The Company’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newcastle-Theatre-Company/54052341294?fref=ts) has an interesting range of photos from the ’80’s and ’90’s scanned in and posted a while ago by Susan Dredge. Here’s three of my favourites. Marat Sade was one of the first shows I saw at Rep (with Joanne Michel, for those who know her). Oh! What a Lovely War! was the first show I did for the company. And Robyn Greenwell designed the set for Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.
What really needs to be done around our theatre?
1. We need a shed out the back that is big enough to store major scenery pieces
2. We need to decommission and replace the current large air conditioning unit with an appropriate, low noise fan unit
3. The costume area! It needs new shelves, sorting, reorganising
4. We’ve collected a lot of old flats and other pieces that are well past their use by date and need to be dumped. There’s also some large items to dispose of.
5. Our set construction area is evolving but it needs finishing and organising
6. If the rail on the loading bay stairs was removable…
There’s the priority list. What we’ve got planned is a giant monster working bee centred around the weekend of the 10th and 11th of January. The plan is to concentrate on the first three items in the list.
On both days, we’d get teams working at around 9 with a finish after lunch at around 2pm. What we need now is people who’d like to volunteer for a team. To volunteer, send an e-mail to Viv at the theatre. We’d like people for:
The Shed-building team
The air-con decommissioning team
The costume room team
The clean-up team
The catering and drinks team
If you’re available for only one day, or for both, that’s fine. If you’re not available that weekend, there’s some work to be done pre- and post- the event.
2014 was such a big year that we haven’t really had the time for some of the major work around the theatre. So this is our chance to catch up and get the place ship-shape. We’ve got enough to keep everyone busy. Each team will have a ‘Captain’ who’ll be involved in the planning of the day so if you’re interested in this role, let Viv know as well.
Looking forward to seeing a great many of the members there!
Monday, 8th December.
Sherlock Holmes and the Legend of the Jersey Lily.
Debriefs are designed to look at a production and reflect on what went well and what else we need to work on. We had a dozen people turn up tonight to talk through Sherlock Holmes.
There was a range of valuable discussions to do with a range of issues from the practical to the philosophical. The practical included working in the old theatre and the issues involved in working there. The philosophical included ideas about approaches to the play. All of us have ideas about how we would approach a play and sharing those was interesting.
One interesting idea involved the future of the old building. Everyone agreed that a long term plan that involved demolishing the old theatre and replacing it with a purpose-built theatre. There was also a lot of talk about the need to fix our costume and props storage. Luckily executive met tonight to talk about the major working bee in January designed to fix this problem. Watch this space.
On the philosophical side, the group discussed what’s best described as the set change issue. With four locations (plus a dressing room scene) this was a set-heavy show. The production team made use of the Periaktoids to solve the problem. Their theory was that the peris would speed up the set change process. However, the realistic sets and the number of furniture pieces meant that the set changes still took up to seven minutes.
The discussion around this was the highlight of the debrief. Some audience members really enjoyed the set change process, some found the breaks of no consequence and some found them distracting. In talking around the issues, there were some interesting insights for designers. The peris are designed to make changes quicker but they’re more suited for non-realistic sets with big splashes of colourful design items. They are okay for realistic plays but for the theatre savvy, the gaps and inconsistencies of finish are distracting.
The season of Sherlock itself did well financially, taking around $14,000. There were discussions about the strengths of the production, many of which centred on the quality of performances.
The whole debrief procedure is an important part of what we do as a theatre. Thank you to all who took part in tonight’s event.