Derby: An Odd Week In A Small Theatre

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Derby is a confusing place to me. On first impressions it’s architecture makes it look like a very sophisticated and it looks like a lovely place to live. The grand cathedral stands tall above everything else but is complimented by a fountain that runs over a metal structure in the main square that leads into a calm high street full of high end shops like jewellers. If you were to pass through it you would assume that it was a very nice place to live. That’s not to say that it isn’t a nice place to live, but eventually you start noticing little details that your brain originally overlooked. Small things like the fact that next to that jewellers is a Poundland. Perhaps they’ve got it right, perhaps they’re just catering for everyone in the community, but it’s certainly a confusing thing to realise when halfway through the week your impression of a place gets taken apart. By the way, don’t be put off from visiting Derby. It really is a very nice place as long as you can deal with the range of stuff that they’ve got going on there. 

The theatre is a bit confusing as well. From the outside it looks huge and while it may not be the prettiest building in the world, you imagine that inside the scale would continue. However once inside the auditorium you realise that it’s a lot smaller than you thought it would be. My initial impression was that it was a bit like a school hall. With the banked seating folding round in right angles and the collapsable chairs that made up the stalls, it felt as though at any minute a basketball game would break out and we’d have to move the stage out of the way.

As far as venues go the Derby Assembly Rooms was a long way off being the worst venue we’d been too but it was certainly an interesting one. The stage was pretty small and it wasn’t the biggest auditorium we’d played to, but often the show works better in more intimate environments. In some ways the show felt more like a rock and roll concert than a musical this week and it was partly to do with the stage. In order to get to the onstage from the backstage area, you had to go up a small flight of stairs to get to the wings. It wasn’t unlike the kind of setup you’d have for a band where they’d have the waiting area with all the various bits of equipment like spare guitars, racks, etc, before the actual band go onstage. In fact, come to think of it, I seem to remember someone saying that a lot of well known bands use the Assembly Rooms as a small tester gig to try out shows before they go on tour. Having said that I may have just made that up in an attempt to justify the whole of that last paragraph.

The other main excitement for me this week was something that I’m not really able to talk about. It’s nothing really exciting so don’t panic, I haven’t got anymore projects lined up for release…yet. In fact it’s actual something to do with Dreamboats And Petticoats itself. At the end of the 2011 tour Chris, our Drummer and Matt, our Lead Guitarist, both put on a comedy awards show to both honour and humiliate each member of the cast. They already decided that at the end of this tour they wanted to do a similar thing and with my film-making experience I was brought in to work on all the videos they’d lined up for the show. This week we shot one of the opening videos for the ceremony and I think that’s about all I can say. The content of the ceremony is strictly kept secret in order for it to be as much of a surprise for the rest of the cast. Essentially our task was to take what Chris and Matt had done last year and made it ten times more epic. It’s difficult to talk about something that I can’t really talk about but based on the little bits and pieces we’ve already shot, I’d say it’s going to be a good night.

So that’s Derby done and there’s only two more weeks left on the tour. It’s hard to believe we’re already getting close to the end when it still feels like we’ve only just started. Next week in particular should be very interesting as the show is heading over to Luxembourg for a week! I’m not quite sure what to expect so it could be a pretty interesting.

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