Titanic Brewery and the New Vic joined forces to create a working bar for the theatre’s latest production, Two – so actors can pull real pints onstage.
Set in a Potteries-inspired pub, the tragi-comedy tells the story of an out-of-love landlord and landlady, played by Jimmy Fairhurst and Samantha Robinson respectively.
Directed by Talke Pits-born Ruth Carney, the actors play 14 different characters between them, including some very interesting patrons. The idea for an operational bar on stage was sparked after a conversation between Ruth and New Vic resident designer Lis Evans.
Lis said: “Ruth is local so we discussed where we think our fictitious pub might be in the area and what impression we wanted to give to the audience. We were keen to make the whole stage feel like a pub and include the audience in the action.”
Inspiration for the set was taken from a range of pubs around the surrounding area.
“I normally do a lot of drawing but on this occasion I gathered photographic images to compare different kinds of spaces,” Lis said.
“As direct research for this play I have been to The Hop Inn on Albert Street and The Victoria down the road from the theatre. I have looked at the tiles at The Greyhound and the Marquis of Granby in Penkhull but my main inspiration was the floor in the Staff of Life down in Stoke, who kindly let me photograph the floor tiles for the stage.
“We wanted to have working pumps on stage so we approached Titanic as one of our local breweries for some advice on how we could do this. Rachel Lloyd, our Catering Manager, also has Titanic beers in the New Vic bar. They generously offered to loan us equipment and told us how to go about supplying beer to our temporary pub. We’ve got chillers and beer to be stored in the trap under the stage to enable us to have a real working bar as part of the set!
“It’s great to link up with and promote another local business and we are grateful for the help they are giving us and the loan of some authentic props.”
After drawing the plans for the bar, Lis passed on the design to the resident stage carpenters at the New Vic, who built the set for the company to use in the rehearsal room.
The working pumps, sink, till and optics have been added during the building of the set onstage to make it feel as realistic as possible.
Earlier this month actors Jimmy and Sam visited one of Titanic Brewery’s pubs, The Greyhound, to get training behind the bar and brush up on their technique, to be a convincing landlord and landlady.
Keith Bott, one of the directors of Titanic Brewery, said: “It is great to be involved with this project. Titanic have supplied the New Vic Theatre for many years but this is our first stage appearance! We are very excited. Beer and pubs are at the heart of any community and we are keen to show our support for all aspects of local life”
Two takes to the stage at the New Vic from Friday 31 January to Saturday 22 February 2020. Tickets are on sale now, priced from £15.50*, from the New Vic Box Office and can be booked by calling 01782 717962 or online at newvictheatre.org.uk.
*£1 transaction fee per ticket applies online.