imagesHannah McDougall talks with man of many talents, David Goldthorpe, about his role in The Performance Arcade, and what it means to be an independent artist.

What is your involvement in the Arcade?

I’m working on the arcade as a production manager, and so my role is scheduling, logistics, and ensuring everybody has everything they need to do their roles.

What draws you to work in the arts?

I came into it from acting. I still perform as an actor and singer, but living in Wellington one has to diversify in order to make a living. When I produced my own show, I learned a lot about production and realized I had a lot of skills and got a lot of enjoyment out of it. So I moved into production managing more projects, principally because I get a great thrill out of solving problems. And, I enjoy the freelance lifestyle and the variety that comes with having a new job every 6 weeks. I work in the arts, because I have a great love of the arts. If I were to project manage boring office-like things, I would be bored.

Do you find work quite consistent?

I’ve always been of the mindset that if work isn’t coming in then you make it yourself. I’ve had an interesting balance over the last 8 years of either working for a group of people or creating work myself. I’ve managed to keep myself very busy. I’ve been doing my own show Chet Baker- Like Someone In Love  since 2007: I sing, play trumpet, shoot heroine, and yell at the audience. I’ve done 8 seasons over NZ, Australia, and England. Coming up later in the year I’ve got a big Australian tour, which will hopefully provide enough income that I won’t have to work for the rest of the year, but in practise, that’s not going to happen. Having a good project like that means I have an exciting time ahead. There doesn’t have to be pressure to take just any work, I generally take jobs that I’m really interested in.

How do you manage that?

You can only plan so far. I think that part of the thrill in working, as a freelancer is that you never really know where the next paycheck will come from. I arrived back in NZ on the 10th of December, and I had no work lined up what so ever, and I knew I was here until July. But I was confident that I would find something. I think that having a belief that work will come is very important, and I feel like it actually makes a difference. So I’m standing at the luggage carousel in Auckland, collecting my luggage, when I got the email from Sam about The Performance Arcde. So you know, stuff just falls into place…If you’re lucky. And sometimes it doesn’t!

And when it doesn’t?

I have to have other things that I can do. Like gap-fillers. I sing Frank Sinatra concerts and retirement villages and rest homes. I work casually as a projectionist at the Embassy Theatre. I do both of those things because I enjoy them to, not just because I desperately need to. The most important thing I’ve learnt as a freelancer? Live frugally! And budget! It means when the money actually does come in then you are in a place to pay back debts and save. And when money isn’t coming in, you can survive a little bit longer.

What are you most looking forward to at the Arcade?

I’m really looking forward to the Tesla performance. Having written the health and safety plans, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the Tesla performance. I’m also looking forward to seeing Beth Sometimes roller-skate around the waterfront blindfolded. Also there is an event that involves setting a light lots of paper boxes, should we get the fire permit! But mostly I’m looking forward to the atmosphere on the waterfront, being there everyday with a bunch of artists and enjoying the whole thing.


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