Newbiggin Maritime Centre
The show went well with about 50 in, although we lost two in the interval, maybe not their cup of tea! A lovely space which worked very well for the show, we had plenty of room and the audience sitting around tables worked well.
The venue is at the moment run by volunteers - with Mark Labrow leaving last January - which is a disgrace really! It should be a paid core supported by volunteers not the other way round. But Peter and Eva Parton do a fantastic job. They hosted us very well, even considering that their family were over from France and going back the next day. Over and above what should be expected from volunteers. Smashing folk. Also nice to meet other board members and staff from Highlights at this venue.
In conclusion we have had a lovely week with Highlights North. Every venue had an A board outside and the stand up at the entrance to the performance space. Other rural touring schemes could learn from you.
Workshop with members of Jack Drum Arts Youth Theatre
The members of the youth theatre were excellent, and really grasped the rudiments of the workshop. Consequently we could go further in the work we did with them. Their history as amateur performers and members of a youth theatre stood them in very good stead. A fascinating mix of participants from all kinds of backgrounds, who worked fantastically well as a team. the age range was 12 - 20, with all results far higher than with any other group.
St Thomas Church Hall, Stanhope
A large hall, with a decent stage with lovely Sarah Haynes - Mother to all! The show went well with about 40 in, which Sarah and Julian were very pleased about. All the participants of the afternoon’s workshop also were in the audience.
We did two workshops at Langwathby Primary School, one during the morning and the other after lunch. Two fascinating groups, both Years 5/6 mixed.
Young and inexperienced with a young outlook, but worked very well and exceeded our expectations when it came to presenting an improvised piece about Henry VIII.
More mature group, they enjoyed the games but interestingly the improvised piece results were a little behind the earlier group.
Melmerby Village Hall
Probably the finest hall on the circuit, and well kitted out.
40 in, including 15 children, probably our highest ratio of children for any performance. After the show, a number stayed behind and handled the swords. I was really impressed that one of the kids was only 5 and sat through the whole play, he seemed to really enjoy it, although I think he enjoyed holding the swords more!
One audience member comment: “I just love this, I live 100 yards from the hall, I can walk down here, pay a tenner, have a glass of wine, watch something as good as anything in the West End and then just potter home, perfect” (Bless him!)
Such a simple and obvious idea and something that Highlights do at every venue they manage. If only all the venues did the same.
Appleby Public Hall:
A large hall with a very high stage. Keith (the promotor) was lovely with us, looked after us well and fed us right royally! He even joined us in the pub after the show and bought us a beer!
It was great to see Tony Lidington, who managed to make the show and have a quick drink afterwards before he drove back to Devon. It’s the first time he’s seen the show since the very beginning and the first time he’s seen his rewrites. As you can imagine Goodwin an I had some added nerves knowing the writer was in.
Luckily he really enjoyed it and said “it was very nearly a brilliant show”. High praise indeed I’m sure Tony would still like to rewrite bits, like all of us we want to refine our work.
Unfortunately I managed to scrape the skin off my knuckle during my sword swash buckling and bled heavily through the last few scenes. I had to keep a cloth wrapped round my hand until the final scene. Never good to actually hurt yourself on stage as its quite distracting for the audience. THE GLITZ AND THE GLAM!
The workshop at Appleby Grammar School went well with an excellent group of 22 taking part. The school cherry picked children who are all well behaved, keep their heads down and never make a fuss. Great fun had by all.
“I had a great time, its was good fun and I especially enjoyed the swords”
“It was great fun and I learnt alot”
“All the different games were fun and watching the scene they acted was very funny”
“It was alot more fun that Maths and Geography”
“The hand games were great fun”
“Very active and enjoyable”
“Fun and entertaining and lots of variety of stuff”
Well we’re on to the last week and we arrive and set up slowly at The Mill at the Pier. It looks great in here but we’re all a wee bit nervous as Steve Woolmer in not with us for the final fling due to an imminent arrival of a second bambino. Good luck.
Vaughn Curtis has thankful stepped in to help, but I know he’s anxious about doing a good job and Goodwin and I are a little unsettled being so used to Steve.
With just two dress runs Vaughn’s got the show and slotted into the groove like the true professional he is. Really good to have him in board and all worries melt away.
It’s only a shame that more people from ALRA Acting school didn’t turn up. It’s a good new contact and Andrew Fillis was great to sort out rehearsal space for us I just hoped some more if the students had turned up. I know I benefited from seeing and talking to visiting theatre companies when I was at school. It gives you a better understanding of what the business is really like.
We were just working out that this is the fourth time I’ve been at Square Chapel and the eighth time for Goodwin. Really nice space to play and nice to be back.
We always have a good few in but never sold out, yet. How nice that would be as it hold 220. One day!