Friday began differently. I had the morning off so took the opportunity to work on some things for LIPA. I then made my way into The Lowry where I was meeting Sally Powell (Youth Dance Coordinator) and Charlotte Rachwal (Marketing Executive) to discuss my development with The Lowry’s Dance Ambassador Scheme. As I entered the Company Office, the atmosphere was busy and everyone seemed excited. Scientists are making a recent claim that a ballet dancer’s genetic make up of their brain allows them to spin as many times as they do without getting dizzy;http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2434572/Why-ballet-dancer-gets-dizzy-Scientists-uncover-differences-ballerinas-brains-mean-endless-pirouettes.html. ITV News had arranged a visit at short notice for that morning to film some of the rehearsal. Due to the News Access Agreement the only thing to do was to notify all the relevant people – Dancers, Orchestra, Ballet Staff, Stage Management, The Lowry’s Marketing department (Zoe) etc.
Sally, Charlotte and myself spoke about the past year, the present and my future. I was extremely happy to hear that I could continue to be involved as much as possible and had the full support of The Lowry with the development of my career in the Professional Dance Industry. Potential future involvement included opportunities such as facilitating workshops, experience within the programming department and establishing contacts within Dance Xchange (a partner organisation with Birmingham Hippodrome and BRB that focuses on Performance, Participation and Production) that I was particularly excited about!
As I had a spare minute in the Visiting Company Office I shared my now growing blog with my course mates through Facebook, hopefully setting the ball rolling for discussion of placements to take place. Marion Tait arrived back from talking through ITV’s acquired footage and informed us that the news piece would be shown that evening.
Next up on the Company Manager’s agenda were tickets. The role of the Company Manager is ALL about multi-tasking, jumping back and forth between tasks. As the full call rehearsal began I was responsible for manning the office and solving any issues that may arise.
Another learning experience on Friday was when casting alterations occur after the casting sheets have been printed and can no longer be altered. The solution to this is for the Senior Stage Manager (Diana Childs) to complete a FOH announcement prior to the start of the performance. If there is a sound kit on tour, which there was due to the sound specifications of Sleeping Beauty i.e. venues that have poor acoustics regarding the orchestra and thunder for Carabosse’s entrance etc. then this is easy enough. If not, other arrangements need to be made.
During the evening’s performance a lot of my time was spent drafting emails for the actors with the relevant updated schedules. This is where I learnt all about the wonders of Bcc “blind carbon copy” (I didn’t know what this did or meant before!).
I was assigned an important task by John Beadle, Orchestra Director to arrange the recorded delivery of an urgent package to Koen Kessels, Music Director in Rome via Louise Timmins (Christopher Barron’s PA) on the following Monday morning.
A thought to keep in mind for the rest of the tour was to note when the following get in/get out would happen as anything kept in the Company Office flight case wouldn’t be available till then.
Paul showed me how he completes the weekly pay roll for Actors. During this lesson the radio came alive with Diana who was describing that an audience member was taking pictures. The Company Manager’s role is to notify FOH via radio, telephone or stage door; Paul then ensured that they have resolved the situation. All the while I was receiving notification from actors that had received their revised schedules and the occasional shoe size for The Nutcracker children.
As the curtain went up on Act III I was privileged to witness the rest of the performance from Deputy Stage Manager’s (Eliska) viewpoint, prompt corner. As Eliska called the show, providing standby for lights, SFX and staff announcements it all seemed a different language to me. Hearts stopped as César Morales, who was Prince Florimund, exited the stage with a well-executed flourish during the Grand Pas de deux to leave the spotlight for Natasha Oughtred, Princess Aurora before falling to the ground with excruciating cramp pains in both his legs. Principal dancer Jamie Bond was on standby, Diana (Senior Stage Manager) and John Beadle (Orchestra Director) assessed the situation and everyone took position ready to complete whatever was decided. As a true professional César recovered and finished the performance with perfection, receiving admired applause from everyone in the wings as well as the audience. All exhaled a huge sigh of relief and anticipation. The curtain closed without a flaw.
The following morning I arrived and checked my emails, ticking off two more actors as they provided receipt of notice and adding more shoe sizes to The Nutcracker children spreadsheet. I attended to FOH who were enquiring our preference as to where the BRB Friends would sit and watch company class from. I learnt of TRAC (Theatre Royal Applause Club), a separate registered charity from Theatre Royal Plymouth of which the members I looked forward to meeting later in the tour. More of the Supplementary Information forms could be completed, more comp tickets were collected and sorted before arriving back at the Box Office and I was asked by Paul if I would like to “don the suit” for the matinee performance.
However, before then I was involved in the Learning and Development Family Fun Day that was happening in the lookout at The Lowry. I was handed a T-shirt (my new favourite T-shirt) and kitted out with stickers. I was extremely impressed with all that this event offered to a variety of ages. There were costumes available to try on, plenty of glitter, arts and crafts, a face painter and the opportunity to observe the reset of the stage after company class had finished in the auditorium. This was also when Ruth Brill, one of the artists, joined us to complete a make up demonstration. Ruth was very charismatic and had plenty of children hypnotised by her top tips! I really enjoyed myself at this event, the only thing – I wish I could have had my face painted! Maybe at one of the other venues.
As the half hour call approached I changed into my professional attire and made my way, with Paul, to the FOH armed with comp tickets that still needed to be claimed and where we found members of the BRB Friends. As we reached the 5-minute call we made our way to the stage and waited there till the beginners call and then curtain up.
During the afternoon’s performance, organisation continued through the art of multitasking. Johnny Westall-Eyre (Head of Lighting) was in the office and explained all about radio frequencies and in particular, the trouble with radios. Frequencies have to be obtained for use by a company through payment, BRB complete this procedure for every venue they tour to. However, any surrounding unlicensed frequencies can potentially be picked up, especially in more industrial areas e.g. London.
As well as attending to the stage for each 5-minute call before Act I and Act III comp tickets were arranged for that evenings performance including 2 tickets that were released to go back on sale.
As my tasks for that day drew to a close so did my touring week. I had thoroughly enjoyed my time in Salford and was extremely satisfied with all the opportunities I had already received. Next stop was home for the company, Birmingham. I would be moving into my new accommodation and hopefully settling in further for the next 3 months.