Friday, 30 January 2009

Life of a theatre manager - painting bricks

As you may realise, this isn't me. Meet Bavers, our friendly neighbourhood technician whose been standing in for Dominic while he is on stage in Hamburg. We've spent a large part of this week painting scenery flats to look like brick walls for Abducting Diana (11th & 12th Feb). After much discussion on how best to do this, we ended up painting them all greay and sponging on the bricks. The end result looks pretty wicked so I'll make sure I post some pictures of the set when it's erected.

So that's another task I can add to my list as arts manager. :o)

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Review: Hairspray

Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the music department for their trip to see Hairspray the musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.

Having never seen the 1988 Rikki Lake screen portrayal or the newer film version with John Travolta playing Edna Turnblad, I didn't know what to expect. I grew up watching Grease, Grease 2, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and other classics. Yes, I am still young enough for them to have been classics even in my childhood! (Except maybe Grease 2, but that one comes highly recommended!)

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The toe-tapping sing-along music perfectly accompanied the shimmy-inducing dance routines and enthusiastic costuming. (I wonder how I can find out where they got Tracy's shoes from in the Mr Pinky scene...) We all left the theatre buzzing from the evening's entertainment and have probably all woken up today with the tunes going round in our heads! I have to admit I have just ordered the Rikki Lake version from Play... well, at £2.99 it's worth having around for an impromptu girly night!

It never ceases to amaze me, the feeling you get from a good night out at the theatre. Spending an evening having people put all that energy into performing, just so that you are entertained, is pretty special.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Diana has been abducted!

Diana has been abducted!
The kidnappers want £1 million for her release.
Come and show your support at the Bradon Forest Theatre:

Weds 11th and Thurs 12th Feb, 7.30pm.

All proceeds to go to the
Release Diana fund.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Guardian Theatre Blog Link: "Curtains for theatre programmes?"

I've just been catching up on the Guardian Theatre Blog and there was an interesting article on theatre programmes and whether or not they have had their day. For me, when I got to go to the theatre when I was growing up, the programme was always a treasured keepsake from the evening, and the Phantom of the Opera was safeguarded with the same prestige as my Take That programmes... OK, maybe not that much prestige! I agree with Michael Billington in that the programme has indeed improved over time with higher quality (and quantity) content, but I am afraid that they are often too expensive to buy. I am no longer of the age where I have to keep tokens from every night out. (Although I do admit that my Foo Fighter's tickets are kept safe!) However, I do like the idea of providing more information about a show;

"Scanning the programme for the recent RSC Hamlet starring David Tennant, I discover a week-by-week rehearsal log which illumines the meticulous preparation that went into Greg Doran's production. And, looking at the programme for the National Theatre's Oedipus, I find not just informative articles by Edith Hall and Sally Vickers, but a helpful family tree of the House of Laius, and an Ingres painting and a Cavafy poem that open up lines of enquiry."
I'm going to explore the idea of creating more of a background, and therefore more of an atmosphere, leading up to a new play. Perhaps something like the marketing behind Cloverfield... but on a much smaller scale! Watch this space...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Abducting Diana

Posters are now finished for the next Bradon Forest Theatre production: Abducting Diana, by Dario Fo.

Thanks for your help Emily!

Tickets now available: 01793 773981.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, it seems I've been a bit slack compared to our friends over in Germany! We have actually been back a week now, but it takes a while to catch up on things and get back in to the swing of it. So, rather later than it should be, here's a note to point out the galleries from C18th Farce Week; School for Scandal and The Venetian Twins.

The next project we are developing is Abducting Diana by Dario Fo. This will be performed by GCSE students as part of their final assessment, but we will also have two public performances on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th February. As usual, the show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £4 for adults and £3 for students. Give me a shout if you want one reserved.

Millionare media boss, Diana Forbes-McKaye, is kidnapped - but this ruthless magnate proves more resourceful than her clumsy abductors. Are things what they seem? Who is in charge? Who masterminded the abduction? Who has the television rights to this premier media event? In this cocktail of chaotic double-dealing, Fo adds a gun-toting priest, a deranged altar boy, a kidnapper hiding in the fridge, pyromania and an explosive climax.
I'll get the publicity up asap, but I'm just waiting for a photo op with the leading lady. Talking of which, I also have a shoot planned with Plastic Fiction, a resident BF band. They, along with the music department, are planning a Bradon CD and I said I'd help out with some of the publicity. I'm hoping that they will go for my suggestion of a Ghostbusters theme to the series... inspired by the New York Library scene.... books.... fiction... get it? Maybe not.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Guest Blogger: Far From Quiet on the Western Front

Dear All, Well...where to even start? I think I'll begin by wishing all of you a massive HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! If your New Year's Eve bash was anywhere near as amazing as mine then we all had a brilliant one. Well, we are now truly deep into the run. We perform seven times a week with Sundays and Mondays off. Matinees on Tuesdays and Fridays. Most of our matt shows are various schools on English trips but it really has been a mixed bag of people.

