Sound of Music
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Neil White’s tour blog – part 17

The Purple pledgeThe Purple Team give us their pledge as Neil updates us

The team are now in Birmingham, so time for another update from Neil – and a special pledge…

Hi All,

It’s the end of our second week in Birmingham – and after all the excitement of video blogs and the new Twitter account thought I’d better catch up with my blog – although there is a video blog of me coming to the site soon…

The rest of our time in Woking was really hard work – two more sets of Von Trapps had their technical, dress rehearsals and opening nights.

The New Victoria is quite a lovely modern building but unfortunately in hot weather the sun shines on the dressing room block all afternoon – so by show time all the rooms were baking hot, the company office was like a furnace. It is really rare in a theatre when you actually have to go onto the stage to cool down. Doing a show in Woking is also quite strange as a lot of the company normally commute to London so you lose a bit of the ‘family on tour’ spirit.

There are some theatres in the UK that are, in the words of the famous singing nanny ‘Practically Perfect,’ and Birmingham Hippodrome is one of them. From the minute you arrive at the theatre and go into the brand new and spacious stage door reception you always get the warmest welcome. Tom and the stage door team have been working at the ‘Hipp’ since I started touring (which is before most of my company were born…) so it really is like being greeted by old friends.

Once you scan in and pass through the High Tech security barrier, you make your way down to the spacious main floor of dressing rooms. The Hippodrome has 30 dressing rooms and the modern block where most of The Sound of Music company are all have air-conditioning, fridges, TVs and en-suite bathrooms – after sweating away in Woking it is so lovely to working in a cool room.

The Hippodrome stage is enormous, our trailers full of pieces of the set are actually lowered onto the stage on a lift and we have so much wing space for quick changes.

The Hippodrome auditorium is also incredibly intimate for such a large capacity theatre. The audience all feel very close, and as the theatre isn’t very high even the seats at the back have a perfect view.
Front of house is also a pleasure – no squashed foyers and massive queues for toilets – it is like walking round the foyer of a spacious 5 star hotel.

As with the stage door staff – the backstage staff and front of house team have all worked at the Hipp for quite some time and it really couldn’t be a friendlier place to work.

Well, enough of my Hippodrome love fest and back to The Sound of Music….

Eddie our stage manager came back to the show in Birmingham, he has been away from the show for 4 weeks in Australia supervising the stage management of the Melbourne production of Mary Poppins, which Eddie (and most of our touring staff) did before The Sound of Music, but James and the rest of the SM and tech team did a great job getting the new company into the show.

We now also have a new resident director Frank Thompson, and he has been doing intensive rehearsals with our understudy company – who, amazingly, did a full costume run of the show this week only 4 weeks after they had opened in the show. It is always a good feeling to know that you have brilliant understudies to cover if anyone does get ill.

We also have a new Dance Captain Jonny Bowles and he really has his hands full maintaining the work of the children in the show, but really seems to be enjoying it.

The last member of our team to leave the show was our assistant Musical Director Danny Whitby, who has left to do a road trip across America. We hopefully gave him a good send off as he has been an absolute joy to work with but we now have a very lovely new Assistant MD Tim Davies and he will start conducting some performances very soon.

Wardrobe are now eventually calming down and are just finishing the last alterations to the 2nd cover costumes ready for their run at the end of Birmingham.

Wardrobe probably have had the busiest time of any of us recently, with 15 adult cast and 18 Children to costume, not to mention all the understudy costumes, but as ever with our lovely wardrobe team it is all done with great humour, a cup of tea and plenty of food. As soon they finish all of this it will be nearly time for the next new set of children but as Trish always says ‘It is what it is!’
Our new wigs team are also really lovely and bring me presents!! – other departments please take note!

Next week is school holiday time so Teena and her team of Chaperones are thinking of loads of fun things to do with the Von Trapps as they don’t have to have tutoring – I think the biggest priority with the Kids seems to be a visit to a certain local chocolate factory…

Update you all soon and look out for us on Twitter – as we try to send you something new everyday…

Neil x

In the first of our behind-the-scenes video blogs, some of those Von Trapps would like to share their special pledge with you…

Follow the cast and crew on Twitter at AND don’t forget to join us on Facebook for more!

To buy tickets for The Sound of Music UK tour and for further information about the tour, click here.

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