Thekla’s boss describes what it’s really like to work on a ship that’s a nightclub

Since 1984, a Bristol-based venue has been at the forefront as a venue for live music entertainment and clubbing – garnering national acclaim.

Currently considered Bristol’s “cultural hotspot” for its contribution to music, Thekla is arguably best known for its unique history dating back to 1958.

Moored in Bristol Harbour, Thekla was first built as a freighter in Germany which served as a coastal trading vessel across Europe.

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As Thekla now serves as a vessel for drum and bass music, while helping prepare locals to navigate their weekend instead, we spoke to a key figure behind the club’s success about its inner workings and its background.

Alex Black, Managing Director of Thekla, spoke about his experience managing the renowned hospitality industry and what makes Thekla truly special.

He said: “What’s great about this place and this company is that there is also work in festivals that you can get involved in, as well as work in different places.

“There are a lot of ways to branch out and still play the same role and taste it somewhere else.”

Alex has been in the hospitality industry since the young age of 16, where he started collecting glasses in a pub.

Through gradual progression, he managed to land the position of General Manager at Thekla, where the fast-paced atmosphere fueled his passion for music and business.

Speaking at England Tourism Week, Alex said: “My life is all about music. I like going to concerts and listening to music. So when I come to do my job, I’m just myself. I don’t need to put on a face like people do in other corporate offices.

“Working in Thekla doesn’t have a typical day. My role is probably 50/50 between events and commercial management. So a lot of the operational work takes place in my office and the rest is organizing events on site.

“In the office, I take care of inventory control, operational planning, financial forecasting and promotional work. My role is therefore quite broad. I really appreciate the variety.

Inspired by his decades of knowledge and experience in the industry, Alex hopes he, in turn, can become a champion for newcomers to the hospitality industry.

Speaking candidly about his career, Alex hopes to use his platform by offering tools to help others achieve long-term success.

As the named ‘Moment Maker’, that’s exactly what it’s aiming for.

The position was recently launched in cohesion with the Jobs Connect talent platform which helps recruit young residents across the West of England into suitable roles in hospitality.

Alex says with his special role he can change perceptions of working in hospitality, which he sees as a highly skilled career for a lifetime.

“My life is all about music. I love going to concerts, I love listening to music. So for me, being a creator of moments is first and foremost about customers coming to live concerts. “

“My life revolves around music. I like going to concerts, I like listening to music. So for me, being a creator of moments is above all the customers who come to the concerts.

“I really remember my first gig, how much I enjoyed it and being able to give someone that experience at your workplace is a great feeling.”

Jobs Connect launched on March 16 and is backed by a West of England Combined Authority campaign led by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

To learn more about Jobs Connect, visit the website here.

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