Multi-awarding winning visitor attraction Brunel’s ss Great Britain is launching its search for a new Mr Brunel – and asking for the public’s help.
It follows the last scheduled appearance of actor Martin Williamson as ‘Mr Brunel’ on board Brunel’s ss Great Britain during February half-term. He joined the museum attraction in Bristol in 2006 for the Brunel 200 bi-centenary celebrations.
Auditions for a new ‘Mr Brunel’, are due to take place within the next few weeks. There will be no height restrictions – engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel was five foot two inches – but the successful candidate is expected to have the ‘x factor’.
Actors will be invited to an initial interview at Brunel’s ss Great Britain, where they will have a chance to explore the visitor attraction and meet the visitor services team.
The best candidates will receive their ‘Mr Brunel’ challenge in a red envelope, which could include part of a speech or role play instruction. Each candidate will dress up in Victorian-style costume and be sent to a destination where they will become ‘Mr Brunel’, and encourage members of the public to vote for them.
Each will be filmed in action and the public will be asked to vote for their favourite ‘Mr Brunel’ online.
The actors will be encouraged to use their own initiative to generate support, from family and friends as well as the general public, through word of mouth and online social networking sites.
The two candidates with most public votes will go through to the final ‘audition’.
The ss Great Britain Trust’s Visitor Services and Retail Manager Keith Stanton commented: “Martin Williamson has been ‘Mr Brunel’ since 2006 and has excelled in the role, bringing a certain lightness of touch when interacting with visitors, staff and volunteers. Whilst the new Mr Brunel will bring his or her own interpretation to the role, he or she will also need to demonstrate the ‘x factor’.
“A willingness to learn about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the ss Great Britain and his other work, is important. Other essential ‘x factor’ requirements to work at the multi award-winning Brunel’s ss Great Britain, are a sense of fun, strong engagement with the public, as well as being a team player. Open to all, there are no height restrictions – the last Mr Brunel reached a giddying six foot.”
He added: “We decided to involve the public in the search for a new Mr Brunel, because the role has been hugely popular with visitors, and we thought it would be great to help showcase candidates’ talents, and we wanted to have some fun!”
The successful candidate will work during school holidays at Brunel’s ss Great Britain, take part in promotional activity (such as off site ‘street team’ and media work, plus some online activity such as ‘blogging’), as well as helping with ‘queue busting’ and general support for visitor services staff and volunteers. ‘Mr Brunel’ should also be willing to undertake out of season activities supporting for example corporate or familiarisation events. He will also need to be willing to develop an in-depth knowledge of the ss Great Britain and Brunel’s other works.
If you think you have the 'x-factor' and for more information click here.
The interview process will involve a panel interview and those shortlisted will go on to perform the role of Mr Brunel around the ship interacting with members of the public. The public will have the opportunity to vote for the Mr Brunel they consider best. The overall decision however lies with the interview panel.