Category Archives: Work

It’s a Wonderful Set-up

Production week is here again!  It’s a Wonderful Life takes to the stage this week.  Tickets are on sale now from Bluntisham Service Station and TicketSource.


Book now

Set-up day had barely got started when the wet and windy weather threatened to make it take-down day, as the TV aerial on the ODS threatened to fall down.  This prompted numerous questions including “why has the ODS got a TV aerial?”, “has the ODS got a TV aerial?”, “have we got a video?” and “did Nick put that aerial up?”

ODS TV Aerial

BoltsThankfully, by the end of the day the aerial was safely removed thanks to Ray Edwards, long term village resident, firework maestro and builder.  These recovered artifacts offer a clue to its demise.

Nick was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

DerekElsewhere, set-up day continued apace.  It fell to chairman Ron to inform Derek that he was not to be involved in this production.  Having broken the news, Ron evaded any further peril by climbing some stairs.

Peter

We transported our bits and bobs to the village hall in a van very kindly supplied by Warboys Van Hire, to whom we are grateful as ever.  We transport everything by van, and I mean everything.

Once everything was transported we set about constructing the studio of the BaCStage Radio Theatre.

The Studio

Gordon

There’s the studio, taking shape nicely.

The traditional fish & chip lunch also featured cake, thanks to Gordon whose birthday it was.  Having said that, the way he’s brandishing that knife (on a pre-cut cake, as well) I’m not sure if he’s really sharing.

As our regular reader will know, we take health and safety very seriously at BaCStage.  Thomas did his level best to protect his fellow actors from trip hazards, but unfortunately, despite his best efforts, one careless cast member still managed to come a cropper.

Health and Safety

This photo was in no way staged, oh no.

By the end of the day we were ready to go…

On Air

Join us at the BaCStage Radio Theatre for our presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life.  Tickets are on sale now priced at  £8 for advance sales and £8.50 on the door.


Book now

It’s a Wonderful Life

Adapted for radio-on-stage from the 1946 Frank Capra film by

Tony Palermo

performed by kind permission of Tony Palermo

Director: Peter Dodds

Thursday 18, Friday 19 and Saturday 20 October 2018
7.30 pm
Bluntisham Village Hall

It's a Wonderful Life

 

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BaCStage needs your help: Treasurer and DIY-ers wanted

BaCStage Needs You!BaCStage are looking for a new treasurer to look after our finances for us.  Previous experience of book-keeping would be useful but not essential.  Our current treasurer, Jane, would like to hand the role over to someone else to give her more time for the various other things she does for us.  She is more than happy to help bring the new person up to speed.

We are also looking for some DIY-ers to help us with the ongoing project of maintaining our home, the Old Day School in Bluntisham.  As you may know, the ODS is a Victorian building and as such it is old and a bit crumbly round the edges (like some of our actors – yoof Ed).  Our next day of cleaning, tidying, painting, decorating and general maintenance is on Saturday August 11th and any help will be much appreciated.

If you can help us out with either our books or our maintenance we’d love to hear from you – leave us a comment here or on our facebook page, or mail us at bacstage.amdram@gmail.com.

What’s in it for you?  Well, along with the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get from helping out your local am-dram group, you will also become part of the BaCStage social circle which ranges from regular post-rehearsal pub trips to the Green Man in Colne to the more ambitious adventures we sometimes undertake.  Those of us who “do” BaCStage do it for the drama, and also for the socialising.  In case you’re wondering, helping us out behind the scenes doesn’t mean you’ll be press-ganged into getting up on stage but if you ever decide you fancy trying a bit of acting, you’ll be in the perfect place!

 

 

Above and below stairs at Bagshot House

Two weeks ago (already!) we completed our successful run of Secondary Cause of Death.  You can see photos of the production itself over in our production photos section.  Here are some pictures from behind the scenes before, during and after the show.

We’ve finally broken him, if not his sets.  Long-time set-builder and occasional gorilla Nick is retiring to the seaside.  This could well be the last BaCStage show he is actively involved in.  It is indeed the end of an era.

Nick

Nick’s construction legacy will live on, though.  We have many instructions to follow.  Whether this bunch of numpties is capable of following instructions remains to be seen, of course.

