Rooms, Tents and Rental
Posted on Fri 30 Mar 2012 by Ciaran McConville
I watched the Rose Plus Players’ end of term showing of Hay Fever on Monday. I should add, for the record, that it was a closed event this term, as the West End production of this brilliantly crafted comedy pipped us to the post on the rights. But I think Noël Coward would have enjoyed the showing, not to mention the free glass of wine given to members of our invited audience. The Players have clearly worked really hard this term. I guess about a third of the group has attended classes since September (and I hope they will return next term). Seeing how far they have grown, both in confidence and technique, was a reassuring measure of the course. Patrick Milnes gave a great comic turn. Julia Fletcher was beautifully flamboyant. Dionne King is so clear and connected in all her performances and this was no exception. Mills Ross continues to show great courage in her characterisation, and had a lovely presence on-stage. Katie Beard, meanwhile, is almost unrecognisable having blossomed with new self-confidence, vocal technique and clarity. She will also be unrecognisable in The Crucible, in which she plays the tough rural marshal, Herrick. We need to do a bit of work de-prettifying her.
Rose Plus Players did their showing in Market House, the iconic building at the centre of the market square run by Kingston First. It was a perfect room for us, although unfortunately the hire makes it prohibitive to use for our community work on a regular basis.
As our community programme expands, space is increasingly becoming a real issue for us. Our waiting list for Rose Youth Theatre is now larger than the number of students who attend. One or two parents of prospective students have got quite impatient with me on the phone. And they’re right, in a way. We should be able to cater for all local children who want to take part. However, it’s proving a challenge to find additional space that can offer consistent weekend availability over a full school year, for a price that we can manage. I’m not under the illusion that we’re on our own in this. The borough is teaming with groups and clubs who struggle to afford space. And yet, walking about KT1, there are an awful lot of empty buildings… So, if you know anywhere that can host 100 young people every term-time Saturday and Sunday, please do get in touch with me at CiaranM@rosetheatrekingston.org.
Michael Frayn’s Here has started rehearsals in our gallery space. It was nice to see Alex Beckett at the meet and greet. He was in a very silly play of mine called Pitching In at Latitude in 2010, which I doubt will make an appearance in his programme biog. Michael Frayn is definitely a big step up from that, and I’m sure he will be fabulous. Alex is one of the funniest people I have ever met. Even watching him put up his tent when we arrived at the festival was great entertainment.
Unfortunately, I was too nervous to introduce myself to Alison Steadman the other day. Silly, really, but I arrived somewhat sweaty, carrying a door (don’t ask). Maybe I can set up a chance meeting somewhere in the building before rehearsals finish.
The model box for Here was stunning. We are losing our beloved Pit (think cushions and sore bums) to a whole new stage. Stephen Unwin often talks about the importance of reinventing the space for our productions, something which he achieved in both As You Like It and The Lady From the Sea. This is perhaps the most dramatic change yet, at least since I’ve worked here, pushing right out up to the edge of the stalls. The detail on the model box is beautiful. I hope they add it to the displays that currently sit atop the doorways of our auditorium entrances. Or even just as Kingston real-estate (although as a model box it’s somewhat small) I imagine it could fetch a pretty decent rental price. Maybe I should think about using it for Rose Youth Theatre…