Roller Shutters Up!

There has indeed been a lot to see and hear and take in for everyone over the past couple of days.  It feels as though there have been even more people busily involved in the run up to the opening; kind people who have arrived to help out with stewarding, school pupils observing goings on, last minute painters…

The design team's to do list: lots of tasks satisfyingly crossed out

The design team's to do list: lots of tasks satisfyingly crossed out

The old Sports World unit is now a far cry from the shop “where the trainers used to be.”  It is now a theatre set of shops and streets and living spaces, ready and waiting for its audience.  Well, almost.  When most of us left tonight, those directors and designers Lisa mentioned in her post yesterday were still huddled together, formulating plans, hatching more ideas and discussing technical hitches we encountered during the dress rehearsal this evening.  I hope they’ve gone home now to rest – I have images in  my mind of Rob, Johnny, Uzma, Mick all still frantically painting, sewing, sawing, hammering…

I wonder what the shoppers of The Mander Centre have made of the latest developments to the space that, until a couple of weeks ago, stood dark and empty.  All week, they’ve been peering through the gaps in the roller shutters.  Today, they have been wandering by, slowing up and pausing, taking fliers and talking to us about ‘what’s going on’.  With the roller shutters fully raised, they’ve been invited to watch some of our rehearsals taking place. This has been a really interesting experience.  Rehearsals are usually so private and personal.

Last week: a view through a roller shutter

Last week: a view through a roller shutter

It’s a time when the company can intensively look at what they will offer to their audiences on opening night and beyond.  But it’s been brilliant to have the shutters open to talk to the people whose attention we grab.  It’s been exciting to see fascinated faces watch snippets of the show and be privy to sneak previews.  It’s as though we’ve ‘been on show’ a little bit early, and this has really fed into a unique pre-first night energy.

We performed a run to a large audience today, which was extremely useful in terms of gauging timings. Timings will be massively affected by the presence of an audience, given the promenade nature of the performance, so the dress rehearsal today was invaluable.  Of course there’s a healthy dose of technicalities to work on, journeys across stage to run through, sound cues to perfect, notes to share, final props to check are sourced, costume changes to go over…all in less than twenty-four hours.  Sounds like a desperate state of affairs doesn’t it?  But it isn’t. It really will be fine.  We’ve a brilliant show, a fantastic team and an amazing set.   First night here we come…!

Rochi Rampal

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One Response to “Roller Shutters Up!”

  1. Around the Blogs: Number 2 « Blogging By Numbers Says:

    […] The Corner Shop Blog it was almost time for opening night (plus a rather spectacular to-do […]

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