Numpties

You couldn’t run us off another dozen or so handrails before you go, could you Nick?

The pace on set-up day was relentless.

Setup daySetup day

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – tea does not drink itself.

Lady Isadora’s hair took almost as long to construct as the rest of the set.

Lady Isadora

We are sticklers for attention to detail at BaCStage including, on this occasion, authentic wartime hosiery.

Hosiery

It was a warm one on opening night.  Fortunately the BaCStage fan club was in attendance.

Fan club

Time for a little game.  Spot the ball?  No.  Spot the dog?  No.  It’s…

Spot the...

… spot the lighting engineer!  He’s in there somewhere.

Spoiler alert – the next couple of photos are plot-spoilers.  Even if you didn’t see the show, you might be able to guess from other posts and photos which plot points they are giving away.  If you did see the show and you still can’t work it out, I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader…

It’s that “bloody” nurse again!

And now, dear reader, we face the final curtain – and what a curtain it is!  It takes seven people just to iron it!

The Curtain Gang 2018

It’s curtains for that lot, and indeed for this production.  A big “well done” to everyone involved, and an enormous “thank you” to everyone who has supported us.

Right then, time to get started on the next one.  More details coming very soon…

We’ll meet again…

…but unlike Vera, we know where and we know when as Bluntisham Village Hall is transformed into Bagshot House for Secondary Cause of Death this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday!

Set-up day was the usual hive of frenetic activity.

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If you stand around long enough, eventually someone will put a cup of tea in your hand.

While Ash and Ron tried to figure out what was missing from this door frame, Nick removed a large gnome from beneath the stage.

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We were pleased to see several of our younger members coming along to help with set-up.  Of course, teenagers being what they are, there was a fair amount of this going on.

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There were plenty of responsible adults around to set a better example.

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Not this particular adult, though.  Kids today, eh?

To be fair, the BaCStage Yoof did do a lot of useful work during set-up.  They also did things like this:

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…?  Me neither.

“Cut an inch off the top of that door” he said.  “How hard can it be?” he said.

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Sometimes the first cut is not the deepest.

Was there a sighting of a handrail?  Handrails are notoriously nervous and fickle beasts, no doubt because of the persecution they’ve suffered in recent years.  Even the most patient of photographers knows better than to wait around for one – much better to set up a camera trap overnight.

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We got one!

It’s been a year since we last erected the stage. At the time, Peter wrote some assembly instructions in permanent pen, then chalked in some instructions on how to use the instructions.

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Despite this, he still managed to glue himself to the stage. Nick had to resort to drastic measures to free him.

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If anyone finds Peter’s left foot, he’d like it back.

Thanks to everyone’s marvellous efforts we now have the stage set for a “killer” show:

Bagshot House

The last word goes to director Ron:

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Now for the village hall!  We do hope you can join us.


SECONDARY CAUSE OF DEATH
(the sequel to Murdered to Death)
by Peter Gordon
April 19th, 20th & 21st 2018 ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets on sale now

You can buy your tickets online at TicketSource

Book now
or in person at Bluntisham Service Station

Tickets are £8 in advance, or £8.50 on the door.

SecondaryCOD-18- Leaflet

The return of the famous Handrail Team

Set-up day for Virtue Triumphant, and the famous BaCStage Handrail Team is back in action.

Handrail Team

They have recruited a young apprentice.  The secrets of the BaCStage Handrail will thus be passed on to the next generation.

 

Handrail Team

“…and this, gentlemen, is how you use a handrail to neutralise an assailant brandishing his cordless power tool at you…”

If this much care and attention is being put into a humble handrail, what must the rest of the production be like?  Why not come along next week and find out?

Virtue Triumphant

~ or ~

Her Honour in Peril

April 14th, 15th & 16th ~ 7.30pm ~ Bluntisham Village Hall

Tickets £8 from Bluntisham Service Station

Virtue Triumphant, or, Her Honour in Peril, is a comedy melodrama by Pat Norris. It is a full-blooded melodrama complete with wicked Squire, handsome hero, beautiful heroine persecuted and turned out with baby into the snow, comic rustics, flirtatious matron, susceptible vicar and other staple ingredients. Thrilling adventures include a last-minute rescue, a chase, and a plethora of murdered bodies turning into vengeful ghosts. The basis of the main plot is the Squire’s lust for the lovely Rose and his determination – on hearing of her coming marriage to handsome Richard – to possess her by hook or crook.

