BEHIND THE SCENES
Other than for the pantomime, there are often more people working backstage than actually performing. And, of course, that doesn't include those who have been selling tickets on our behalf or helping to build the scenery. So this page is devoted to the army of helpers that keep the shows going - and, of course, we could always use more help so let us know if you are interested!
Whilst the actors are busy learning their lines, posters are put up and tickets go on sale.
For many years ticket sales have been done by Rutherfords and Sons; however, following their closure in 2016, the Stamford Bridge Post Office has taken over the reins for which we are extremely grateful.
Then, once we start rehearsing in the Village Hall, work begins on building the sets required for the production and the group is fortunate in having access to a group of very talented builders and artists who produce excellent scenery time and time again.
THE TECHNICAL BITS
Most productions are straight forward technically, but the Panto usually starts with assembling the music some time before Christmas. Prior to 2009 music came from various Karaoke tapes/CDs, although now we have a musical director we are lucky enough to have live/sequenced music for the pantomimes.
Over Christmas the sound effects are assembled onto a minidisc by our sound and lighting expert who has a good library of sound effects on CD. Anything new can usually be put together in half an hour or so in the studio. It usually takes a good half a day to assemble all of the music and sound effects.
The next job is to set the lights. This is done about a week and a half before the performances. We have 16x 500 Watt lights (10 spots and 6 floods) running on 12 dimmer channels (Rated 1-2KW each) which makes planning very important to avoid overloading of dimmers and to make sure the stage is always well lit.
In the picture you can see Richard Hind in action, the lighting desk is on the left and on the right is the sound mixing desk, with a minidisc player in the centre. The booth was built in the summer of 2006 to keep the equipment dry and the technician warm during the winter productions!
COSTUMES AND PROPS
There is nothing as exciting as getting a new play script and seeing what challenges it presents for the wardrobe mistress. Of course, after that initial feeling panic sets in, when she realises that she has to find some obscure garment or make a dozen matching items for the chorus of the pantomime!
There are several things to be considered based on the script::
1. Time of day
2. Time of year
3. What period is the play set in?
4. Age of characters
5. Colour scheme, possibly
6. Are there any quick changes?
Then using a costume sheet for each character, appropriate outfits have to be found, either from the wardrobe, charity shops or, if necessary, made from scratch. And when it comes to very special items, such as the dresses for the pantomime dame, costumes are often hired from a local company. And sometimes it is cheaper to buy rather than hire – and at least then the costume is retained.
As well as costumes, there are often a myriad of props required and these have to be assembled and positioned so that they are where they should be when required on stage.
AND ON THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW.....
The Stage Manager has the responsibility for setting the stage and making sure everything runs smoothly. To do this, he usually has a team of helpers to move items on and off stage, as well as changing the backdrops for each scene change.
Make up is applied (in large quantities for some!) by a team of ladies....
And whilst this is going on, the producer is busy worrying and giving last minute instructions (not really!! As cool as a cucumber knowing the cast are all fully prepared!)
And the actors? Well, they're just taking it easy!!!