General Manager of the Barrington Centre in Ferndown
Andy Bryant, joined the Barrington Centre as its general manager on 24 March.
At only 37 he is a young man who intends to move the centre forward and is already putting together a 100 day plan.
Tiered seating, and a balcony are just part of his great vision for improvements to the theatre and being a hands-on person, he’s used to making things happen.
In his previous job as manager of the Allendale Centre in Wimborne, he completely refurbished the café and undertook much of the work himself. Now that’s what you call dedication.
Andy is looking forward to working with the Ferndown Community Association committee of trustees and making a business case for the entire building. “I will start at the front and work to the back,” he says. “I want to deliver the right standards and have got the support. There is a strong volunteer force here, which is amazing, and I want to make sure everyone is on board.”
“There are grants that can help towards new staging and because the FCA is a charity we can engage people and encourage them to donate. It’s all about getting people into the building to increase occupancy and to keep them coming back.”
Making the building efficient, improving the lighting and décor and opening the bar on a more regular basis are also on Andy’s list of ‘to do’ things.
A family man with two sons, James (3) and Harry (17 months), it is only natural that Andy sees the Barrington offering much more for children and families.
“I want to get kids and toddlers in here, so will be bringing in soft play and bouncy castles,” he says.
He’d like to introduce children’s parties and make good use of every inch (or should that be centimetre?) of the building.
As far as the shows go, Andy’s management skills combined with his musical background will pay dividends for the centre. “I play guitar and my Dad plays bass with a local band. I’ve grown up in a musical household and love music. It has been my solitude,” he says.
He does admit that with two toddlers, he doesn’t have much time to play his guitar these days, but he is looking forward to booking more shows at the Barrington and seeing more big events taking place there.
Does he have any hidden talents? His cooking is pretty good. When serving in the Merchant Navy he was in catering on the supply ships for the Royal Navy.
“It was very hard work,” he says. “Four months at sea, and two months off.”
The bonus was that he got to travel around the world, twice! He also received two NATO service medals, one for the last Gulf War and the other for his Merchant Navy service in Sierra Leone.
On meeting and marrying Gemma, life changed and his feet are now squarely on the ground as he provides for his growing family.
With lots of new challenges ahead at the Barrington Centre, he says, “I am very lucky to be here.”