Well, I can hardly believe it, but exactly one week today I will be performing on stage once more at the Bilton Theatre. I have been a member of this particular society in East Yorkshire for 20 years now and it is where I met my husband so I have an extremely strong attachment to the theatre and society. We are lucky (some may say) at BADS in that we have our own purpose built theatre in which to perform. The building itself is held in trust for us as long as there is a dramatic society in operation. The downfall of having your own theatre, of course, which most people don't even think about, is the fact that we are responsible for every aspect of running it. As members are so thin on the ground these days, that often means that a lot of the work falls on Keith and I since we do not have to go out each day to work. Today we have spent the morning down there tidying up the stage and wings, dressing room area and main auditorium. We also cleared away a huge pile of horse manure from outside the stage door - something I'm sure no self-respecting professional actor or actress would ever have to do prior to performing! We were only going to spend a maximum of one hour down there, but as ever we see things that need doing and promptly get on with them - such as the sign that we put up to advertise the fact that we've got a play on.
Oh, yes, that's what I was writing about - I got side-tracked with telling you of the pitfalls of owning your own theatre and having to maintain the place yourself. We also share the land with some horses - these are usually in a fenced off paddock at the side of the theatre, but every now and then, the owners let them roam on our grassed car parking area. We had a rehearsal the other week on a bank holiday, during the day, and were greeted by three horses at the gate when we drove up, so had to leave our cars in the drive until we left. I took some photos of them - they were quite curious about the step-ladders we'd left outside momentarily and even managed to knock them onto the ground at one point! I find horses fascinating, yet am also slightly scared of them. They are magnificent creatures and I can appreciate their beauty, but they tend to nut you with their head and when they search for food as you approach them, it's quite intimidating.
This is the scene that greeted us that day:
That's enough about horses, now, I think. We just have one more rehearsal before the Dress Rehearsal on Sunday and I am hoping that we get some good houses next week. We have sent photographs to the local press and our Publicity Officer, Nikki Grannon, has been working hard contacting the local radio stations as well. Any press cuttings that we get will be posted here for future reference! It would be nice if we got a review from the local newspapers, like we used to years ago, but it's not always guaranteed. A critical review would be the best so that we can see where we are going wrong (unless, of course, we are doing everything right).
This time round, we are doing two one-act plays. Each play is a comedy written by Nick Warburton and features a husband and wife team as the two characters. The first one, "For Starters" is set in an exclusive hotel restaurant where a new waitress, Daisy, is learning her job and getting to know one of the hotel guests rather well. Dave & Carol Hawxwell are the stars of this play - at the moment they are enjoying a week's holiday so will not be rehearsing on the stage until the Dress Rehearsal, but I have heard that they have both been going over the play on the beach this week!!! The other play, "Purvis", is set in St Peter's Church vestry. It just so happens that the name of the church in Bilton (where our theatre is) has the same name! We couldn't let this coincidence go by un-noticed, so we have invited the Vicar of St Peter's, Bilton to come along and watch the production. He has booked his seats for the Wednesday night I believe - I'm looking forward to hearing what he makes of it! The play features a woman called Rachel (played by me) who is the Vicar's wife, and a new parishioner by the name of Mr Purvis (played by my husband, Keith). Rachel tries to welcome Purvis to the community and somehow ends up giving him the job of Health & Safety Officer of the church. This action sees many accidents occurring and Rachel getting more and more exasperated as time progresses. Purvis is very accident-prone but also completely unaware of is, which only makes matters worse!
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning a play with just two of us in it - particularly since the other character is my husband, Keith. It has meant that we have been able to rehearse at home in between our regular rehearsals, which is so much easier. It is probably the only time we will ever get to act in a two-handed play together again, so we've really enjoyed the experience. With our acting membership down to just 6 members now, it's really hard to cast and produce anything other than small cast plays now.
If you need to find out any more about our society or the play - click on the title of this post to be directed to our website. Here's the poster advertising the production: