It’s been a very exciting weekend, with yesterday – our day in The Dell – amazingly exceeding expectations (and my expectations had been high!). The weather was incredibly kind, and the audiences for both shows were large and appreciative.
There were many highlights and simply watching the cast perform with skill and energy, clearly charming and engaging the crowd, was a fantastic experience – one of my very best theatre experiences ever. I could hardly believe where we were – performing Shakespeare in Stratford under the auspices of the RSC. Wow!
Neither show ran without a hitch (when do they ever?!); indeed, a handful of lines were dropped (no prompting, just very quick recoveries); one witch’s speech was inadvertently cut; and the chorus boy actor’s balloon boobs blew away in the second show (don’t ask!). But none of these things affected the way the shows came across and the lovely, helpful and friendly RSC team told us audience feedback was great. Several audience members went out of their way to tell us themselves – a couple as we were sunning ourselves in the beer garden with our post-show pints! A number of them also asked about our crowdfunding (link – just in case anyone hasn’t seen it: http://www.sponsume.com/project/elart-productions) and clearly would like to support our future work. It felt great to make new friends!
Another highlight, though, was the support of old friends – ELART regulars: my mum and cousin travelled to see the show as did some family members of some of the actors, and I had a lovely surprise when a school friend of mine suddenly appeared in The Dell before the second show; I had had no idea she intended to be there!
Additionally, I (and I’m sure my cast) learned an enormous amount from the experience. I’m not particularly experienced with outdoor theatre, and certainly getting into a brand new outdoor space less than 2 hours before a show is a challenge to say the least. It was a real privilege to learn in such a wonderful setting.
Finally for now, thank you so much to any of my cast who read this: I’ve loved working with you and look forward to doing so again. I hope all the other companies performing in Stratford this summer have as good a time as we did, and I will certainly be applying to The Dell again in the future…