Arabella Neville-Rolfe was fresh out of university when she saw an ad in The Stage for PA to ‘Peter Thompson, the legend of theatrical PR’, she says. ‘It took a couple of years and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, but eventually he took me on as a junior publicist – where I learnt my craft!’
What do you love about it?
I love the act of crafting a press release – taking various elements (copy, key messages, relevant info, etc, etc) and weaving it into the final product…For me, it’s the key thing to get right, particularly these days where it may well be uploaded verbatim by certain outlets. I think getting the press release right is half the battle.
What have been the highlights?
I’ve been lucky enough to work on some absolutely mega West End musical classics – Chicago, Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys etc. My favourite ever show to work on was definitely Love Never Dies (despite the mixed reception it got!).
I don’t often get starstruck – but getting an opportunity to work on Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s play The Wipers Times meant that I got to spend some time with them in the Private Eye offices, which was hugely exciting for me as a long time fan and subscriber to the magazine!
There have been quite a few, mostly involving really difficult actors and producers – but I think it’s better to draw a veil to protect people’s reputations!
How has Covid-19 impacted on your profession?
With the closure of the theatres, most of my work has dried up – I’m lucky in that I have some wonderful clients whom I know will bounce back and go on creating amazing work as we come through this crisis. But it’s pretty grim short term…
What do you plan to do to get through this current crisis?
Take it hour by hour, day by day, week by week and month by month. Find gratitude in the small things.
How different do you think your life will be once we get back to normal?
I’m not sure any of us could answer this question with any certainty right now.
Anything you’d like to add?
Stay well, stay indoors, stay safe – and wash your hands!