Marcia Levin is sailing on Cunard’s Queen Victoria on a transatlantic cruise.
Entertainment director Keith Maynard runs the show. ALL of the shows in the beautiful Royal Court Theater aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria.
He’s in charge of more than 100 men and women who comprise the entertainment staff and schedules the production numbers, the singers, dancers, magic acts, pianists, comics, 24-piece orchestra, plus trivia games, guest speakers and more.
Maynard has only been on Queen Victoria for four months, but spent 11 years working in the cruise ship entertainment industry. Keith worked as a journeyman actor for three years earlier after attending drama school in West Yorkshire.
On the current Atlantic crossing Keith has had to reschedule production numbers involving singers and dancers. When Queen Victoria ran into high seas and bad weather upon leaving Bermuda Saturday night, KeitMaynard, after consulting the bridge, canceled the troupe’s performance and scheduled instead a brilliant young vocalist named Jennifer Fair.
And who would want to dance and jump around the stage when the seas are already doing a heavy duty rock ‘n’ roll act?
Maynard, from his office only steps from the Royal Court Theater stage, takes a jigsaw puzzle approach to scheduling: Here’s a comic, there’s a magician, it’s a soprano here and a pianist there. Seas high? We’ll schedule “X” and the “abc” production will appear later in the week. Keith puts it all together.
Performers booked by Cunard’s UK offices board for a few days, do a show or two, and then disembark at a major port and a new bunch of entertainers board.
Another challenge for Keith is to program and entertain passengers with diverse backgrounds. On the current cruise we have 924 Brits, 545 Americans, 203 Canadians, 144 Germans, a smattering of Danes, Dutch, French, Irish, Swedes, Swiss, Australians and Belgians. Add a few Japanese and several South American travelers and you’ve a disparate group of passengers who all want to be entertained at 8:30 or 10:30 p.m.
It would be nice if the whole audience got the joke or understood the words to a song, and Keith tries to make that happen with an universal approach to entertainment.
Son of a vicar and the brother of two vicars, KeiMaynard chose a life at sea because he so respects the traditional ocean liner. He enjoys being part of a company with the oldest history and the youngest fleet. He likes a job that allows him “to be myself” and looks forward to a long career with Cunard.
He hosts an early morning chat show broadcast on the ship’s channel which features interviews with guest speakers, entertainers, fellow officera or the sports director who urges passengers to get out of bed and stretch. The show also deals with bits of Cunard history and Maynard always has a guest test drive the drink of the day. The show is well received and airs from 6 a.m. to noon.
Maynard sums: “I love the changes, I love the job.”