New Home – week 1

By Emily Grimson

When Sarah contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in blogging about our new home a few weeks ago, it was an immediate ‘yes’ from me, with only one condition: can I come and see it? Like many of you, I was curious to see the space and get a sense of how things will work from September onwards – plus, I love a good project! So, about a week ago I hopped on the bus from Kings Cross and met Sarah outside the building, ready to start my glamorous tour. After being reassured that I wouldn’t need a hard hat, I entered the most important room of all: the new bar area. Despite everything being a bit, well, everywhere it was still easy to imagine interval drinks and post-run parties – so far so good! As I entered I could see the area that would become the office and could already imagine our audiences piling in to buy their tickets, before necking a pre-show G&T in the rather roomy bar area.

The bar

Next up, I switched the bar for the barre and checked out the room that is probably the most ‘done’ of them all, largely owing to the fact not too much needs to be done to it at all. It was a dance/yoga type studio with plenty of space, perfect for rehearsals – a reassuring sight to see having just joined the pretty massive cast of Wolf Hall!

Rehearsal Room

Moving on, I climbed the stairs, which has another entrance/exit at the base – handy for piling out the huge audiences we’ll be pulling in, at the end of the night! – and entered the actual theatre. Now, in its current state there is sort of another floor which has been half removed by Phil (who was very enthusiastic about being featured in this) and the team and there is a lot of, to use the technical term, STUFF everywhere. However, it’s already very easy – and pretty exciting – to see that this will be an amazing place to perform. The space will have the flexibility that our current spaces lack, plus a very beautiful and unusual look due to the domed roof and hexagonal (taking a guess here – but it had lots of sides?!) shape. I also explored the dressing room area to the side which has plenty of space (no more quick changes in miniscule areas – woop!), a shower area and toilets.

The roof

Moving downwards, via the soon to be widened (again, thinking of the large audiences here) outside staircase, we made our way to the basement which, if I’m honest, still resembles a leisure centre. However, underneath the detached sauna doors and plastic plants, is an expansive space for storing all of our costumes and props. Plus, plenty more spaces to rehearse in, meaning no more scrambling to book City Lit – there’s space for all!

Swimming Pool

As we made our way back towards the bar area, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s been planned for the Autumn season and if I could sweeten up the directors to ensure my place as one of the first actors on the new stage… I asked Sarah for any hints, but no joy. After a torch lit trip to the loo – electricity is still a bit of a luxury – and final farewell to the building team I hopped back on the bus promising to visit again, red wine and dictaphone in hand ready to find out more about our new home!

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New Home – Week 2

 

Sunstone line drawing

So, the last couple of weeks have consisted of some pretty exciting milestones. Firstly – and most importantly – the actual theatre bit has made huge progress since I last saw it. All of the major removal work is now complete, so that means all steel girders (big metal pole type things for those that don’t know building lingo) and poles that held up the mezzanine floor have gone! So the area has been opened up to its’ full glory and the full potential of the space is now clear to see and it’s really beginning to take shape. To celebrate such a big achievement David Taylor very kindly took the building team to the pub for a well-earned drink. Cheers, lads!

The next milestone, which is happening as I type, is the moving in of the first residents at the new Tower. The first to move from our humble City Lit is the props department and Andy Hind has been working extremely hard getting the basement ready for them and Jean Carr and her team have been working against the clock to get everything packed. Anyone who has popped into the props department to find something during rehearsal will know what a huge task this is – just SO much stuff!

Props are not the only ones moving into their new home though, Jonathan and Ruth will be settled into their new office in the next two days – pretty remarkable since the office didn’t really exist when I last saw it! Excellent timing though as we’re only a couple of weeks away from our open evening on the 24th April (speaking of which, have you reserved your place yet? Get on it!), so it’s very exciting that so many of you will be able to see all the progress while hearing about the first shows this theatre will host.

Those lucky enough to be part of the cast of The Winter’s Tale will get a sneak peek however, as they make Tower history and become the first cast to rehearse in the new Tower theatre rehearsal room on the 16th. I think that definitely calls for post rehearsal drinks, guys.

Finally, Stephen, along with Alison, showed his mother and Tower member of over 50 years, Margaret Ley, our new home. Her verdict? Well, I think the picture says it all, definite approval from one of our longest standing members!

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