Barney's blog

Life at the Barn

Hi, I’m Barney – your behind the scenes peek at everyday Barn life. We’ll talk to the movers and the shakers, the artists and the makers, but we’ll also hear from the weeders, the tech dudes and the neighbours. In fact everyone and everything is fair game, in a bid to find out just what makes this great place tick.  We’ll look into the past, find out what’s happening right now and try to predict the future. We’ll try to unpick the complicated and creative being that is the Barn, from roots to roof and back again. I’m looking forward to seeing you here and hearing your comments too!

Meet caretaker Graeme

Have you ever wondered who creates the magical transformation from fair to theatre, craft session to beer festival and back again? Well, it isn’t elves as you might imagine around this time of year, the behind the scenes magic is performed by caretaker/handyman Graeme MacKinnon along with some trusty helpers. 

Graeme retired five years ago after a lifetime in the motor trade, and moved with his wife from Alford to Banchory to be near the grandchildren. After a couple of months, he saw an advert in the Piper for a caretaker role up at the Barn, and has been here ever since, in fact he is currently the longest serving employee.

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Graeme McKinnon

He says, ‘I’d never had anything to do with art before, and it was a real eye-opener for me. One of the first things I had to do was help hang an exhibition, which was a pretty steep learning curve! I really enjoy being part of the Barn, and feel very invested in the fabric of the place. No day is the same, we can be hanging fairy lights one day and cleaning up after a beer festival the next, it certainly isn’t boring.’

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Graeme, along with helpers Chris, Ranald and Dave regularly turn the versatile space into cinema style (no aisle), the 240 seat maximum for something like KT Tunstall or Phill Jupitus, or set up the raked seating for the best views of a theatre performance on the stage. They might be putting out the jigsaw carpet for a baby-friendly screening, changing the timing of the car park lights to suit the time of year, or just performing essential cleaning, maintenance and safety tasks. He regularly meets with Cath du Preez, the operations manager, Kev the sound and lights man, and whoever is leading a project to discover just what exactly each unique production needs and when that has to happen.

Graeme is part of a dedicated and enthusiastic team here at the Barn, each with their own strengths and skills but working together to make our Yuletide bright!