Summer: Behind Closed Doors of a Theatre

It’s quite normal for a theatre to go dark (the term meaning ‘to close’ or rather, to turns the lights off) during the month of August. It’s that lull where summer is upon us, and quite frankly we’d prefer to be outside sunbathing and eating strawberries to being perched on a bench watching a show.

This is all very normal for a theatre, but whilst the doors might be closed to the public, there is a hive of activity happening at the Little Angel. So much so, I’m dedicating a whole blog to tell you about what you’re missing out on.

August is upon us (and soon to be over!) and I’ve never seen the theatre so busy. It is on the verge of a building site, and somewhere hidden under the thin layer of dust is a theatre waiting to be open once again to the public. At least, this is what I hope will happen in the next 3 weeks!

Our new driveway

New Driveway

It started shortly after our summer party, when outside the theatre came the first round of new work in the form of a new driveway. The old one needed replacing as it featured many a hole, and was making the cars not entirely happy. So, along came a digger and tore it up, to be replaced with lovely brick work. A new driveway for our theatre!

Our new toilet facilities

New Toilets

Next our toilets came under the hammer. We might have some of the best puppetry in the country but we certainly weren’t winning any awards for our toilet facilities. It’s not that they were nasty, they just weren’t all that nice! Smash came the hammer, out went the old, in with the new.

Here our tales of dust and woes begin. If you want new toilets, you have to have nice wall tiles right? Yes well… we did. The problem came when the tiles had to be fitted and cut to size because the walls weren’t exactly nice right angles. Along came the cutting of the tiles, and along came a whole load of dust. *Sneezes*#

Office Clean

Office Summer Clean

The dust only got worse when prompted by the verge of a nervous breakdown of our general manager over the lack of a tidy office an amnesty of all office supplies, folders, and work was to take place.

Commence the Office Summer Clean.

Everything was removed from the office, everything was cleaned in the office, the walls were repainted, and we were given strict instructions that our desks were to remain tidy at all costs … or else. Eek.

We all got involved, and I found myself at 7pm on a Thursday night hidden under a desk with a vacuum cleaner pondering if this was normal for a Marketing Officer. Apparently it is. Thankfully I was spared from the painting of the walls which our Tour Manager and General Manager jointly took up the challenge of. Well done ladies!

The cables ready to be put in place

Lighting Refit

Now here comes the big one. After months of planning, months of fundraising, and months of negotiating… 49 years after first opening the Little Angel is getting a whole new system of lights, wires and rigging installed. This is huge for us, so excuse me whilst I suddenly turn more serious in my writing.

Currently there are a team of electricians installing numerous cabling containers running along the ceiling and walls of the theatre itself. These will be linked to our power supply, and allow for the lighting to be installed in the form of rigging above the seats. Rigging is basically the structure which allows the lights to hang from.

The team have had to create numerous holes in the walls and floors – and whilst it’s been a little bit noisey, it will be completely worth it in the long run. This is no easy project, and our technical manager David is doing a remarkable job at balancing each of the projects happening within the theatre as well as organising the up and coming technical requirements for our shows.

Once all the installing is done, we’ll be receiving a whole array of fancy new lights that will certainly make the puppets we use in our shows easier to see, and dazzle for the audience.

This lighting refit will take the theatre into the next 50 years, and whilst the dust is itching our noses, and the noise is making phone conversations rather interesting, it’s all worth it.

We’ve still got a few more weeks to get through before we’ll be able to open the doors to the public, but until then – enjoy our updates, and the last of the summer sun – for rain doth commeth.

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One thought on “Summer: Behind Closed Doors of a Theatre

  1. Seeing it all laid out like that makes me realise just how much has been going on this summer. Thanks for putting it all out there Jake – I can’t wait to reveal the theatre to our audiences this autumn. It may not seem like we’ve made massive changes to everyone at first glance, but we all know just how important it is that we’ve done all this to make sure the theatre keeps improving.

    And I promise you, I’m not really on the verge of a nervous breakdown…!

    Lynette (GM)

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