A busy few days at Eastern Angles

Been a busy few days down at Eastern Angles.

Last week we said the last rites for Margaret Catchpole. The final costumes found their way back to their various homes (from the RSC to Ipswich Girls school) – not before I’d tried a few on of course – , the rehearsal markings were painted over and our seating – which had temporarily moved over to the hush house – were returned to their rightful places.

I even dug out the last of the ‘onstage blogs’ to pin on my wall – it contains the terrors of live performance and goes a little like this:-

‘My dearest Matthew.

I thought I should tell you of my latest embarrassment. I was talking to the doctor about the prospect of taking Margaret on in my employment when I felt something between my legs was horribly wrong. I decided the next best course of action would be to stand completely still so as not to further exasperate the situation. Dr Stebbings kept on throwing knowing glances to the muddle between my feet and I could even hear the odd comment from the front two rows.

In the change over I knew something had to be done! I could hardly stand there for the rest of the time. I heard the words ‘whats going on here then’ escape my lips as I looked down.

There gathering between my shoes and with no chance of redemption was my petticoat.
There was only one course of action to take – it must be removed. So there inmy kliving room and with a few hundred people looking on I stepped out of the skirt with a brief flash of my stockings. Luckily Margaret had arrived by now and whisked off the offending item as soon as possible. O what a trial – remind me to fire the useless maid who dressed me!

Yours

Elizabeth Cobbold‘ (Elizabeth was of course played by @beckypennick)

A theatre post performance – when the last of the actors have left – always has a somewhat forlorn feeling. Even with the grey sunlight streaming through the usually blacked out windows of the SJM the space feels like a moment has passed. All that are left are the memories and the odd prop or costume. Even the box office phone stopped ringing for a while – a dignified silence to mourn the shows passing!
So it was great to welcome this week two different users of the theatre.

First up came Young Blood showcase a youth theatre piece directed and produced by Beth Tuckey. The theatre was bursting at the seams with young theatre makers – the potential practionners of tomorrow. Then on Wednesday we welcomed performer Simon Egerton for three days production work on the Edinburgh show Fag Ends and Families (#fagends) (produced by former Eastern Angles general manager @jillstreatfeild). I haven’t had chance to see it yet but it runs at ZOO Southside from Aug 1 to Aug 31 – ticket info is here – it was certainly sounding good through the walls of the office!.

Talking of Edinburgh @easternangles own show (in association with #easttoedinburgh) had an unofficial preview at Peterborough’s Key theatre on Thursday. It’s a raw and dangerous new script by @joelhorwood – poetic but brutal, dark but at the same time quirky and funny. Milo (Twomey) and Jay (Taylor) are really getting under the skin of the quite extraordinary characters Joel has penned. Several people left the performance moved to tears – and they still have a week of rehearsals to go before the show previews at the SJM next week (more info here). If you’re heading to Edinburgh do put it on your wish list now!

Whilst in Peterborough it was great to catch up with the #fortyyearson team – our Heritage Lottery Fund project being run in partnership with Vivacity. It’s an archive, oral history and theatre project which explores Peterborough’s development as a new town since 1968. After the first of the year project over 80 volunteers have been involved in conserving and archiving over 430 boxes of material, carrying out 90 oral history interviews and 165 hours spent on researching areas of special interest (like the township that never was). As well as providing a great archive of material for the city the research will provide the starting point for a new documentary play (by Kenny Emson an award winning playwright and regular writer for East Enders and Casualty) and a new community play. Heres just a small extract from one of the oral histories:-

‘We were living in high rise buildings in Hackney and we was on the 11th floor and I had two children. I went to pay the rent one day and there was a big sign; ‘Come to Peterborough’…..I’d never had a garden. I’d always been bought up in flats in London and we didn’t even have a balcony in the flats I grew up in. When we moved to Bretton we had a garden. When we came there was just the wires separating the gardens and my elder son, when he saw the other children, he run in scared because he hadn’t been able to meet many other children’ [Jean Hawkes]

And this weekend I head off to another new town – this time Milton Keynes – for the launch of their second International festival (#MKIF). With our Peterborough project in mind I’ll be particularly looking out for Metro Boulot Dodo’s specially commissioned work.

O and the box office phone has started ringing again – our Christmas show – the wonderfully titled Dial M for Murgatroyd is on sale. May I be the first to say – Merry Christmas everyone!

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