Pat Mitchell, Stage Door Keeper, The Mousetrap, St. Martin’s Theatre
My name is Patrick Mitchell, but everyone calls me Pat. I’m the Stage Door Keeper for Mousetrap, a job I’ve been doing for a good number of years.
Stage Door Keeper, just briefly, involves looking after the backstage areas, taking care of the needs of not only the cast, but also backstage staff as well, show staff, checking mail, making sure everybody’s satisfied and really, just helping things to run smoothly, really.
What made you want to work in theatre?
I started working in theatre about 36, 37 years ago, working backstage. And then I got into other parts of the business. I was wardrobe for a while, box office, did some stints as front of house. To be honest, theatre’s been my life now for most of my life; I’m55 now! I love the business. When we were on lockdown, I didn’t realise how much I actually missed going into work, missed that interaction with people. And it made me realise more and more that I love my job.
Once we reopened again, I was immediately back on it. I just thought, I want to get back. I’m grateful for being furloughed but at the same time, I didn’t like being at home for all of the time. I like being out and about – I’m a social animal in a way.
I love it. I love what I do. I love this show. I love the fact that I work for the world’s longest running show. And it’s one of those shows that people still want to come and see – people all over the world come see this show. And I have proof of that because the amount of people that come stage door to get their photos, selfies with the actors and have the actors sign their programme. I’ve met a lot of people from different parts of the world. So, it’s such a lovely job. It’s such a unique job, it’s such a unique show. It’s a unique place to work.
What was lockdown like?
I remember coming into work on the 12th of March. Boris Johnson made the announcement that [he’d] advised theatres and restaurants to close to the public, and it was horrible. Because it’s something we’ve never experienced before. And then once we were in lockdown it, it was just a matter of just getting on with it. But I didn’t find it a very nice experience. I just did it. It affected [my] mental health as well. But I had things to do, I found other things to do. But to be honest with you, it’s not something I’d want to go through again. I’m strong, I know I can handle it, but it’s not something I’d want to do again.
I love being back at work. I love being back. You know, even doing things like this. Just being back. You know that’s the thing, and we do tend to underestimate that. The fact that as far as I’m concerned, people need people. I know we say we don’t but we do. We need this, we need just to be around each other. We were all locked in like caged animals. You know, I suppose the metaphor would be being fed meat through the cage. Not for me. Some people thrive and that’s fine, but I don’t. That’s all I can say, really.