photo - shaun wykes

Shaun: Putting on a show and taking it on tour

We are the Multitude smashed the 24:7 Big Festival Weekend and then went on tour to Liverpool’s Lantern Theatre!

I’ve never helped a show go on tour before and therefore didn’t know what exactly to expect. Just the weekend before the show had seen four wonderful performances playing to great crowds and to great acclaim so going on tour should be seamless, right? It a lot of ways yes, the cast did a fantastic job and Katie Scott’s set looked just as beautiful but some adjustments had to be made because the space wasn’t exactly the same. How inconvenient!

We arrived at the theatre for a lunchtime get-in and tech to find, as Katie already knew, that the space was smaller than the Martin Harris Centre in length, depth and breadth. This meant that the space for the onstage action was more limited and the space within which the set had to fit was going to be more of a squeeze. The window had to be lowered down on its stand as when in its original position it hit the ceiling. The width of the desk dividers also had to be reduced. And there was another challenge – the wings that were downstage left and right in Martin Harris were now just walls. So with some cable ties and spare wing material Katie made some wings, but they were however now upstage. So when Lisa and Simon blockade the entrance with the chairs and tables it would now be in a different part of the room.

Not big changes (and ones that the actors adapted to seamlessly) but it did make me think about how plays that tour must need to adjust to each space they enter. Lighting rigs may differ, dimensions of the stage may change, entrances and exits may move slightly from show to show. What other challenges (or equally opportunities) may each new venue unveil? May performing in one venue, where changes need to be made, present different ways of presenting the material?

But back in Liverpool, once the set had been rejigged, the lighting reprogrammed and after the actors had a run through, then it was ready for the show! The actors put on a great performance on the Wednesday night and the audience loved it. Hopefully this won’t be the end of We are the Multitude touring and adapting to new spaces. The hard work of Amy, Andy, Laura, Liz, Flora and Katie deserves to be shared more with the wider theatre community!