And Now, The Final Curtain…..


Frank Carson as he might have looked if he was involved in the set build for Beauty and the Beast.


What a fantastic show we have had. We have had record audiences for the week and rave reviews from all the people who have attended. If you missed it then you missed a cracker as Frank Carson says. All the effort and hard work over the last few months has paid off as the set looks fantastic. Regular followers of the blog will know the bacon sarnie fuelled working parties helped to create the wonderful fantasy of the Beast’s castle and the village scene. The set designer, Lynsey Cassidy, has to be well congratulated for her wonderful vision, her inventiveness and also her artistic painting skill. Other set design thanks have to go to Steph Niland who faithfully recreated the painting designs onto the flats which we are so proud of. Special thanks to some of the other painters include Danni, Pamela, Ian, Helene, Becky, Rachel, Joe, Peter and probably others who I have missed. Many thanks to you all.

It was fantastic to see our President, Matthew Kelly, together with the Honorary Vice President, Olive Kelly (his mum), at the show on Friday night. I genuinely think he was astounded at the quality of the performance he witnessed. I know that when he visited Pennybridge to record the narration he was so impressed at the set build that he vowed to get to see the show and was true to his promise. He is an extremely busy man and so his attendance was all the more special. His revelation that he was turned down for the role of Lumiere in the original performance of Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre made us chuckle but his comments that any one of us could have graced that West End Theatre Stage meant the most to all the cast.

I must mention the input as the Show Week Stage Managers of Adam Brame and Chris Haslam. Their efforts and commitment have made a great show into a fantastic show. A lot of scene changing and wheeling on and off  of large flats with speed and efficiency helped the smooth running. The other stage staff include Matthew Darke, Hannah Darke, Jack Weardon, Karl Whyte, Rachel Mellor, Eleanor Fox, Catherine Millington, Sheila Cammack, Brian Frost and others who may have slipped the net


UMT’s investment in new microphones also paid dividends and meant that the acting could be on all the levels of the newly built scenery and we have Rachel Knighting assisted by Hannah Stockton to thank for that. Although I do have a complaint that they are sooooo cold when you put them down your costume! So cold, in fact, that I could easily achieve an extraordinarily high note just when wiring myself for sound. There was some worry that an 8 foot high staircase and with 8 foot high platforms were going to be a problem but they weren’t. For the first time we built a piece of stage which allowed a walk around the front of the orchestra almost into the audience. When I was performing the Mob Song I could see people visibly intimidated by the mob presence and I know during other numbers such as Human Again it brings the friendly characters into the audience. A great innovation by Christine Meadows.

The major investment in UMT is actually the time given freely by the many volunteers. The get in for show week takes 3 days and the get out takes 1 day of some considerable effort. In addition there are the props to sort out, costumes to arrange, publicity and many other roles. For example, thanks need to go to Anita Partridge, the Chairman, who acts as the figurehead for the society and is often the person who has to make the hard decisions. Others include Jane Kielty who, as Secretary, does everything else from obtaining licences, arranging auditions, Children and Young Person Licences, organise the guests and the charity board, raffle prizes and so on. The main assistance to me is the fact that she goes on the ticket desk when I am on stage which is probably the hardest job each night and the most thankless.

A Well Earned Nosh at a Local Eatery ~ The Bird i'th Hand

Special thanks to our new Front of House Manager, Andrea Mellor, together with Gordon and Betty Harrison got all the bums on seats with the minimum of fuss and in good time. In addition thanks also needs to go to the many who helped sell programmes, raffle tickets and generally help around the auditorium. It all adds to the great success.

Finally, massive thanks to all those who helped at the Get-Out. Yes there is one! Andy, Aidan, Jane, Anita, Barbara, Jack, Matt, John, Ruth, Mel, Adam, Chris, Brian, Francois, Louise, Amy, Peter, Peter, Peter, John, Bill, Duncan. We all worked from 10am to almost 6.30pm before retiring exhausted to a well earned meal in the Bird i’th Hand Pub followed by a couple of beverages, including the particularly spectacular, Theakston’s Dark Mild. Without your help we could not do it.


~ by UMT Stage on November 1, 2010.

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