Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Last week was a weird week wasn’t it. It sort of felt like an endless Sunday, only we were half at work feeling really lethargic and wondering if its ok to still have a midday glass of wine.
In light of not being able to put my mind to much over those few days, other than finishing the Christmas chocolate, I’d been musing a bit and thought it was about time for a new blog. Feel free to contribute with your experiences in the comments!
It’s been really exciting getting stuck into programming for the 2017 Brighton Fringe. So far we’re up to 37 events over the month of May and I think it will be around 50 by the time I’ve finished putting the programme together. I don’t want to give too much away just now, as it’s still being finalised, but it will be a great mix of plenty of stand up comedy – some performers we know and some are new to us – spoken word, clowning, music and half term workshops. The studio space here is very intimate (35 audience members maximum), so naturally it lends itself to stand-up comedy and small scale shows, but we’re still looking at getting some theatre productions in there – there’s a lot that can be done between a few people with great imaginations in a small space! Actually, without wanting to jump the gun too much, the long-term plan is to have an in-house theatre company, but there’s a way to go with that yet!
In the meantime, and looking forward to getting out to some great theatre ourselves next year (not to mention Edinburgh 2017) it’s been really nice to reflect on those theatre productions from over the years that have continued to make it my top choice for a treat night out.
I remember seeing a production of Wind in the Willows at the National when I was about 7 and, as well as being one of my earliest memories, it was definitely the point when I fell in love with the theatre. With everything about it, that I still love – the feeling waiting in the foyer, the buzz in the auditorium before the start, the surprises, the analysing at the interval. I still remember aspects of the Wind in the Willows set, and how magical the whole thing was.
I also just watched about 4 seconds of the production on YouTube and had to turn it off – There’s a very good reason why these things should stay in our memories and, actually, in quite a lot of cases, not be shown on screen at all (particularly if it was filmed in 1990). But that night started something!
A lot of enjoyable productions have been above pubs or in halls or studios, of course, but it’s difficult not to look back on some of the ‘big ones’ as the most memorable experiences, and feel so lucky to have been there. Some starred big names, and although I’m a massive champion of new writing and small scale productions, these just remain some of the greatest experiences in a theatre – Noises Off at the Old Vic, Gillian Anderson in ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ at the Young Vic, Kevin Spacey in ‘Clarence Darrow’, ‘Gypsy’ at the Savoy last year – I haven’t stopped thinking about that one since. Imelda Staunton is back on stage in 2 productions in 2017 and we’re saving our pennies for those now thanks to her performance in Gypsy.
I had a stint at stage school, and loved studying drama at University, but never having possessed the determination or desire to commit to a life of professional performer – plus discovering how much fun it is to get really drunk – I don’t think I could ever have been dedicated enough to do an 8 show week! Working in theatres for a good 5 years in London was great, hospitality, events and front of house jobs in that environment are special in that you have the sense of something exciting and important happening every day.
And now I’ve got my own tiny space to play with and although I sometimes miss working in those environments, we’ll still go and see as much stuff as we can, and this way I can choose exactly what happens here!
So happy new year to all our lovely friends and customers. Come and see us soon – we’ve got comedy this month on the 13th and 27th, amazing live music on the 28th and new exhibition launch on the 14th.