Friday, 29 October 2010

Dress Rehearsal - Carousel

Well, I wasn't on top form last night for our dress rehearsal of Carousel, but it went remarkably well. I think there were several hitches, which is usually a good sign for a better opening night. From a personal point of view, I think the most ridiculous thing I did was to wear my corset upside down. Funnily enough, only one person actually noticed, and by that time we were all on stage for the opening scene anyway so it was too late to change! Fortunately, I only wear it for the first scene so it wasn't that ridiculous. My defence was that I don't often wear corsets, so I just slipped it over my head and asked someone to lace me up from behind!

There were 3 incidents that I know of where someone tripped over or crashed into one of the stage lights rigged up in the wings, which must have been slightly distracting for the people on stage at the time, and I know that the straw bales created a lot more mess than anticipated. Sally, who is with me in almost every scene, was elbowed in the face by our Chairman in the wings at one point as he gesticulated over-enthusiastically about something or other. A few lines were missed here and there, I started singing at a time when it was only a solo part (but soon shut up) and at the curtain call I noticed that the backdrop had the word HITACHI across it because the scenes that had previously been played out across it were finished!

As they say, however, it will be all right on the night. If not, we've certainly had a good laugh as a team and I will never forget the experience. I've also made another good friend, as Sarah was proving invaluable to me last night helping me with my costumes (all our dresses fasten up the back with hooks and eyes - impossible to do yourself) and generally looking out for me in my slightly washed out state.

The outfit I'm wearing in the opening scene is the one shown here worn by Jo in last year's show - it's the cerise outfit and the pointy bit of the corset was therefore sticking up at the top rather than pointing down at the bottom!

You live and learn, eh?

If you haven't booked your tickets yet and still want to come along to watch one of the performances, we do have some seats left so you could turn up and get them on the door. Alternatively, ring Bob Harrison on 01482 327007 to book. Prices are £10 for adults, £8 for seniors and £5 for children. Performance times are 7.30pm tonight, 29th October, 2pm and 7pm tomorrow, 20th October, at the Middleton Hall, University of Hull.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Christmas Craft Fair

I know it's early yet to start using the C word, but I just thought I'd share my plans for a craft event I'm planning this year, since it's the first one I've organised. It will be held in the auditorium of the Bilton Theatre, home to the Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society (of which I have been a member the past 20 years).

I have already contacted several of the sellers on Etsy who are in the list of "Shop Local" when I do a search in Hull, East Yorkshire. I'm hoping to have 6 or 7 various artisans present - either for one or two days, whichever they can manage. The idea is not only to create a unique selling event for local creative talent based on Etsy, but if it proves successful, it will also raise some funds for our Society as well as promoting the theatre at the same time.

Lowlander Dye - Trinket Box & Mini Painting with Easel

Decorated notebook
I will be selling my decorated notebooks, trinket boxes, magnetic shopping pads, mini paintings and hand-made cards. I have bought some more notebooks today for decorating, and Keith is planning to make some more notepad holders for me to paint.

I may even make some more fudge and tiffin to sell.
Cranberry & White Chocolate Fudge


Other artisans already interested include a photographer specialising in flowers, an illustrator who creates wonderful cat designs and a jewellery maker/handbag creator. More details will be divulged once I've confirmed all the sellers - with links to their Etsy shops. Next thing I will be designing is an application/entry form - no craft fair is complete without one!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Etsy Sale

I am pleased to report another sale via my Etsy Shop this morning. Another Etsy member contacted me last week after reading a comment I'd made in a Treasury, which led to her looking in my shop and picking this notebook to buy.
The nice thing about Etsy is that a lot of the members there also regularly buy items from each other, so the word of mouth reputation really does help to increase your presence and validate your shop. This particular book is called "Daydream" and it has been purchased as a gift from a mother to her daughter.

Friday, 15 October 2010


I can hardly believe it, but show-time is almost here again. I will be singing in the chorus with Hull Musical Society at the end of this month in a production of "Carousel" by Rodgers & Hammerstein. It's a musical that I would have hated when I was growing up. Come to think of it, I pretty much disliked most musicals as a teenager (apart from Grease, Sound of Music and Oliver, that is). I don't think I "got" them until I actually started to sing the songs myself - there's something really ridiculous (in my mind) about people doing their normal business, walking down the street or having a picnic, say, then suddenly bursting into song. Cheesy. Corny. I like music of all descriptions, and love singing, so you would think I'd have always been into musicals. I think the American films of musicals are the only experience I'd had - they put me off and I thought they were not at all cool when I was younger. I preferred acting to singing, too. I think the first musical I went to see live was "Les Miserables". I found it very emotional and just loved everything about it - the music, the story, the characters and the set. I remember my husband and I being two of the last people in the theatre at the end of the show, we were both still trying to recover from the tears we'd shed!

