This week I got to spend most of my time back in my favourite theatre, as I worked backstage for my old secondary school’s show – Evita. The Borough Theatre in Abergavenny was literally my second home growing up. I used to do three musicals and one pantomime there a year and rehearse there four days a week, so it was such a welcome feeling being back. However, this time I swapped performing for being part of the backstage crew and here’s how I got on.
The last show I did with the school was Les Miserables (my absolute fave musical) where I played Madame Thenardier, and since leaving I have been back each year to help out along with Alex and some other ex pupils. This year’s show was Evita which before this week I knew little about. I sang ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ for my grade 6 vocal exam but other than that this was a new one for me. I have to say by the end of the week the show grew on me and I’m struggling to get some of the songs out of my head. I also learnt that it is an extremely difficult show to do and I think the school definitely did it justice as always.
We arrived Monday morning on the day before the show to help unload the set and get it on stage. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t the biggest help with this as when surrounded by men far stronger than I am it can be difficult to make yourself useful. We then came back to the theatre ready to assist with dress rehearsal that night.
I’ve built up a great rapport with the staff at school and so am usually entrusted with some key responsibilities and this year was no different (yelp). I’m typically the go to microphone gal and this year I was also placed in charge of projections as they were largely incorporated into the performance. My experience of being MD and assistant director of Loco this year helped me a bit as I was already familiar with QLab and am always pretty on the ball when it comes to things like this. However, on the first night the projector was having none of it and decided to malfunction mid performance as it was ‘too hot.’ We got it up and running ready for Act 2 so mass panic was avoided eventually!
Aside from spending time with my friends and favourite teachers and getting to know them better, my favourite part of the week was getting to hear the orchestra. Anyone who knows me will be able to tell you that my favourite part of any show is the overture! They were amazing and some of the songs gave me goosebumps. The quality of performance was also excellent and had me welling up at times!
There were lots of us backstage and I think we made a great team. The second night fell at the same time as the England match so we were demonstrating multitasking at its finest.
Despite projector malfunctions, broken speakers and a wheel falling off the double bed the show went ahead smoothly and we did a great job! Being part of a great show has definitely given me the urge to get back on stage in great musical theatre shows as I just love it so watch this space!
Until next time Borough Theatre,