Suzy Barrett… Wig Supervisor and The Arts VA Client
At The Arts VA, we provide administrative support to our clients in lots of different ways. Here, wig supervisor, Suzy Barrett, explains how we were able to help her when she took on some unexpected work.
Over the last 19 years, Suzy Barrett has worked in the wig department of many West End shows as assistant wig supervisor, alongside working for the likes of the Royal Opera House, Madame Tussauds and as a wig maker.
For much of that time, she worked with Linda McKnight as her assistant and when she sadly passed away last year, Suzy was given the opportunity to take over some of Linda’s shows. It was at this time that The Arts VA started providing support to Suzy.
Please can you start by telling us a bit about your company and the work you do?
I never really wanted to supervise, but when Linda passed away just over a year ago now, some of the producers and designers on some of her shows asked me to take over. I’ve now ended up supervising and have taken on some other shows too. I’ve realised that it’s kind of what I’ve always done, I just haven’t had any dealings with the money side of things and all that. I was more involved with the practical side.
How did you come to work with The Arts VA?
Stefan Musch, who is one of Charlie’s other clients and also a wig supervisor, recommended her to me. I’m friends with quite a few other wig supervisors and I was asking them for advice about pricing and more of the business side of things, and that’s when Stefan recommended Charlie.
Had you worked with a VA previously?
No, I didn’t know what a VA was!
What kind of tasks were you struggling with?
It was more dealing with my contracts and fees - the money side of things and knowing what should be in a contract. So I could make sure I was getting the right offer and help dealing with the producers. I found this side of things difficult.
It helped to have someone to discuss it with. Charlie won’t tell me necessarily what I should be getting, but she’ll let me know if something sounds about right or if it’s wrong or we’ll discuss what I want to get. It helps to have someone to talk to and she knows what is acceptable and, when it comes to things like a retainer, what should be included and what shouldn’t be. I didn’t really know about that.
Have these tasks changed over time at all?
It’s only been about eight months, but I know if along the line I need help with other things that Charlie is there.
Do you have set hours each month or ad-hoc? Why does this work for you and the business?
I’m ad-hoc. Because I never know what I’m going to be doing, but also because when I was just starting out I was just doing a couple of shows that were Linda’s, so I wasn’t necessarily planning on carrying on, but now it’s got bigger. It helps to have someone there as and when work comes in.
What difference has working with a VA made?
Obviously, it has helped dealing with the producers, but I think they also take me a bit more seriously. It makes it less stressful, that side used to stress me out. It helps being able to discuss it with someone who knows the industry well and Charlie also chases things up for me, so I don’t have to worry about that.
What do you like about having a VA?
The support, the not having to do certain things myself and being taken more seriously.
Would you recommend The Arts VA?
I have already passed Charlie on to someone else!
The Arts News
This year the Norfolk and Norwich Festival celebrates an incredible 250 years! The flagship art festival for the east of England takes place between 13 and 29 May and will host an exciting 17-day programme of music, theatre, literature, visual arts, circus, dance and outdoor events.
Bat Out of Hell – The Musical is returning to the West End next year. The production, which is currently touring the UK, will run at the Peacock Theatre from February 17 to April 1. Casting is to be announced.
Get in touch!
If you have any questions about how The Arts VA could support you or your business, head to the contact page to arrange a chat with Charlie.