What a joy it was to stage Dylan Thomas’ magical Under Milk Wood, true to its origins as a radio play.
We enjoyed creating a BBC radio studio on the stage and the specially composed music, live musicians and Foley sound certainly put the audacious talents of our cast and creatives on display, but we were not anticipating just how much it captured the imagination of our audience. Thank you to you all for coming and for the very generous feedback. You clearly loved watching and listening to it as much as we did presenting it to you.

My thanks to David Fletcher for his fast footwork, for being part of the cast narration as well as directing it. Such a lovely production which will linger in the memory. Hurrah!

Up next in the main house is Bouncers the Remix by the equally audacious John Godber; the most frequently staged playwright next to Ayckbourn and Shakespeare. Now there’s a trio you wouldn’t necessarily lump together! This son of Upton trained as a teacher and became artistic director of Hull Truck Theatre Company in the 80s. Writing extensively for television, he turned his attention also to the stage. Alongside the many appointments he has in theatres, schools and universities, he also set up the John Godber Company in 2011 and a college near his birthplace has now been named the John Godber Theatre. It opened in 2012.

Bouncers has been a set school text for some time now and Godber revisited the original script and created Bouncers the Remix, updating it to the 90s. It is this version we shall be staging and having popped into rehearsals last week to see how things were progressing, I can assure you that the cast will be transporting you back to the sights and sounds of that time. Your invitation to Mr. Cinders night club awaits, but please remember in the words of the lads……….if you’re not on the list…….you’re not getting in!

Behind the scenes, we have been busy. Our external theatre lighting is now installed for your delectation, assisting everyone in spotting where we are, tucked down the end of the Victoria Colonnade. We can change the colours of these lights by the press of a computer keyboard, so it is all very high tech. Most marvellous.

Talking of which………our tech team are currently working on upgrading our tech equipment and are getting closer to taking delivery of their chosen piece of kit. It is all beyond me, but I just nod sagely when they discuss it with me. Our lighting, sound and projection are increasingly becoming a large part of our productions and it is exciting to watch them work in partnership with the directors, designing imaginative staging both on stage and within the auditorium too. Many directors now feel that they want the audience to feel part of the production from the moment they set foot in the auditorium, so our pre-show lighting and sound has become more and more important in creating the right mood for the play.

Often we do not want break that mood by suddenly playing a mobile ‘phone announcement, so please do kindly remember to turn your ‘phones off for the duration of the performance, even if you turn them back on again in the interval. Theatre etiquette is becoming a much written about issue in London theatres and nationally. Many professional theatres do not allow audience members back into the auditorium should they have to leave during the performance for any reason. We are not so strict, but some things can be hugely disturbing to the audience and cast alike. One of these is latecomers, so we ask for your understanding that if you are unavoidably late and the show has gone up, you may be asked to wait in the bar until a suitable moment in the performance, to take a seat nearest to the back of the auditorium that you can. The front of house team with guide you. Then after the interval you can move to the seats you originally reserved. If you are delayed in the bar, waiting for a suitable break in the performance to take a seat, you can always watch the show live streamed on the monitor outside the auditorium doors so that you don’t miss anything. On behalf of all of us, we thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness in helping us provide the very best theatre experience for everyone.

In other news, I am working on plans for the 2025 programme and readings and auditions are moving ahead for the autumn programme. It’s all go!

I have been conducting a number of back stage tours of the theatre for different groups recently and have a number of speaking engagements coming up in the next few weeks about the history of the theatre. Everyone seems thrilled to see behind the scenes and surprised at the extent of our facilities.

We are so very grateful to you all for keeping the theatre alive. As you know we have no external funding or grants and survive solely through good judgement about plays we stage and the resulting box office income. The stories we tell in theatre matter. When audience members come together to experience storytelling together, it is a unique moment. Theatre enriches lives and causes us to think about our lives and the lives of others. It is wonderful when audience members tell me they chat about plays they have seen on the way home and on subsequent days.

Thank you all for your brilliant support of our work. We hope there will be more to tempt you as the year rolls on. You are always guaranteed the warmest of welcomes.

As the better weather arrives, you can also enjoy a preshow or interval drink on the terrace and look at the wonderful work our kind volunteer Chris is doing in the theatre garden.
Here comes the sun………..