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Tuesday/Wednesday into Tech Days!

December 1, 2022

“To wake the soul by tender strokes of art”- the spirit of Richmond Theatre chiselled into the Proscenium!

The past two days have been a blur. This panto I think is the busiest one I’ve done in a while, and if I’m not onstage I am changing rapidly to get back onstage! Act Two becomes a little kinder and there’s time to breathe, but it means I’ve not been able to give Betty’s Blog the attention it needs! Apologies!

Tuesday we were in the College rehearsal rooms in Richmond, in a large room , running through the show and spending time tidying up . Gordon Marquez astonished us with his juggling in a room with a low ceiling- that in itself is quite a skill, and by 6pm on Tuesday we were finished with the rehearsal room, and moved to the Richmond Theatre proper.

The theatre is opulent and magnificent, and walking onstage to do a sound check was an experience. All that 1899 marble and carving, the shakespeare scenes on the ceiling, the boxes, the tiered seating.. and let’s not forget the rake!

For those not in the know, a raked stage is a rare thing these days. The stage was built to slope from the back wall to the footlights, with in the case of Richmond, quite a steep “rake” or dip at the very front of the stage. I think variety and Music Hall comics used to sometimes have a board- Certainly Max Miller did, so they could put their foot on it and lean out to get closer to their audience WITHOUT fear of falling into the orchestra pit!

This stage has quite a rake! You feel it after a long days technical rehearsal, especially a Dame. Toes are crushed forward if you wear heels, and I’m pretty sure the Ensemble feel it in the calf muscles!

I’m writing this after a 9am to 10pm technical session (we do get time for breaks, lunch, dinner & tea breaks, and we succeeded in getting to the end of act one by 10pm. During this technical I changed costumes five times, and marvelled at the skill of the wardrobe team, headed by Lucy and Georgina in organising a quick change area in this tiny theatre that catered for a full ensemble and a Dame changing constantly. As a costume person myself I really admire this level of professionalism- hats (and wigs ) off to you ladies- you made the tech so much easier, thank you!

The tech included Phil Hitchcock’s magic specialities, tricks and illusions. the set looks just stunning, and you can’t see where the gilt and plush Frank Matcham auditorium stops and the Circus begins. I can’t wait until tomorrow when I’ll get the opportunity to go out front and look at it from the auditorium. Up to now I genuinely haven’t stopped, and my usual photos from out front are zero.

To counteract this, With permission from Jonny our CSM, I’ve asked Pep in Ensemble to take photos on behalf of its-behind-you, and I will add these to this day’s blog as soon as I get them, and have a few minutes to upload them!

Right- its past midnight and Betty needs her Beauty Sleep! Act two technical tomorrow at 9am , and I will hopefully find a time to go out and take in the wonder that is “Goldilocks & The Three Bears” for myself!

Nighty Nighty as they say in most haunted bedroom scenes!

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