A lot has happened since my last blog….! The last you heard from me, we were heading into technical rehearsals and we couldn’t believe how quickly time had flown by in the rehearsal weeks. Since then we have taken the show through its technical and dress rehearsals, the show opened on Saturday the 19 November, we have performed to 3000 local young people in our first week of school performances and we have had our gala night to celebrate the New Vic building’s 30th anniversary.
Technical rehearsals went incredibly well. It is difficult to work through a show of this size. We were expertly led by our Company Stage Manager Katie Bevan, her job it is to keep us on schedule and be the central point of contact between the many creative departments, cast and crew. Lighting may need more time to programme lights, sound may need more time to adjust levels, our choreographer may need more time to tighten the movement on stage; time in any technical rehearsal is in great demand. We try to keep up a momentum in the tech without feeling as though we have rushed anything, it’s a balancing act of priorities and time management. Some things can be left to naturally settle in during the dress rehearsals, of which we had three.
Three dress rehearsals?! I hear you cry. Yes. On a show such as this, we allow the time to have a dress rehearsal with each of our Young Company teams. Our 24 strong Young Co are divided into three teams of eight, each one requiring a practice show (a dress rehearsal) of their own. Dress rehearsals are incredible valuable for all. We begin to see the flow and the shape of the whole piece again after a few days of fragmented stopping and starting. Theresa and I, alongside the other creative departments begin to see the whole picture once more. The actors begin to find a feel for the show and re-plot their new journey around our circular off stage area…including some quick costume changes.
Then comes opening night. The anticipation. The final ingredient is about to arrive. The audience. What a wonderful opening night it was. We have had some truly wonderful responses from our young schools audience in the past week as well as from the many families that visit us for their Christmas treat. Our audience is incredibly important to us, here in the round the audience surround the space hugging the action. Make sure you book your tickets to share this magical Christmas gift…if you haven’t already. We would love to share it with you.
We have been sharing live theatre in this building for 30 years this year. Last Friday 25 November saw our 30th birthday gala performance. It was a very special evening indeed. Champagne and canapes, snow falling outside the foyer entrance, birthday cake, introduction speeches from Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE, and a terrific performance of The Snow Queen for all to enjoy. Now my job turns to maintaining the show and the Young Company as we embark on our Christmas run…look forward to seeing you over the Christmas period; more from me soon!