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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

It is Wednesday, so it must be tennis

We had a great weekend.

The theatre back stage tour was fantastic.  We saw everything, from the under-stage area, where we learnt that the stage is modular, so they can remove sections for trap-doors or other reasons, through to costumes, wigs, dressing rooms (nice!), back stage, front stage, on stage and the control room.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that the design of the building, which is hexagonal with a thrust stage, was so important.  It was built in the sixties, with a budget of something like £150k, with a design brief to be cheap and honest.  That would be around £1.5m in today's money.  The fact that they have just been through a Renew program which cost around £11m makes you realise how cheap it was originally.  In design terms, they adhered to the "form follows function" paradigm, and also "truth in materials", so there is plenty of exposed concrete elements, including the cantilevered load-bearing elements, and followed through to the newly laid polished concrete flooring in various zones of the foyer.

The low build price did come with a hitch; there was not back-stage area in the original building.  They had to winch props and staging up the back from outside the structure.  Needless to say a back stage was added, and expanded in the Renew program.

One nice touch was the floor in the Green Room.  It was made of very thin wood strips, highly polished, with cracks and gaps and general imperfections.  It turns out that that flooring was the original stage floor, which was lifted and re-laid in the Green Room, to provide some continuity back to the original structure, one on which the first Artistic Director, Sir Laurence Olivier, had walked when it first opened.

I also managed both the repair jobs on the 'van, so hopefully it is now waterproof again, and with a fully functioning double bed.

Oh, and we have booked our Summer Holiday at long last. 

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