It’s HQ fact file time, and today the spotlight is on Tassos Stevens. Tassos first got involved with what was to become Coney in 2004 when he answered a ringing phone passed him by a stranger. He coined the name Coney as a front in 2006, and is now the (artistic) Director and runner (aka Joint Chief Executive) of the company.
Here’s one of Tassos’s favourite Coney moments: Coney HQ was housed for a while in a production company on a brains-for-desks swap. We made an Adventure in Learning with Unlimited Theatre, The Astronautical Challenge, which involved classes of primary school children help rescue their teenage mentors from being lost in a Kazakhstan desert. Only the children have the knowledge to guide the search and rescue pilot, so the head of the Unlimited Space Agency Mission Control – played alternately by myself and Tom Bowtell – has to make an emergency phone call live to their class. Tom and I would make that call from the board room of our production company hosts, then redirect the pilot with their intel.
We would leave the class in suspense for a few minutes, and then call them back, but signalling to all the rest of the production company staff in the open office for them to whoop and cheer as the Mission Control backroom staff. I loved that if you were a visitor to the office with no idea of what was going on, you would see all the staff suddenly leap to their feet and start cheering for no apparent reason for 20 seconds, and then sit down again, grinning.
Years later, after a show by Company 3, I was chatting with someone who turned out to have been a teacher for a class on this adventure, in a school for children with autism. She told me that this phone call had been so incredibly exciting for her students, they talked about it for months.
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