to my creative practice as a professional choreographer. 

This dance studio is most probably one of the only places I can go where I feel like it’s a hug.

Jim Dillon – Volunteer Gardener 

I try and help to keep the place tidy, if things are tidy and good looking people will come more and more.

The gardens at South Hill Park are essential, especially for people who live in high-rise flats. They can come out and walk and see the trees and bring their doggies. 

It’s not just the garden it’s the whole thing. The arts centre put on plays and have various exhibits.

It’s not just the gardening it’s the people around you. It’s like a little club it really is a feeling of belonging, a home from home.

Kiran Eldon – Administrator 

I have my finger in lots of pies. It’s my job to arrange the contracts for the performances that take place in the Wild Theatre, the Recital Room and the Studio Theatre, amongst other things.

I’ve been coming here since I was in my 20s and you don’t get this kind of building in these sort of grounds and this environment. Now I work here, I see this more and more as well as realising how much they do for the community.

I have my dream job. Special. it’s just this place is special. I am getting emotional. It grounds me really well and it never feels like a hassle coming into into work.

Emily Cayless – Catering Assistant

I serve the customers keeping them happy, take their orders, make them coffee, make them drinks, bring out their lunches.

Where the venue sits is lovely. you get lots of walkers and people walking their dogs we are so handy for them and they just come and get a cup of coffee and they can sit outside or walk around the Lakes

It’s a lovely place to work I’ve been here a long time, working alongside great staff and great people.

Fransisco Madeira – Tutor

From the outset my contribution was to make myself available.

People came here knowing south hill park was without parallel and im just grateful that Peter Stark had this vision, created it and it grew from there and has never stopped growing. 

To this day we still do things that are quite unique .

I like to think that we have spent 50 years not just in being part of the environment but also being part of the community. 

The idea grew and the idea of a community-based art centre has has grown and flourished.

Lynne Hughes – Volunteer Gardener

I help to improve the weedless image of the gardens. We do a lot of weeding and cutting back so that the paths remain clear and people can enjoy walking through the park. I learn as I go.

This is a big place and it offers lots and lots of different aspects to the community. South Hill Park means a lot to me but also it’s a place for the community to come and enjoy.

Matthew Lacey – Box Office and Sales

My main role is to make sure the box office operates smoothly.

Our role is making sure the people of Bracknell and elsewhere get the chance to see and experience and to understand we wouldn’t exist without their support. 

Lisa Turner – Catering 

I run the bar and restaurant and we deal with running the events and weddings.

This is a community hub where people can come for all different kinds of things whether it be to attend classes, going to the theatre or to come into the restaurant for something to eat or to have coffee with friends.

Simon Ludlow – Development Officer

I work within a small team who are responsible for shoring up the gap between ticket sales and the running costs of the organisation of the Arts Centre.

This is a cultural centre for the whole of Berkshire. We aim to be the Cultural Center for the Arts Business and Community. Our whole focus is on making the Arts accessible for everyone. 

Where we are different from a commercial operation is that we’ll take on projects that won’t necessarily make a profit. We are about supporting new artists and providing professional opportunities for training and for excelling within the Arts. 

Claire Morgan – Finance 

I raise the sales invoices for all of our events.

Until I started working here I didn’t realise what the place was about and the magic that exists here. 

The building is fantastic, the many exhibitions here are brilliant and it’s just a lovely place to come to work every day.

Margaretha Welsford – Sales and Marketing 

My role is to Market and sell tickets, shows and courses alongside meetings and events so that we have a Revenue stream that can be used for the work that we do in the community.

We see ourselves as Berkshires centre for the Arts business and Community. that means that Arts would always come first. We are an Arts Center but we are keen to work with businesses as well as doing a lot of work with the community.

We are a unique space to engage with and we inspire people to be connected to the Arts. I think that’s a really important thing in life and in the wider community.

Steve Parrot – Office Administration

I manage the administration of South Hill Park acting as HR and IT manager.

South Hill Park is invaluable place to have in Bracknell. After I came to work here I realised how much goes on at South Hill Park and what a great thing it is for the local community to have; the theatre, comedy nights, music, exhibitions all the activities that go on here, even hiring spaces for parties or wedding receptions. 

There’s not a huge amount of places around where you can do that and in such a beautiful environment. The place itself is beautiful, the building and the gardens. 

South Hill Park brings real value to the local area.

Robert Allen – Maintenance Coordinator 

Mark Hooper – Learning Participation and Community Engagement