From time to time, we invite a person we admire, from any walk of life, to come and have lunch with us and talk about their experiences. Yesterday we welcomed Peter Wilson MBE to the Spring studio as he became the latest of our Spring Heroes.
Until last December, Peter was CEO of Norwich Theatre Royal, and during his 25 years there he turned what was a struggling regional theatre into a venue that attracts some of the biggest West End shows, regularly sells out performances and is supported by 12,000 Friends – seven times the average.
His theatrical production business, PW Productions, is the home of famous theatrical plays including The Woman in Black on the stage, and he described the perilous and challenging journey from opening the production to the success it now enjoys.
He emphasised the importance of having the confidence in your vision to follow it through – after problems at The Strand and the Playhouse Theatre he finally secured the venue he initially wanted, and it has run at the Fortune Theatre ever since. Only The Mousetrap has run continuously for longer.
A similar attitude saw him tour An Inspector Calls after it had run at the National. Conventional wisdom said the play was finished but Wilson had the vision and followed it through to prove everybody wrong. It is still successfully touring twenty years on.
Engaging and insightful (and including a story about how Tina Turner’s plane once saved one of his productions in Australia at the last minute), Peter made for a thoroughly enjoyable Spring Hero.