Painting the village green

The peasants have been hard at work in preparation for our next production, Virtue Triumphant, as we can see.

Painters1

You might think it harsh to describe these simple, honest folk as peasants.  It may also be incorrect to label them simple or honest, but that’s an altogether different question.   As far as Virtue Triumphant is concerned though, peasants they most definitely are.  Yokels, bumpkins and peasants every one.  The only one amongst them who isn’t is of course the wicked Squire Sir Septimus Grope, lord of all he surveys and master of all who can’t run away quickly enough.  Perhaps also the vicar too, thanks to his status as member of the clergy and the closer proximity to God which that bestows upon him, may also be considered above the common herd (without giving too much away, the vicar’s proximity to God is dramatically increased as events unfold, but more on that another time).

Painters2

Before anyone writes in to point out the obvious apparent mistake here, no they aren’t painting anything green; it is clearly (and deliberately) magnolia.  So why not title this post “Painting the village magnolia” then?  Because while “Painting the village green” may be seen as a play on words, “Painting the village magnolia” sounds more like a whimsical euphemism:

The vicar eased himself carefully along Mrs Maybud’s back passage and tapped lightly at her rear entrance.  “Apologies, dear lady” he said, “if I have roused you at an inopportune moment.  I appreciate that it is early in the day to be knocking you up.  I tried round the front but received no response”.

“Why, vicar!” replied Mrs Maybud, obviously flustered, “you have taken me quite by surprise.  I was so engrossed in painting the village magnolia, I was quite unaware of your attempted ingress.  Would you care for some buttered crumpet?”

See what I mean?

A footnote for our younger reader – if you are unsure as to why “painting the village magnolia” might be considered a whimsical euphemism, or what it could be a whimsical euphemism for, or indeed what a whimsical euphemism is in the first place, or if you are confused by any aspect of the exchange between the vicar and Mrs Maybud, I suggest that you ask your parents to explain.  They will be more than happy to do so, possibly with the aid of instructional diagrams.

Thank you Bradley Roofing

Unless you spent Christmas sat on a park bench on the moon you will know that Britain experienced some very bad weather at the turn of the year, with strong winds and heavy rain lashing most of the country.  This is not a good combination when you live in a building where some parts of the roof are even older than the jokes in our last panto.

Sure enough, the wind dislodged some of the old tiles from the front of the ODS roof early in the new year, allowing the heavy rain to get in.  The roofer who repaired the back roof was unavailable, having to deal with problems elsewhere.  With more bad weather coming Nick decided something had to be done.  In his own words:

As the heavens had opened yet again I decided this morning to put a sticking plaster on the roof to temporarily cover the hole…

Having applied the sticking plaster I was about to go home when a tradesman working on the house opposite approached me and asked if I’d like him to re-position the slates that had slipped down. Turned out he was a roofer replacing the chimney on the house opposite.  I asked him how much he would charge and he said if we mentioned his company in our programme he’d do it for nothing!

The tradesman in question was from Bradley Roofing.

As well as getting a mention in our next programme we’re more than happy to mention them on our web site too.  Job done – actors nice and dry beneath.

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A big thank-you to Bradley Roofing from everyone at BaCStage.

Happy Halloween

Mwah, and if you will, hahaha!

Our Halloween was filled with scary monsters, cobwebs and a recurring nightmare – where are we going to put all our stuff?!

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The scary monster responsible for these cobwebs, along with several of its friends, had to be evicted from the outside shed to make more storage space.  They will no doubt gain revenge by making their way into the main ODS building and preying on the actors during winter rehearsals

On the Sunday after our last performance we take down the stage (known in the trade as ‘breaking the set’).  We remove all our stuff from the village hall and put it back into the ODS.  We like to get this done as quickly as possible so that we can all head off to the Green Man in Colne for lunch.  Subsequently, the interpretation of “back into the ODS” is taken to literal, not to mention minimal, extremes.  As long as everything is indoors, anywhere will do:

Lots of StuffWe have a lot of stuff.

