IN HER roles backstage on some of the UK’s biggest theatre shows, Erin has had some fantastic jobs to do.
Top of her list, though, has to be making a famous car fly…
“I spent a year working in Back to the Future in the West End, and I had THE most exciting job,” she says.
“I started as tech swing, which means you cover a range of different things, and within two months I was head of special effects.”
Erin, who is from Craigton on the Southside of Glasgow, grins. “What a show - the most technically advanced I have ever worked on. I got to do a mixture of automation, pyrotechnics and illusions and, of course, I got to make the DeLorean fly.
“It really was the wildest year. I was flying by the seat of my pants, but it was a great challenge for me and an opportunity to grow and develop my skills.”
Erin is head carpenter on Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet, currently wowing audiences at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow.
The New Adventures dance production of Shakespeare’s timeless tale of forbidden love, which garnered universal critical acclaim when it premiered in 2019, stars Cordelia Braithwaite and Monique Jonas as Juliet and Paris Fitzpatrick and Andrew Monaghan as Romeo.
Glasgow-born dancer Euan Garrett, who began his career in the youth cast of New Adventures’ Lord of the Flies in Glasgow in 2014, plays both Benvolio and Fabian.
Erin’s love of drama started at school.
“I went to Lourdes Secondary and my drama teacher Mr Clugston helped me arrange work experience at his friend’s lighting company,” she says. “I guess that was my first real avenue into the backstage life.”
She adds, with a laugh: “My family would say I’ve always ‘performed’ since being a wee tot, though. Apparently, there was an after-dinner show every day in my house.”
Erin performed with local theatre groups and drama clubs, but realised quickly she was happier working backstage.
After a summer job with a music industry lighting company, she left school and studied technical theatre at Stow College (now Glasgow Kelvin) and then the University of the West of Scotland.
“All I really wanted to do was get a job at the Kings,” she says. “I had to wait until I was 18. Once I got in, I was mainly stage crew at the King’s and working a follow spot at the Theatre Royal - I also worked front of house for a wee while.”
Since then, Erin has rarely stopped, clocking in on the likes of Bat Out of Hell, Cilla: The Musical and Jersey Boys, where she covered seven different roles.
“I loved every minute of it,” she says. “The beauty of being a swing is you become a real jack of all trades and you see the bigger picture, because you understand what it takes from every department individually in order to get the end product.”
She has worked on a number of New Adventures productions, including The Red Shoes, since joining the company five years ago.
“Anyone who works for New Adventures will tell you the same thing, it is truly like a family,” she says. “Everyone works to the same high standards, and as a tight unit, to create these beautiful, captivating shows.
“Romeo and Juliet is especially close to my heart as it is the first show I ever did with the company. It is a true labour of love.”
She adds: “I just love that you are able to be part of something that is essentially escapism.
“For the few hours people watch our show, they are taken away from real life, and something about that just really makes my heart fuzzy.”
Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet is at the King’s until Saturday (September 30).