New theatre boss and Friars supremo ready to do business again

Jamie Baskeyfield
Jamie Baskeyfield
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He’s only been in the job for two months but the Waterside’s new boss can already count repairing the fractious relationship with the Friars Club as a significant achievement.

Jamie Baskeyfield and Friars supremo David Stopps both agree they ‘got on like a house on fire’ when they met for the first time.

It draws an end to the tension which existed during previous boss Elizabeth Adlington’s tenure when Mr Stopps claimed the theatre was not interested in working with the music club – indeed, it is now hoped gigs will return to the Waterside next year.

Mr Baskeyfield, who has previously worked as a live music promoter, said: “I think David was impressed by my industry knowledge and my genuine energy and enthusiasm to get something going for an Aylesbury audience. His experiences before had rather tainted his enthusiasm to return but I think I re-energised his enthusiasm.”

Mr Baskeyfield said his first impression of the job was there was an ‘awful lot of people to keep to keep happy all of the time’.

His charm offensive also includes attempting to make ticket prices fairer and venue hire charges more flexible.

As an example of the former, prices of some of this season’s panto tickets have been lowered with a number of £10 tickets available, while the criteria for family tickets has also been significantly relaxed.

And on venue hire charges he said: “Aylesbury Vale District Council want us to create a model that works for the community. If you don’t ask you don’t get. If the local community wants to hire a space they should be asking – they should not be put off by perceptions of a higher charge.”

He said the theatre was aiming to be less ‘rigid’ by looking at ways to offset the upfront charge.

To reach out to the community, Mr Baskeyfield is even publicising his email address (jamiebaskeyfield@theambassadors.com) so anybody can contact him directly with their comments.

“The message is we are learning through every experience we have.”

Mr Stopps said: “We were not going to do anything while the previous manager was there.

“This is a complete sea-change of attitude that has been brought to the venue.

“I came away feeling quite energised about it.”