Our first matt show was to a full house of German soldiers, if I'm being honest I don't think they were very interested in what I had to say but they loved the visual jokes and clapped so hard at the end we ended up doing four curtain calls.
So, we've done matt shows like that to matt shows that have been slightly less great to do. Those of you who don't know, I open the play. I'm the first person on set and I have the first line. Walking into the space all ready to go, I breath in about to belt my first line out and a lad in the forth row shouted "GAY!" at me. Not going to lie to you, it did throw me a bit. It also didn't help that his friends sat around him were laughing so hard I had to wait for the laughter to quieten down before the rest of the audience would be able to hear me. His friends were more entertained by that than they ever would be in me for the next two hours and I knew from that point that this show was going to quickly turn into a hard, long slog.

We've also had a matt show of slightly older English students who took an immediate shine to Charlotte ( young romantic playing opposite me ) a few lads in the front row decided to wave at her when ever she came onto the stage. But once again, when the play got going they seemed to enjoy it, laughed hard and once again did more and more curtain calls.
Over all the play is a massive success. We're selling out every night. Except the odd one where we may have four or five tickets left. We've had brilliant reviews and people are coming back to see it again and again.

As much as I am loving it out here ( I like to think I'm living the dream ), we did have a show Christmas day. Which I was dreading. We had the four days before Christmas off though. My Elders came out to visit me in December. Had a really nice few days kicking into the Hamburg Christmas markets, Gluewein stalls and Brotwursts stands. Then during our four days off once the Elders had gone home we planned our Christmas dinner. We invited all seven members of the cast over to our flat in Barmbek to have a full Christmas dinner and games on Christmas eve. It was amazing. Everyone turned up with cheese and champagne and we all had a merry old time.

New Years Eve; Epic. We had a show, but we're out the theatre by ten so it's not too bad. We had arranged to go to the theatre bar over the road after the show. It's our local really. It's ran by Fabian and his husband Hanns. Fabian also does a top quality drag act which he did in his bar on New Years Eve to entertain us all. I have no words for what I saw. It's tradition in Germany on new years eve to have a Belinor ( a doughnut ). So at 23:45 all the landlords provide champagne and Belinors to all the customers, then everyone goes into the street at midnight and well...they just go mental. Fireworks are illegal here, except the four days before new years eve. So when I say everyone buys some..I MEAN EVERYONE! It's like the Gaza strip. Kids, adults, everyone in between are just firing these MASSIVE fireworks all over the city. In the street, the pavement, off of rooftops, door steps, out of windows, car windows, MOVING car windows, out of milk bottles, champagne bottles, beer cans, ATTACHED to beer cans, It was nothing short of amazing. I've never experienced anything like it and because people obviously stock up on these things you can see and hear these things going off all over the city for miles around for about an hour! The beer jacket kept me warm and everyone just watches, kisses, hugs, etc, but keeping an eye open for a misguided attack. I did see one or two rockets going sideways instead of up ways - if you catch my drift. So, after the Beirut experience it's back into the pubs. By the time the other people were just getting a drink in, it was 00:55, and five minutes later it was UK NEW YEAR! So all of us in unison screamed "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" we started our own celebrations. It was great, all the German people in the pub came over to us, more hugs, more kisses, wished us and our country a happy new year, the whole thing was a brilliant, brilliant experience. So, Hanns and Fabian kicked us out at 03:00 ish, and still up for it I knew a place that would be open ( not pretty, not nice...but open ). I have been exposed to a few bars here that...well...once again, unless you've been here you have no words for. The closest thing I can describe it as being like is if the people in League of Gentleman had a pub... But, underground. With not many lights on. So into Kult we went. I knew as soon as we walked in one or two cast members had changed their mind so they left ( not a bad decision ), leaving just James and I. Once I'd ordered drinks and made our way to the bar a few scary looking locals ( who I've chatted with a few times before ) made their way over and the night started all over again. by 09:00 James and I had decided that we had better call it a night. We did have a show the next day and I don't think I could take anymore. So, we said our goodbye's to the good people of Kult and after even more New Years Eve kisses from the ladies ( we were told it was a New Years Eve tradition in Germany and we didn't want to offend anyone ) we went home. The walk back to my flat was surreal. 09:00 New years day and the streets were FILLED with fireworks, people walking home still singing and one or two going into another bar! Hard core.

So, that was my Christmas and New Years Eve in Hamburg. I did leave out one or two details, but I'm sure you get the jist of what kind of time I'm having here. AN AMAZING ONE!!!
But, now Christmas is over. Christmas markets are over ( and yes Felix, I miss those potato puff things with apple sauce as well. Have you ever had a better next morning food?? ) New years is over and we're back into the run. But...It is Charlotte's birthday in a few weeks so we're planning our next Hamburg Epic night out!

I wish you all the very best for 2009 and until my next ranting update, Peace out.

Your Treading the Boards Buddy.