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Putting The Lid On It!

September 3, 2011

Before the first leaf has fallen, I’m getting close to finishing off the costumes for Panto at the Kenneth More Theatre!

For the past couple of weeks the pace has hotted up, and Sarah Ford and I have been inthe wardrobe most days, with the result that we now have five rails completed over in the theatre store- bagged, wrapped and packed! “Do Not Open Until…Dress Rehearsal!”, if not before!

Andrew Ryan has been on tour with two different shows- he’s back performing in “The Black Veil” for the next fortnight, but has found time to put the lid on his latest creation- The giant Baked Bean Can that he’s made for Dame Trott at Ilford, played by Christopher Marlowe. This wonderful costume has had beans and a lid added, complete with ring pull. The problem now is where to store it until December as it fills our storeroom. I think we’ll fly it up on the ceiling of the store and hope someone remembers its there! I’ll be in Llandudno by that time giving my Twankey and these things can happen!

Sarah has finished all the alterations from the fittings, and has concentrated on making Butterfly Wings- four sets in fact for the girls to wear at the end of Act One. I’ve been spending time collating and locating stock costumes . We have what we call “The Long Corridor” upstairs in the theatre- and it is a long narrow corridor. It houses all the headdresses, animal heads, hats and wigs that have built up over the twenty odd, even thirty odd years. That’s where I’ll emerge triumphantly bearing red and gold finale wimples and Silver Fairy Headdresses after a good search, under the concentrated gaze of assorted Rabbits, Mice (we have boxes of Cinderella Mice heads and Dick Whittington Rat Heads) and three little pigs. No dwarfs staring at me this time, as Qdos already have them ready for their pantomime, safely snoring the summer away in Scarborough. The Dwarf heads I mean, not the Qdos staff!

This week as Sarah and I tackled another task involving needle, saw and glue gun, I was musing on the Kenneth More Theatre. Our Wardrobe is next to a small studio theatre, and you become a voyuer into the world of the KMT while you work.

The theatre has had a large amount of its money cut by council cut-backs, and is trying desperately to keep afloat in these scary times. In one day last week, as Sarah and I were panto-ing we began the day with Weightwatchers holding a meeting in the studio, followed by a rehearsal for a new show here called “Bollywood Jane”- the actors rehearsing next door to us, the dancers rehearsing in the studio above us- we then had someone auditioning for a professional tour of a play, followed by a team of volunteers stuffing envelopes full of brochures for theatre mail shots, and ended the day with something like sixty ladies reheasing “Nine” with theatre manager Stephen Day!

All this in the space of about seven hours in a building that is technically “Closed” for refurbishment!

If that isn’t serving the needs of the local community I’m not sure what is- oh I also forgot that over in the main auditorium the two week Summer Course for children was rehearsing their end of course show “High School Musical 2”- involving about forty children of all ages.

As I bagged up a resplendant purple gown for the Giant’s Mother (I know she’s poor, but she must have saved up for these sequins) I mused on the use that this building gets in a day- and the injustice that it has to do everything within its power to survive these “Cut Backs”. The Panto is on a very strict and tight budget this year, and with any luck, I think we’ll come in just slightly under and still look our best!

In between sorting out the KMT I’ve been sorting myself out ready for Llandudno. I’ve assembled a finale costume to fit in with the Black and Gold set, and just finished making a pagoda (as you do) to stick on my head, just incase they miss me coming down the staircase in the walkdown. I now have a fully equipped Laundry Table around my waist,  and a selection of some fourteen costumes I’ll be able to supply the Venue Cwmru for the season.

This next week I’ll see the last costumes returning from makers around the country, and with just the Male Chorus to fit, we should be well on course to have everything finished by the second week of September. Just in time to start The Panto Roadshow!

From → Miscellaneous

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