From Birmingham to Plymouth
Neil reports on the last few weeks in Birmingham, and gives Plymouth an idea of what to expect…
It feels like ages since I’ve done a blog but I hope you have all been keeping up with what goes on with the show via Twitter (soundofmusicuk).
We finished a really brilliant run in Birmingham last Saturday, the audiences were completely amazing and it really was sad to leave as the theatre is so friendly and we all really felt at home.
Birmingham also was a really busy time as we managed to rehearse all our second covers into the show and on the last Thursday afternoon we had a second cover dress rehearsal. Claire Fishenden (who normally plays Liesl) did the run as Maria – I really think she enjoyed playing a grown up for a change!
Birmingham being the school holiday season was a really busy time for our chaperones – normally the Von T’s have tutoring during the day but as it was school holiday they had to plan lots of activities and day trips. As we have three teams of Children – they have to do everything three times. It is amazing how much there is to do in Birmingham, from canal boat trips to chocolate factory visits to the visitor centre at the BBC.
Philippa (our alternate Maria ) has so many links to Birmingham as she was at university there, so it was a brilliant chance for all her family and friends to see her in the role. Also Neil Moors went on for a week as Captain (Michael was having a well earned holiday) – both he and Philippa have previously worked Front of House at the Birmingham Hippodrome whilst they were studying in the city.
We had other excitement when Gareth Malone and the BBC were filming for their new series of The Big Performance – and one of our audiences was treated to a special performance by some really amazing children – look out for the programme in October…
Birmingham was also Connie’s last performance for 7 weeks as she has time off (for good behaviour) to get married – everyday Connie has been in full wedding planning mode but luckily as the shopping in Brum is so good (and so close to the theatre) she managed to buy lots of those last minute things. We also threw a surprise leaving party for her – not that my company need any excuse to go out!!
So the show now has moved to Plymouth – it is really hard when you have been in a venue for 6 weeks to get into moving mode again, packing seems to take for ever – especially when most of the company seem to have been on a shopping marathon. The best excuse I heard was from one of our lovely wig ladies “my credit card just fell into the machine at Selfridges and I came out with a Mulberry bag!!”
As usual the train journey to Plymouth was hell, never ever get onto public transport with me or you will find yourself stranded at strange stations, major delays, no food on trains and at least 4 times the amount of passengers that are meant to be in a carriage – I really am starting to get a complex that the train companies have something against me!
Plymouth, like Birmingham, is another fantastically run theatre, and also like Birmingham is full of old faces that me and our team have worked with for way way too long.
The crew here are excellent and our move went very smooth. It has been quite an adjustment for the cast playing in a much more intimate theatre but as ever, the show looks amazing. It is also really lovely having Kirsty Malpass back as Maria.
Plymouth is also a very special venue for Jacinta (Baroness) as she has a very long association with the Theatre Royal playing leading roles in many of their productions. I was really excited to meet Jacinta when we first started rehearsals as I have worked in Plymouth so many times and there are photographs of her everywhere.
It is also fantastic to be back at the sea-side, if it ever stops raining!!
We have also had lots of visitors from our London office here, Lisa (General Manager) came down for our opening performance to check that we were all behaving – and last night for Press Night Michael Havard Bilton (Marketing Director) and Simon Raw (Press ) were here to make sure that it all ran smoothly before doing some market research of other entertainment venues in town!
Will update you all soon – but watch out for us on Twitter.
To buy tickets for The Sound of Music UK tour and for further information about the tour, click here.
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