I arrived in the office early Monday afternoon, after spending the morning packing for London and fighting the wind and rain, ready to prepare for the task of Coach Monitor.
As departure time grew closer, the coach list I had printed only an hour earlier was now crumpled from the wind, sodden from the rain and heavily marked from all the changes. Once the whereabouts of everyone had been established the coach began to move and we reached the motorway. David Bintley and I thought it of particular interest that we uncooly wear our seatbelts as we were the first two seats. After helping one of the dancers solve them leaving their wallet behind I felt it was all clear for me to get to some shut eye in order to make this journey seem quicker. As we arrived at the theatre, everyone soon exited the coach and left for their free night in London.
Entering the theatre I was pleased I could remember my way around from my experience with Heather Knight during the UK Tour of Sutra. I unloaded in the Visiting Company Office where I met Paul Grist and filled him in on the shenanigans of the coach journey. Before using my novice map skills (I was thankful for my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award now!) to direct Barbara (Chaperone), Eva, Arabella and myself to our hotels.
Tuesday began with similar procedures – cast sheets were double-checked, errands to the Orchestra pit to provide them with their cafe discount cards were made and sign in sheets were delivered to Stage Door. As I settled into the office I was introduced to Richard Cross (Programming Coordinator) whom there had been many emails back and forth discussing logistics. There was more research into the Chinese Visa Applications for Iain Mackay and Elisha Willis regarding their upcoming Gala performances, paperwork was chased, visitors arrived, welcome packs were received and letters handed out. We also went to meet Marguerite to discuss Front of House logistics for this week’s performances – Marguerite seemed to have everything under control as we had a quick chat in the foyer!
As you can see from reviews – http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/bintley-triple-bill-birmingham-royal-ballet-sadler’s-wells Judith Flanders, The Arts Desk – the company performed to nothing less than an exceptional standard, artistically and technically.
An early start on Wednesday meant I would have the evening free so after eating my ‘just add boiling water’ porridge in the hotel I made my way to Sadler’s Wells. I completed the standard procedure of checking my emails and diary whilst ticking off any tasks. As well as chasing my to do list and flagged emails. As the matinee performance approached comp tickets were allocated/organised and staff tickets were purchased. Curtain went up on time and everything ran smoothly from there. During the performance our minds were reverted back to The Nutcracker as we looked into performance allocation for the Blue and the Red team, attempting to meet the needs of everyone.
Hearing Thursday morning’s alarm and I was feeling a little deflated after a traumatic tube experience the night before – nothing serious, I’m just a wimp! The only way to lift my spirits was to surround myself with Actors as they arrived for their Costume and Shoe Fittings. It was lovely to see some familiar faces; one of the actors was the LIPA graduate I had recruited when we needed a last minute replacement. This evening’s performance would be a little different as I went to the box office to purchase tickets for some fellow LIPA students whose placements were in London, they were extremely looking forward to watching ballet, some of who it would be their first experience.
Ongoing tasks were slowly starting to come together. I booked on the 10.03am train for tomorrow, to make a quick trip back to Birmingham to collect documents that had arrived for the Nutcracker Child licence applications and for Iain and Elisha’s China Visa applications. Sam Eaves, Marketing Manager, had also arrived bearing gifts in the form of post; more Nutcracker licence applications could now make their way to the nearest post office to be sent special delivery.
As the rehearsals for that afternoon began I used the little knowledge of technology I had to turn on the TV in the Company Office so I could see if the Actor’s rehearsal was running smoothly. In the meantime, more cast sheets were prepared for that evening’s performance, smart phone versions were updated whilst we awaited the arrival of the printed ones to stage door. The curtain went up and I was extremely excited for my friends, hoping they enjoyed their first experience of ballet. I met them at Front of House armed with cast sheets and programmes, ready to point out my name in the staff list. Ecstatic that they would get to see the incredible Marion Tait in action as Carabosse!
Friday’s plans were far from standard as I made my way to Euston – Birmingham bound. After collecting all of the necessary items I was on the return train to London after landing in Birmingham for less than 40 minutes. Arriving back at Sadler’s Wells there was no rest for the wicked as Paul checked Iain and Elisha’s visa applications for possibly the 37th time before catching the next tube to the Embassy. Emails I had received whilst on my travels were now receiving replies and tasks for that were noted in my diary were completed.
As the week was coming to a close I looked at scheduled events for Sunderland – catching up with a couple of actors whilst noting requests to pass onto Paul.
Similar routine began Saturday morning as I entered the theatre. The Nutcracker performances had been allocated and sent to all the parents who were understandably eager to get their tickets. This meant I could now complete a performance taxi schedule for the Elmhurst students. As I manned the office during class that morning I met guest attendants, chased outstanding Nutcracker paperwork and Actors whilst also arranging the flowers that had been delivered for that afternoon’s performance.
As the curtain went up Paul made his way to Front of House as I gathered my belongings for the train back to my hometown, Manchester. Before finishing off the remaining details for the Nutcracker taxi schedule and adding it to the shared dropbox folder.