Into Derby

I rejoin the company in Derby having taken a breather away from the tour. Mind you it seems to have been one hell of an evening in Stockton. Greeted by a man with a can of special brew the company ended up in a haunted hotel. In between the show apparently went well – first time its been done with just two support crew (Tia as tour manager and Julian,technician).

Its a conversation I pick up with Stuart on the train to Derby. As creative mentor he had originally been engaged to help grow and develop the show over the rehearsal days and into the first two performances. After that he was to step back and concentrate on digitally documenting the work. The reality has been somewhat different and the company have needed much more of Stuarts time – particularly over the collaborations and some of the more tricky technical changeovers. Its certainly something we’ll pick up on the debrief.

The Assembly Rooms is a labyrinth of rooms and corridors. The Darwin Suite feels huge for our purposes (and for our advance sales) but the team are welcoming and helpful once again. Food is laid on – roast chicken and ice cream – but technical rehearsals are delayed by monitor problems. Its a problem that unfortunately bleeds into the performance – a shame given this is the show we are documenting, courtesy of our friends at Line Out.

I have to dash back to Leicester for a board meeting for Foot in Hand – the meeting is a reminder how draining it can be being a solo artist. Work is flooding in but partners keep letting the company down (double bookings, complications, things promised not delivered) all of which is taking its toll.

Just prior to the meeting a former colleague tells me how great it is seeing the P&C pieces initiated for Summer Sundae being given the opportunity to develop and find new audiences.

Leaving the meeting early I literally have to run from the depot to the train station and make the train by literally seconds. I’m at the venue for the 30 minute call – just in time to check my compering blurb.

Now blacked out and with an audience in place the venue looks and feels loads better. Its still a large room and the solid concrete wall makes the sound difficult to control but the audience is warm and responsive. With some extra material the show runs to 11pm which is probably a tad too long.

Jaceck from the Arts Council is effusive – tells me I need to make sure Aoife and Jainey’s work finds its way into the hands of Night Waves. The team from Writing East Midlands are equally positive and enthusiastic. They’re side project has already had conversations about inviting Mark n Mixy back. Friends of mine are bowled over – particularly by Woodpigeon. Jenny – my fellow P&C producer – is excited by how developed both Mark and Mixy and Aoife and Jainey’s piece have become (she hasn’t seen either since Summer Sundae 2008).

But its an evening tinged with a touch of sadness as we say goodbye to Mark Grist – one half of Dead Poets – and Stuart Silver. Mind you didn’t stop us ending up in the Blue Note night club until the 1am – whilst some of the company held a ukelele session in room 208 until 4am!!

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