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Above: Dancers in Plymouth outside TR2, before morning class; photo: Jonathan Caguioa

Last night was our first performance of Aladdin in Theatre Royal Plymouth, and we were absolutely bowled over by the audience response!

A number of dancers took to twitter to thank the audience for their support, including Steven Monteith, Tzu-Chao Chou, Kristen McGarrity, Lachlan Monaghan and Céline Gittens – click each name to see their thank you messages!

Company Manager Paul Grist also commented: “The audience in Plymouth are always brilliant, but they really were amazing last night. Their warmth and support really lifted the whole performance, and the whole Company were on a real high, feeding off that energy.”

Enormous thanks must also go the venue staff – While there is extensive building and renovation work going on at the theatre, they’ve ensured that this has had minimal impact on our visit.

Again, Paul explained this morning: “They’d liaised with us a long time ago to let us know what would be happening and how they’d be dealing with any issues, and in actual fact it’s been nothing like as disruptive as we were anticipating. As usual, the whole team at Plymouth Theatre Royal has worked seamlessly, and I can’t praise them highly enough.”

Amy Dolan is covering for Company Manager Paul Grist during our performances at Theatre Royal Plymouth this week. She has kindly taken time out to send us an update from the venue:

Hello from Plymouth!

Since Paul’s last post the company spent a week in London at Sadler’s Wells performing the same programme as we are doing here in Plymouth at the Theatre Royal: half a week of Autumn Glory (Checkmate, Symphonic Variations and Pineapple Poll) and the other half performing La Fille Mal Gardée.

The technical staff arrived in advance of the Company early Monday and the Company travelled up from BRB HQ on Monday afternoon on a coach (this is new for this season… all the dancers are travelling to and from the venue by company coach rather than my trains and cars).

On Tuesday we had the usual piano rehearsal and opening night performance in Plymouth of Autumn Glory. The performance went down very well with the Plymouth audience and was great to see the regulars in! After the performance thanks to the lovely people at the Theatre Royal and TRAC we had drinks in the bar for the dancers and technical team.

Yesterday we had two performances and again all went well without too many hiccups! It was also our last performance of Autumn Glory for the autumn season.

Last night we had our technical change over to La Fille Mal Gardée and at the time of writing the dancers (and the pony!) are currently in a piano rehearsal on stage rehearsing ready for tonight’s sold out performance.

We have four more performances left now on the Autumn tour and then back to Birmingham to start Nutcracker season which opens in three weeks time. Preparations for this still continue whilst on tour so time between performances and early mornings are made up of lots of Nutcracker meeting and meetings about the O2.

This is my first time in Plymouth and I am staying in the West Hoe area so I have a lovely walk to the theatre everyday over the hoe. I’ve had chance to go to the Barbican quickly but other than that not had much time for sight-seeing, hopefully I will squeeze some in before heading back up north!

Sadly Saturday will see the last performance of Robert Gravenor (First Artist) with Birmingham Royal Ballet and we all wish him the very best for the future.

Speak soon!

Amy x

I managed to get out of the office this week, down to Plymouth where the Company have been performing Cinderella at the Theatre Royal.

It was interesting to see how the production was translating to other stages. The performance space and backstage areas are a slightly different size and shape in each of our touring venues, and so the technical department were having to scutinise how each element of the show’s vast set entered and exited the stage.

The dancers themselves also have to be acutely aware of their performance space, so as to maintain their spacing during the big group scenes. Equally, those performing solos need to know exactly how much room they have when executing swift manèges around the stage. At Tuesday’s piano rehearsal I saw both Elisha Willis and Jenna Roberts (who made her debut in the lead role this week) dancing their solos on stage.

Meanwhile in the wings, I spotted a props cage, containing various bits and peices used during the performance.

The big pink boxes that you can see here contain the half-finished tutus which the dressmaker brings to the stepsisters for their approval prior to the Prince’s ball.

There’s also a tray stacked with cupcakes, which makes an appearance at the ball itself. We featured John Macfarlane’s designs for some of these props on the Creating Cinderella blog a few months ago. In addition, you can see the bowls in which Cinderella serves her sisters their morning porridge in the basement kitchen where she lives.

For those of you who like putting faces to names, here’s Arthur Lewis, Senior Stage Technician, who’s also been featured on the Cinderella blog, discussing more of the props used!

The Theatre Royal Plymouth also wrote about our visit on their own backstage blog. Click here to take a look!

Rob.

Casting for all 2009 tour dates at Belfast Grand Opera House and Plymouth Theatre Royal are available on the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

Click the following links to take a look:

Cyrano at Belfast Grand Opera House

Quantum Leaps and Cyrano at Plymouth Theatre Royal

Cyrano Act III

Birmingham Royal Ballet is off on the road again next week, kicking off the 2009 autumn tour on Tuesday night in Belfast.
Dates are as follows:

Tuesday 13-Saturday 17 October
Cyrano
Grand Opera House, Belfast

Tuesday 20-Wednesday 21 October
Quantum Leaps
Thursday 22-Saturday 24 October
Cyrano
Plymouth Theatre Royal

Wednesday 4-Thursday 5 November
Quantum Leaps
Friday 6-Saturday 7 November
Cyrano
Sunderland Empire

Tuesday 10-Wednesday 11 November
Quantum Leaps
Thursday 12-Saturday 14 November
Cyrano
Sadlers Wells Theatre

You can click each venue name for a link to their websites.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s website

Birmingham Royal Ballet on twitter