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21 February 2018


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Bitterne Parker: Rosanna Sloan
Sunday, 12 June 2016 00:00

Rosanna Sloan 2 bitterne parker
Rosanna Sloan is the Artistic Director of theatre company Unexpected Places (one of the partner organisations now running Cobbett Hub & Library), and youth theatre organisation Acting UP. She trained as an actress and theatre practitioner on Rose Bruford’s European Theatre Arts course and toured internationally when she graduated, before settling back in at home in Southampton. She works as a director, puppeteer and facilitator – and says her car is often impossible to get into as it’s filled with different sets, puppets and materials!

The Qs & the As

What's your link with Bitterne Park

Unexpected Places is now based at Cobbett Hub & Library and so I work there, bringing arts and cultural events, activities and performances to Cobbett. We have already had one fantastic show on our open day, paving the way for more to come!

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

I remember walking from Swaythling to the Bitterne Park Triangle with friends and enjoying the sunshine through the park!

How could the area be better?

I think the area could be better if people felt connected to the place in which they live and to their neighbours. I hope that Cobbett Hub can help to grow an even greater sense of community spirit!

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

 The green chairs in the main library at Cobbett are all original! They have been out and used everyday since the library opened in 1939, and they are still going strong.

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?

Things are changing in Southampton. There used to not be very much ‘on’. But that is really starting to change now as more people are focussed on bringing arts and cultural events into the city. With a new arts complex about to open, and some much needed funding starting to creep into Southampton we are now on our way to becoming a thriving hub of activity, where there is always something interesting happening.

What’s your passion in life?

I have seen how theatre can change people’s outlook on life and their view of the world. I have seen theatre and drama help people cope when they feel there is nowhere left to turn, give people confidence, help people realise they can do anything they put their mind to, and bring joy and entertainment. So I think I will have to be cheesy and say drama!

How do you put bread on your table?

Rosanna Sloan 1 bitterne parker

Directing, puppeteering, teaching - writing ghost tours for Prague tourists, teaching ice skaters how to add emotion to their routines, showing four-year-olds how to be silly and adults how to be like four-year-olds! A lot of different (and sometimes slightly strange) jobs come my way!

What has your career taught you?

If you think you can do it, you can do it.

What really gets your goat?

Mess! Or I should say other people’s mess…. I like everything to be very organised, even though sometimes my organisation might look like mess. I hate it when people have thousands of unread emails (they are junk - just delete them!) and when my younger students say they are feeling worried about exams (why do children under 12 need exams!) - which worries me as fun should be a big priority for children.

How do you relax?

I take my dog Lola for a nice walk, enjoy a glass of wine in a pub garden and see friends who are every bit as silly as me!

Which is your favourite pub?

At the moment (although this is not in Southampton) I like The Chairmakers which is out Wickham way - it has lovely food and a brilliant atmosphere.

What are you drinking?

Prosecco for me please. Or a Pimms. Or a Cocktail…..

What do you listen to?

I mainly listen to Radio One and sing Beyonce incessantly at the top of my voice, or songs from musicals.

Can you recommend a really good read?

Just one! I work in a library how can I pick just one? Erm… ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s not a book I would usually go for, but it was recommended to me and I loved it. So clever, so fascinating and a gripping read. Come down to Cobbett and I’ll reserve a copy for you!

What’s a great day out?

Anywhere that involves enjoying time off with friends, family and my dog Lola.

What scares you?

The pressure that children are put under at school, when people can’t remember the last book they read, people who don’t like Harry Potter and flannels!

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

An obligatory one-hour lunch break for all people to relax, sit and read a good book with a cup of tea/gin rather than eat and work across their lunch break … like I am doing now.

What’s on your ‘bucket list’?

  • Play live action hungry hippos (Google this now if you don’t know what it is)
  • Be made into a muppet puppet
  • Find Narnia
  • Get my Hogwarts letter


Tell us a joke

Why didn't the thief burgle the library?

Because he was afraid the judge would give him a long sentence.

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

What did you want to be when you were ‘grown up’?

 Thanks so much for taking part!

Cobbett Hub & Library’s website is here.  Unexpected Places’ website is here.

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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