In Conversation With...

Issue 100

Paula Mitchell - Sales and Development Manager, Sunderland Empire Theatre.

What were your career ambitions growing up?

I’ve always loved theatre but never appreciated the diverse roles available in the sector, my passion for the performing arts and live entertainment inspired me to pursue a career in this area. I originally had a voluntary position at a local theatre, then moved on to a casual box office assistant and worked up from there.

Tell us about your current role.

My current role is to collaborate with local businesses to help them make our audience members their clients or customers through exciting sponsorship opportunities. I look after our 1907 Corporate Club, which offers great brand awareness as well as ticket allocations for the year to be used as a unique way of entertaining clients or for treating staff with the best that live theatre has to offer.

What is your proudest business achievement?

My proudest achievement has occurred recently with the run of Disney’s Aladdin, it’s always a very busy time when a show of this size visits the theatre but working with a Company that I’ve admired for many years was a real highlight.

How has your industry changed in the last decade?

Covid dramatically changed the landscape of the sector, and it took a while for producers to regain the confidence to take shows out on the road again which led to a sketchy time with rescheduled shows filling the programme. Fortunately, our audience soon came back in their masses to appreciate the breathtaking experience of live theatre once again which in turn gave producers the assurance to tour shows out of London for us all to enjoy!

What are you currently working on?

Although we’re not even at Summer yet, it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas so I am looking to find a sponsor for this year’s Panto. This partnership is one of our biggest offers as a lucky business can have their logo on panto artwork for all future print and digital ads, show tickets for staff or chosen charities but also script mentions or product placements in the production.

Tell us about the team you work with.

I work within the Marketing Team, and I’m constantly blown away with their amazing ideas to market the shows and reach new audiences on socials. We work well together to come up with exciting collaborations to sell the shows while also putting local businesses in the spotlight. It’s a joy to come into work every day with this glorious team.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?

I was once handed a post card at a business event: ‘People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, But people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I think it shows the importance of building relationships and truly being yourself to build trust and make people feel comfortable.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was leaving a company that I had been at for 11 years. You can easily get comfortable within a role and stick with what you know, but it was a gamble that has paid off and it’s allowed me to grow within my career in theatre.

Who are your heroes inside and outside of business ?

My hero in business is Sara Davies, not only has she has built a fantastic business from a young age, but she shows that you can be a successful entrepreneur while remaining approachable and kind.

Outside of business my hero is my twin sister, Kathryn. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her cheering me on in all that I do.

What does the future hold?

We have some outstanding shows heading our way, most notably Hamilton for 2025! I hope to engage with more businesses and welcome them to our magnificent theatre for these spectacular shows with truly bespoke experiences.

How do you unwind outside of work?

Ironically, by going to the theatre…so I am in the perfect job!

Favourite Boxset?

My favourite boxset is Friends; it has been my go-to series for many years and always puts a smile on my face.

Sign-up to our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.