Tuesday, 1 October 2013
bury st edmunds and the minack
And so to the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, a theatre I have loved working in before and so was glad to return with Shrew...
The theatre was built in 1819, is Grade 1 listed and is the only surviving Regency Theatre. Our time there coincided with three Shrew birthdays, Sally, Josh and Joy - so it was cakes all round...
We shrews then descended on Cornwall in what seemed like promising weather, for a week like no other, involving more hill, cliff and stone step climbing than some of our knees could take!
The theatre was built by Rowena Cade, an extraordinary woman, and posthumous honorary shrew. Having already built herself a house at Minack Point, in 1929, having seen a local village version of the Dream, she offered the use of her garden for their next production (The Tempest) and literally began lugging great chunks of rock to make a basic seating area, with the sea as a stunning (some might say upstaging) backdrop. She and her gardener continued to built up the theatre in the winters for the rest of her long life!
It is a very bizarre space to perform in, and we had to rework a lot of the show with Josh, to allow for the very different entrances and exits, and the permanent stone features.
It seats 700, and for the first time ever we shrews were amplified, to help us contend with the sea. This was just as well, as on our second matinee it blew up a gale, with rain and mist and the tent nearly took off.
The minack have a wonderful website with live webcam which I urge you to have a gander at.