Well the ‘Bouncers’ bounced……….they bounced their way around front of house as the audience arrived and, thankfully, let them all in! They then surrounded us in the auditorium and played multiple characters with aplomb and skill on stage. What a joyous couple of weeks it was as audience and critics alike heaped praise on the cast and crew. John Godber is a significant playwright who is, next to Ayckbourn and Shakespeare, the most performed on our theatre stages. A classic piece of theatre. My thanks to Lorna Middleton for directing with such creativity and bags of style.

‘Bouncers’ was a very physical show and this is proving to be a theme in our work both this year and as our plans shape up for 2025. We have a professional movement director at the Loft now, who has recently acquired his masters degree and our casts are enjoying every minute with him. He is also going to be running a course of workshops for all our actors throughout June. A great opportunity to add this to their repertoire of skills.

Next up in the main house is a new version of Gogol’s ‘The Government Inspector’, another classic of world theatre. Gogol’s play in this new version is still laugh out loud funny, a comedy of errors, satirising greed, stupidity and corruption. When first staged it led to an outcry, only being smoothed out by the personal intervention of Tsar Nicholas 1 attending the premiere to show approval. It constantly features in the best play lists of drama critics. Matthew Salisbury, one of our theatre critics, is making his Loft directorial debut in this production and also playing the lead role. Quite a feat! Nick Le Mesurier is the playwright, who has written this new sparkling version – also one of the Loft’s theatre critics. There is another play in there somewhere surely! One ‘critical’ question though…………who on earth is going to review it?

Readings and auditions for the rest of the year crack on apace. We are now fully cast up to and including the October/November production of ‘Uncle Vanya’. Our July production of ‘Lovesong’ by Abi Morgan has begun rehearsals – another delicious piece of physical theatre, originating in the hands of the much admired theatre company, Frantic Assembly. The director is very excited already by the amazing start the cast have made.

The reading and audition for Glorious! by Peter Quilter will take place early June. The notice and all information is up on the website.

I have been turning my attention to planning for 2025. We shall be staging 9 productions in our main house and 2 in our studio theatre, so it is going to be a lively year ahead. I have finalised 70% of it so far and have held our usual twice yearly launch event for our volunteers to share detail of the staging for the autumn and an idea of what is to come.

We have a treat for our audience as soon as they make their next visit, as we have had the exterior of the theatre painted, including the Loft logo on the theatre building and all the garden benches in our lovely garden, which is beginning to blossom for summer. Enormous thanks to Chris Stacey our volunteer gardener, bringing a little touch of Chelsea to Leamington Spa!

Thank you to all of our patrons for your outstanding support of us. I love chatting with you all when I am on front of house. One audience member who is a great fan of our work often comes more than once during the run of productions and says that, other than enjoying the plays, she sees her ticket purchase as supporting us to continue. This is just the kind of understanding that gladdens my heart. Without funding of any kind and a hugely expensive building to maintain, it is wonderful for our audience to see how much the purchase of every single ticket matters……and it does. In an age of people wanting more and more discounts for everything, it is heartening to know that people want to support artistic endeavour such as ours. We are a charity and unlike the subsidised professional theatre, we live on our wits. It is brilliant of so many of you to get this about us and I want you know the difference it makes every time you buy a ticket to ensuring we have a future. 102 years and counting……..hurrah!

Sue Moore
Artistic Director