Company Manager Neil and the cast and crew wish you a Merry Christmas…
Its six weeks since I wrote my last blog and as ever in The Sound of Music land, so much has happened. We all had such a warm welcome to Bristol and this was matched by really lovely audiences and the most amazing set of reviews.
The Hippodrome is such a lovely old building but is run by a great management team and they couldn’t do enough to make us feel welcome.
After the usual madness of getting the show open – all the new children arrived from London to rehearse and for the second and third week of Bristol, the theatre was alive with the sound of music for seven days a week.
Having 28 children from ages 6 to 13 is a challenge in itself – and our chaperones did a magnificent job making sure they were fed, educated and at rehearsals.
As well as the new children starting we had the sad task of saying goodbye to the old teams, they seemed to have a great time at their leaving parties before the buckets of tears on their final shows.
The Hippodrome doesn’t have the largest dressing room area and it seemed that wardrobe had taken over the entire building – every corridor had rails of costumes as wardrobe not only prepared with the costumes for all the new children, but also for our cover company, as the dress rehearsals for the new children gave us the opportunity to give all our understudies a costume run of the show.
During our third week in Bristol we also had the very exciting news that Jason Donovan will be joining the show in January, it will be really sad to say goodbye to the very lovely Michael Praed but also exciting to have a new Captain for the new year. The night it was announced most of the nuns suddenly reverted back to excited teenagers, I’ve got a feeling their will be a lots of hair and make-up done before the first day of rehearsals!
The final two weeks of Bristol involved full technical and dress rehearsals and by closing night all three new teams were fully rehearsed and performing in the show – I am very glad to say we really have three fantastic new teams of children and they are really lovely to have around.
Bristol has really been one of our favourite venues on tour but as ever with touring it suddenly gets time to move the show again.
For a change we only had a short journey between venues, and with my luck with the rail system in the country it could only be a good thing – but as ever my train was hit by signalling problems so we might as well been travelling to Scotland by the time I got here.
The New Theatre in Oxford is a vast 1930’s theatre and is fast becoming my Christmas home as this is my third Christmas here out of the last four years. It is also a bit of a challenging venue to put a show in as the Dock doors are on a small street shared with the loading bays of the shops next door, and also the stage is metres down from street level so everything has to be taken down on a lift. The stage also isn’t the largest we have put the show on, which also presents its own problems.
After a really long couple of days we managed to squeeze everything in – including our orchestra into quite a small pit. If anyone is coming to see the show and wonders if we have lost our percussionist – we haven’t he is ‘on remote’ in the basement as there wasn’t room for him with the others.
As ever with our amazing touring and production crew the show opened on Tuesday and again fantastic reviews are starting to come in. We are also doing a different show schedule here with Mondays being our day off and having a Sunday matinee – so the nuns are restraining themselves from their usual Saturday night exploits in the local clubs.
This will probably be my last blog before Christmas, so on behalf of all of us we hope you have an amazing Christmas, and to thank you all again for your support for the tour. It really has been a fantastic year with some amazing venues and we are all really looking forward to the show next year with our exciting new cast members and some exciting new venues…
I can’t do an Oxford blog without mentioning our very lovely leading lady who is leaving the show on January 2nd – Connie has really been fantastic to tour with over the last 19 months and we will really miss you!
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