Saturday, 15 August 2015

Trip to the Theatre; A Backstage Tour

The theatre has always been one of my favourite places and some of my earliest and best memories revolve around time spent there. I'm lucky enough to live so close to Theatre Royal Plymouth , a unique theatre which has perfectly blended traditional and modern making it the perfect host for almost any show. We are so lucky down here to welcome a load of touring shows every year and with each visit my love and passion for the theatre continues to grow. With this in mind, when I was contacted by Becca, PR Officer, inviting me for a meeting and backstage tour of the theatre, I was beyond excited!
Myself and 4 other bloggers head to the stage door where we met Becca who introduced us to the staff and explained to us the plans for the day before were whisked away by Mark who conducted the backstage tour. He led us through a dark room telling us we were going to 'wake up the theatre', a phrase which I adore! This was one of the most memorable moments of the day and something I have often dreamt of, as we stood in what appeared to be a dark, echoing room Mark flicked the lights on revealing we were standing on what was in fact the stage! Just when I thought it couldn't get any more magical, the safety curtain was lifted unveiling the auditorium, the whole experience felt like something out of a movie and was simply breathtaking!
Mark then proceeded to take us up many, many flights of stairs to show us the 'flying' system which is how they change the the sets backdrops and lighting. He explained to us how the theatre use the traditional method which involves a system of balancing weights and pulling ropes. The whole system was fascinating to see and I was amazed by how much work goes into something which I always thought to be so effortless - after seeing this I can tell you it's certainly not and I applaud the crew who set up and operate the system. At this point we were almost 25ft above the stage, so I was quite relieved when we descent back down the stairs!
Growing up in a very musically talented family (par myself) I have always been curious to have a look in the orchestra pit, so when Becca told us we would be heading in I was very excited. The area was surprisingly larger than I had expected and it was incredible to see the vast amount of instruments used for just one show, I can imagine it is a really atmospheric area during performances!
After lunch we were so lucky to meet the cast of Shrek the Musical, which is currently touring the UK. Whilst backstage we visited the costume department, this was definitely one of the most exciting elements for me, I spent a lot of time admiring the details of the costumes and I was amazed by how many costumes there were considering the cast is made up of just over 20 people! The whole backstage area was filled with props including a giant Lord Farquaad head, the huge dragon and mini legs, it was a truly surreal yet hilarious experience!
However, the most memorable moment of the day was when we were able to watch the Shrek rehearsals, we watched both in the wings and in an empty auditorium and had the opportunity to talk to cast members whilst they were off stage. I was amazed by how well the cast bought the characters to life even without the costumes and sets, it just goes to show how talented they are!
I had the most incredible days at the theatre and it truly was a unique experience which I am so lucky to have been invited too.TRP is by far the best theatre I have attended with their clever staging, inticing incentives and wonderful teams. After this tour I gained a new love for theatre and a greater appreciation for the hard work put in by the crew and orchestra members as well as the cast, it really is a group effort to put on such a successful show and I am so glad I got to experience that.
I want to say a huge thankyou to Theatre Royal Plymouth and Becca, aswell as the Shrek cast for inviting me to this fabulous day and making it the amazing experience that it was! I can't wait to work with the theatre again in the future!
Becca x