Backstage at The Lowry: Andy Heslop – Senior Security Officer


I’m a placid man, myself. Though I shouldn’t admit that, working in Security!

I work night shifts, some of the time. The first is always the easiest, out of the three nights, while the third and final shift is the hardest because you’re so tired.

On a day when you have to adapt from days hours to nights, I tend to stay in bed all day, or at least for as long as I can.

I’m not very good at sleeping in the day though – if I’m on nights I have to wear a face mask to sleep in the day. But at least as we approach winter it gets a bit darker.

But I’m not a hot milk man, and I don’t take any sleeping tablets. I just go home and get to bed straightaway.

The security here at The Lowry is 24/7. That’s because the building can be open virtually all day, every day.

It’s often open late – depending on the show or event, it can be open until two o’clock in the morning.

“The hours are long and some days go quicker than others, but I really enjoy the variety of working here…”

The presence of Security is to deal with all sorts of aspects within this big building, including everything that’s inside one of the galleries, for example. We’re an insurance.

My hours are about to change. I was doing Monday to Friday, 7am-4pm. But I’m just about to return to a shift pattern of three days, then three nights, then three off. Each day is a 12 hour shift. The wife’s not very excited about that, having got used to me being home at 4.30pm every day.

The pattern rolls on, so you could be working Saturday and Sunday days or Saturday and Sunday nights.

On my days off, which can be different every week, I always tackle DIY at home. There’s always something to do, something that the missus wants either making or decorating or painting.

Or I do the garden, or walk out dog. Rocky, he’s called. He’s a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a huge staffie who’s dead soft. They’ve got a mean-looking face but they’re soft as anything, even though he’s a massive dog.

As a Senior Officer you do have more responsibility. You make any of the more major decisions, and you’re looked to by the Officers for guidance.

If there’s a moment where a person wants to come into the building and we say no, and there’s an argument, then it’s up to someone like me to speak to them and sort it all out. You have slightly more authority.

Main Gallery 3
Security are on site 24/7, to protect the building including all the galleries

I like that responsibility, making the final decision. It’s on your head, but it gives you a sense of your role being important.

Recently, we had a drunk man who came into the building through Stage Door thinking this was the Lowry Hotel. He was adamant this was his hotel where he was saying.

We kept telling him it wasn’t, but it took a while to get him off the premises. He was demanding to be let in, at one in the morning! He wouldn’t leave at first, but in the end we persuaded him.

I enjoy working here because every day you meet different people, and every day is different.

Today has been a quiet day, but tomorrow could be completely hectic. The hours are long and some days go quicker than others, but I really enjoy the variety of working here.

We get to know quite a few cast members from the shows, seeing them coming through Stage Door every day.

We see some famous people knocking about. I’ve seen the likes of Peter Kay, John Cleese, and we had the Royal Variety Show here. That was good, full of stars. I saw the likes of Il Divo, Tony Bennett (who I stood next to), Cee Lo Green, Barry Manilow, Prince Edward….

One star came once, he had bodyguards and we were roped in to be part of his entourage. It can be good fun sometimes.

You get to know what some of these celebrities are like. Peter Kay was so down to earth when he was here. He’s brilliant, and I’ve met him quite a few times.