The only singing I had ever done prior to joining Hull Musical Society last year was in the school choir aged about 12. My involvement in amateur drama was purely drama and I never even thought about doing a musical show. However, I have come to enjoy singing as much as acting and am so glad I joined, even if it does mean I get less free time in the evenings and on a weekend leading up to the production.We have had our share of bad luck with this show - that's often part of the tale you tell once it's all over, but also had some great laughs along the way. A lot of the dialogue in Carousel is difficult to understand, as some of the words are not ones I'd heard of before. The funniest one is when we are in the "Clambake" scene (which is by far the cheesiest scene of all in this show, if you ask me) and one of the men are talking about Nettie having a "catnip" fit. Well, that in itself made us laugh, but what made it even funnier was when one of men said "Catnap" instead. Well, of course we then continued the theme with as many ridiculous cat related words as we could - as if a catnip fit wasn't ridiculous enough! We had a cat-flap, cat-crap, cat-clap cat-litter, etc. The problem with laughing at rehearsals, for me, is that once I start I find it incredibly difficult to stop. I start shaking and tears run down my face - it's that old situation of knowing that you really shouldn't be laughing, but you just can't help it. I think we have had so many things go wrong, we are all just waiting for the next disaster.

To give you an idea of what has happened - the man who would have been the main director was involved in an unfortunate accident in July when he tripped up outside his house and dislocated his kneecaps. He's had surgery and has been in leg braces since then, but is still not fully recovered. We therefore had to bring in a new director. One of our key committee members then announced he had to go to China for three weeks in October, so would not be available for the show. We had two more of our male members also opt out for various reasons, so were getting really low on men. We had the services of a professional choreographer to help us with the dance routines - but he had to leave after about 3 weeks in order to work elsewhere. One of our members, Corinne, was planning on taking charge in this area, but she damaged her knee and had to opt out of the rehearsals for a short time (it was her Dad who'd dislocated his patella, too!). We struggled to find anyone to play the part of Jigger for several weeks (although now we've found him, he's proving to be very capable) and then our Starkeeper was taken ill with an ear problem (which will take months to recover from) so Ian, our Chairman, has taken on that role. A week or so ago, another member dropped out for health reasons, so the character of Mrs Mullin has only just been replaced by someone from another society. Finally, the man playing Mr Bascombe has broken his knee by falling off his bicycle. We have managed to replace him with one of the members who'd originally planned on not being involved!

Frustrating, tiring and full of incidents - I don't think I've forgotten anything, but I do know that the old saying "The Show Must Go On" usually applies because we can't afford for it not to! Cancellation fees are enormous and besides which, it will be "All Right On The Night".

Fortunately, we have some stunning singers in the lead roles. I love listening to Andy Collinson, for instance - he is playing Billy opposite his real-life partner Roz Shallcross. This show is the first time I've heard Roz singing to her potential and she has got such a crystal clear voice, it's breath-taking - she's a first-rate actress, too and really brings out the emotion in the character of Julie. Jane Bradley is playing Carrie with great humour and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her performing opposite Roz in the scenes they have together.

I have missed a rehearsal this week because I've been suffering with a bad head cold/sore throat/flu type illness. It started last Friday evening and I probably shouldn't have gone to the rehearsal on Sunday afternoon but I felt ok-ish at that point. I got worse instead of better, however, so really couldn't make it to the evening rehearsal on Tuesday, which was annoying but couldn't be helped. I think I am starting to feel better today at last, my voice is still a bit croaky but with drinks of honey, hot water and cider vinegar I will be singing about catnip again before too long!

Favourite song from this show has to be "You'll Never Walk Alone". I also like "If I Loved You" sung by Julie, it has such a strong emotional feel to it. I do find that actually being part of a musical show often changes my mind about music and songs I previously either disliked or had not interest in whatsoever. Familiarity with the music probably helps, and some songs are just really good to sing out loud!

Anyway, here's a copy of the poster for our production, which is to be performed on Friday 29th October at 7.30pm and Saturday 30th October at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are available from Bob Harrison on 01482 327007 and are priced at £10 for adults, £8 for seniors and £5 for children. You can also buy tickets on the door if you prefer.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Charity Concert in Selby

I have recently been sent details of this charity concert which some of you may be able to go and see - Demelza Stafford will be singing at Selby Abbey on Saturday 16th October 2010 at 7.30pm. Demelza has a beautiful soprano voice and has sung as a guest artiste for the Hull Ladies' Musical Union on several occasions, proving extremely popular each time. She will be joined by Yoko Huso on piano. Hull Male Voice Choir will also be perfoming at this event, which is being held to raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity. Tickets are £10 and available by calling Elizabeth Stafford on 01757 702846 or by going online to

Please forward or share this with anyone you think may be interested. Many thanks!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Video Editing

Despite the fact that I don't particularly like cold, wet, windy and grey days here in East Yorkshire, I am actually quite pleased that the weather has been so for the past week. It has meant that I can continue (along with Keith, my husband) editing the video and still photography that we took on our cruise holiday earlier this year. We usually edit a combination of still and video photography for every holiday or special event soon afterwards. This time, however, we were busy preparing for a play as soon as we got back, so the editing process took a back seat. 

I just wanted to share this really short clip of the footage we managed to get inside the Papyrus making factory  - just a small shot, but it shows the style of artwork created . The final painting is the one we bought to have in our home, which is now framed (by Keith) and on our living room wall.