Salt ‘n’ Sauce promotions recently announced the new appointment of their Managing Director, Mike Jones. Taking over from the much-loved and well-respected Kenny O’ Brien, Mike Jones, the Executive Director of The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, has accepted the invitation to join The Stand across the three cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle and spoke to The Fountain about his comedy preference.
TF: Well done on the new appointment, what is it about Salt ‘n’ Sauce and The Stand which inspired you to go for this role?
Well The Stand is just an amazing venue, I have been there a number of times. In my current role at the Brewery Arts Centre, I am up in Edinburgh every year seeing as many shows in the various areas that we programme with a view to bringing them to the Brewery. And what we programme here is comedy, we have a good year-round comedy programme and a comedy festival. So in a sense where better to go and see the real deal, The Stand, I have seen some amazing gigs in the Edinburgh venue and also the Glasgow venue as well. It was obviously wanting to work in one of those key Fringe venues but I am also very interested in how The Stand works in those other cities, Glasgow and Newcastle as well as Edinburgh.
TF: You clearly enjoy comedy, but what type of comedy do you enjoy?
I like all sorts really, I mean I am not above daft comedians but my preference is in the thought-provoking stuff, people who are trying to push the art form a little bit, people like Daniel Kitson, I love Stewart Lee although he’s becoming a bit too Stewart Lee these days I think. People like Simon Munnery, I saw him do a really good gig at The Stand about five or six years ago, so it’s yeah anything that’s not the Michael McIntyre end of the spectrum shall we say.
TF: As you mentioned before you have worked for the Brewery Arts Centre as well as the TUC here in Scotland, what do you think your experience will bring to The Stand, Salt and Sauce?
I think a love for comedy and entertainment across the board, what we do here at the brewery is we work in a range of different art forms but it’s all about bringing punters in, giving them a good time, a high-quality arts experience whether that’s comedy or contemporary dance but really trying to be ahead of the game in terms of what you are programming and all the other elements of a good night out in terms of food and drink and general vibe, which I think The Stand obviously does really well. In terms of what I do, I manage organisations, I manage people, I make things happen but at the heart of it is the programme and the creative aspect of what you are doing, that is why we all get out of bed in the morning.
TF: Regarding your plans for The Stand, for 2019 and going forward obviously you have the Fringe to contend with first but do you have any developmental plans you would like to share?
Not really at this stage I think, I am too busy focussing on all the loose ends that I need to tie up in my current workplace and I am not the sort of person that just wades into an organisation and takes it off in some random new direction in some kind of ego trip. So for me and Tommy Shepherd was saying to me, “take the first six months becoming acquainted with the organisation, meet the people, talk to the people, find out what makes them tick, and then identify ways in which we might be able to take the business across the three sites and the Fringe presence forward” but at the moment there is no masterplan to inform you about or role out, so I just want to ease my way into the organisation first and take on board what the people, who are already doing a really good job, and find out what their aspirations are for the organisation as well.