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.
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!
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.
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!
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!