Introduce us to you and your brand/work.
My name is Stuart Smith-Gordon and during lockdown I set up “Ice Cream At The Interval”. I missed going to theatres as it was such a huge part of my life. So with idle thumbs and a massive desire to visit their beautiful auditoriums again, I put a little theatre back in my life. I loved making toy theatres as a child and I thought I could use my skills to lovingly create and engineer a model version of the Royal Lyceum, Festival, Playhouse and Kings Theatre for fun. I wanted to celebrate these beautiful spaces and did this by absorbing every little detail they have to offer. With the support of my husband, I adapted them into model kits that could be assembled at home by other theatre fans.
How has your brand/work developed since you began?
Since then I have added other theatres from Glasgow, London and New York, totalling 35 theatres. Our illustration range has developed and expanded to art prints, postcards, greetings cards and notebooks. We are developing and expanding future ranges and are excited to be prototyping a wooden slot-together toy theatre for children that requires no cutting or gluing, to include scenes and characters. On our social media and private messages, theatre fans like myself can spend time with their favourite theatres again and start conversations, sharing missed and favourite experiences.
What do you consider to be your most popular product?
Our most popular products are the Royal Lyceum Theatre Model Kit and the King’s Theatre Edinburgh Model Kit. I am so proud of these theatres and delighted to see that customers also love them. The King’s is so impressive with it’s 18 boxes and the Lyceum really stands out with it’s royal blue and gold colours.
Tell us a little about a piece you are the proudest of?
This project has also helped me give back to Theatres and theatre charities who were perhaps facing an uncertain future. I've donated a portion of my sales to theatres and theatre charities to help keep the arts alive. I’m so proud of our Edinburgh Theatres and being able to share them with theatre lovers across the world is so rewarding. I love the idea that there is a mini Lyceum Theatre in New York and Sydney.
Do you have any past accomplishments you wish to share?
While theatres were closed it was impossible to visit inside these beautiful auditoriums, a real accomplishment was when Gary Avis of the Royal Ballet photographed my Royal Opera House Model in the actual auditorium. Our Savoy model has also been photographed in the auditorium. A number of our theatres have been used as re-opening night gifts to casts and crew which is a wonderful celebration. We have currently been shortlisted for a Creative Edinburgh Award.
How did you find out about SDX? And what made you apply to sell with us?
As a previous customer, awareness of the brand and to be surrounded by great talent
What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist/designer?
The most challenging aspect of our business has been growing followers and raising awareness of our products. We love them and think so many people will love them too, we just want to tell everyone about them!
How have you spent your time during lockdowns, any new hobbies or passions discovered?
Not one to have idle thumbs, I started this business during lockdown. I also turned to some restoration work - restoring both an antique theatre seat and rekindled my love of painting.
How do you think the pandemic will affect shopping habits and the retail industry moving forward?
It will be interesting this year how shopping habits will change having both an in-person and online presence will be important. Nothing beats being able to see the products in the flesh though which are so tactile!
What do you hope to gain from working with SDX going forward?
Gaining a high street presence is going to be wonderful for us, and expand our market to those who may not be aware of our work.
If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists/designers who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?
Do it for the love of it, have fun and don’t be afraid to push yourself a little beyond your comfort zone.
Tell us your favourite inspirational quote or best advice YOU were given.
“The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.” - Neil Gaiman