A couple of weeks later, when we’ve all had time to go away and think about what we’ve done, we meet up at the ODS and have a big old tidy-up.  It helps if the weather gods are on our side when we do this, so that we can put everything out on the yard.  Today the weather gods must have been in a good mood as the weather was good enough for a BBQ, which tends not to happen when we want to have a BBQ.

Lots of stuff, outsideOnce everything is piled up outside, we can have a good sort through it.

All sorts of things

Meanwhile, indoors, there was an incident of leglessness:

Leglessness

Don’t worry, dear reader – Nick hadn’t been on the sauce.  It was a bit early in the day, even for him.  He was putting the legs back onto the ‘shrubbery’ stage block from ‘Brick Museum‘.  Once that was done we could put the stage back up.

The stage

Spot the deliberate mistake.

Could this be the special brick-built chamber where the heads of state will have their top-secret meeting?

Brick-built chamber

Err… no.  It is a handy place to stash some stuff though.  By lunchtime everything was back indoors, or in the shed.

Actors make great compost – we have proof:

Actors make compost

Now it’s time to dig out some old costumes and go trick-or-treating.

Dressing-up box

Don’t have nightmares!

 

 

It’s all gone quiet over there

You might be thinking that the lack of activity on this blog in recent weeks points to a lack of activity at BaCStage towers.  Let me assure you though, dear reader, that nothing could be further from the truth.  It is precisely because there is so much going on that no-one has had time to blog about it lately – that’s my story, at any rate, and I’m sticking to it.

As previously mentioned a while ago, we are staging not one, not two, but three (yes, three!) plays this autumn – A Talk in the Park, In Need of Care and Night at the (Brick) Museum.  Being a relatively small group with a relatively high proportion of gluttons for punishment, several of us have been working on more than one of these simultaneously as actor, director, sound & lighting, stage and set, publicity and other things besides, and come set-up day it’ll be the usual “all hands on deck” to get the stage and set constructed in the village hall (if you’re in the area next month and fancy lending us a hand…)

Except of course, on this occasion, it’s “stage and sets“, as across the three plays the action takes place in a park, a barn, a house, a brick museum and a shrubbery.  How will we ever combine such a wide range of sets onto our one compact-and-bijou stage?  Seriously, how will we?  This is something that the best BaCStage minds are still grappling with.  Of course, in the greatest theatre tradition, “it’ll be alright on the night”.  If you want to know exactly how we manage to pull off this tardis-like feat of space-wrangling you’ll just have to come along and see for yourself.  Or wait for the show photos to appear on this site next month, of course.  Or better still, do both – come along in person and be amazed, then re-live the experience in the comfort of your own home!  Tickets will be on sale soon.

In the meantime, with only three weeks to go, preparation work continues apace as you can see:

WorkingHard

Now, I have used the buses analogy on this blog before (nothing for ages, then two come along at once).  With that in mind, hot on the heels of this post (moderately warmly on its heels, at least) I will soon be introducing you to the casts of our three plays – watch this space!

What a cracker!

The seasonal festivities are well under way.  As 2014 draws to a close it’s a good time to take a look back at what we’ve done at BaCStage in the last twelve months.

We had two hugely successful shows this year.  In April Murdered to Death knocked ’em dead, and in October Hero paid tribute to the heroes of WWI a hundred years on, as well as helping to raise valuable funds for the Royal British Legion.  We took part in the Bluntisham Christmas Gift Fair, and at either end of the year we made significant improvements to the ODS, in the garden and getting the roof repaired.  Each one of these was a big deal in its own right, so to have done all of this in the same year has made 2014 a real cracker for BaCStage.  It doesn’t stop there either, as 2015 is set to start on a high with our pantomime, Dick Whittington, in February.

Of course you can’t have a cracker without a joke, so…
Q: What do you get if you cross a snowman with a shark?  A: Frostbite.

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year have a good one, and look forward to great things in 2015.  Merry Christmas!