Faulty Towers The Dining Experience Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

Interactive Theatre International: Interactive And Beyond

Interactive Theatre International: Interactive And Beyond

Alison Pollard-Mansergh is Founder and Artistic Director of Interactive Theatre International, producers of the globetrotting smash hit, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

What’s your background and how did ITI come about?
I grew up in New Zealand and was heavily involved in the performing arts from the age of five. But I worked as a teacher for seven years before joining a professional theatre company. It was there that I played Sybil for the first time, in 1992, in a ‘Fawlty Towers’ themed show.

Why Fawlty Towers and how do you innovate and grow as a theatre company?
I moved to Australia in 1995 and worked at finding an agent. It was harder than I’d hoped, so I developed the Fawlty show I knew and started my own: ITI’s ‘Faulty Towers The Dining Experience’ debuted on 24 April 1997 in Brisbane. It was, and still is, a mixture of scripted pieces and improvisation. Growth was organic, with increasing numbers of cast and performances around Australia. In 2008, we took the leap overseas and performed at Edinburgh Fringe – which was huge. It launched us internationally and we haven’t looked back. We’ve now appeared in 41 countries, have 13 teams of performers, and company bases in Brisbane and London. Also in 2008, I set a five-year plan to have a London West End residency; we did it in four, opening in October 2012. We’re still there today with six shows a week, we’re still touring too, and we’re returning for our 13th Edinburgh Fringe in August! PS… I never got that agent.

What does success mean to you?
Some highlights…
• Helping to achieve representation of women in theatre, to have women in high management positions, and to encourage a supportive working environment.
• Living my dream to perform professionally around the world.
• Surviving two bouts of cancer (2001 and 2010).
• Raising five amazing children, one of whom now runs the company’s day-to-day operations.

What are your plans for the future?
To maintain company growth with the magnificent staff and performers I have around me. And, having stopped performing, to continue running workshops and coaching others in the industry to achieve personal and professional success.

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience