Barry Stewart Hunter is one of a growing number of volunteers at Ally Pally. In this blog he explains his role and inspiration:
It’s big and bold. In some people’s eyes it’s not exactly beautiful, but that’s okay with me. Alexandra Palace means many different things to many different people, but I don’t think I could live in north London without its open spaces on my doorstep. As a writer, I often need a place to kick a mental football around.
I came to volunteering via Friends of Alexandra Palace Theatre. It’s been a pleasure to watch the redevelopment project come to fruition ‘from the inside’. With its legacy of arrested decay, the reopened theatre has a unique physical presence which unites performers, audiences, staff and volunteers in a shared experience.
Being a theatre volunteer means ensuring every guest has the best possible time. There’s something about not being paid to discharge this simple enough task that makes it a bit special. I can’t explain why. That’s just the way it is.
Of course, volunteering is about more than the new theatre, and I really enjoyed helping out at the Biblio Buzz event. Designed to encourage reading, the annual event where students take part in a competition to identify the most popular story from a short list of authors.
I also help out at the Wellness Café. These monthly sessions bring senior citizens together for a cuppa and to take part in creative activities. Sometimes they have a forensic recollection of things that happened a long time ago and you can see these memories put a sparkle in their eye.
But, for me, the theatre is at the heart of the volunteering experience at Ally Pally. Just being inside the auditorium, together with a merry band of fellow volunteers, is a good thing to be doing. Part of our ethos is to ‘be there’, not just for audiences and performers, but for each other too. I like that idea.
Barry is a copywriter and editorial consultant (mostly by day), and a novelist and screenwriter (mostly by night). He lives in Wood Green.
If you would like to volunteer at Ally Pally find our more here
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.