We enjoyed another good turn-out for part two of our birthday celebrations at Bluntisham Village Hall on Saturday. We say it every time, but we really do mean it – thank you to everyone who comes along to see our shows and support us, we really do appreciate it.
It must be said that Saturday night didn’t entirely pass off without any hitches. There was a noticeable delay before the start of the raffle. Rumours of raffle fraud were starting to circulate, but then a suspicious-looking character was found lurking in the bar with the tombola. Having a bar on-site is always risky when there are actors involved. The gentleman in question cannot be identified for legal reasons, but I can reveal that his name sounds like “Snick”. As in, “who’s that?” “Snick”.
On a more serious note, we know that there were problems with restricted visibility for those people sat at the back and this is something we will try to address if we do another “no stage” show in Blunty. For our next production we’ll be back to our usual arrangement, up on stage and with cabaret-style seating.
On an even more serious note, now that the show is in the bag it’s fair to say we nearly didn’t have a show at all. We had originally wanted to put on a production of It’s a Wonderful Life but were unable to cast it (it is something we want to return to in future though). We looked at a couple of other plays, needing progressively fewer actors, but were unable to cast them either. For a while it looked like we wouldn’t have a show at all this Autumn. Then three things happened in relatively quick succession – someone (I’m not sure whom) realised that this year was our 20th anniversary, Ron suggested Is This Seat Taken? and offered to direct it, and Jackie volunteered to put together a selection of sketches and music. At the 11th hour we got ourselves a show, and like Cinderella we could go to the ball after all (alright!). Both Jackie and Ron deserve a lot of credit for putting Take Your Seat together, and doing so in record time after the delays and set-backs we suffered earlier in the year. Credit too should go to the actors who learned their respective parts on a much reduced rehearsal schedule. Parts of the show were still coming together in production week, when normally we’re swanning around in our costumes and planning the after-show party.
Chairman Ron is keen to avoid such problems for our next production and so we’ll be making a start on that almost immediately. Those of you who Took Your Seats will have heard his announcement of what that show will be. For the rest of you, I can reveal that we will be… giving more details on our website soon. Always leave them wanting more!
Now, as it’s our birthday, you haven’t got any more of that delicious cake, have you…?
Our 20th anniversary celebrations got off to a flyer last night as the good people of Colne (and beyond) joined us at Colne Village Hall for the first of our two nights of Take Your Seat. So many of them took their seats that we almost ran out of seats! It was more or less a full house. An enormous thank you to everyone who came along.
Right, time to get back on the tour bus and head off to Bluntisham for tonight’s show!
Actually it was 20 years ago a week last Tuesday, give or take a month or two either way, but who’s counting?
Back in 1997 Christine had the idea to start an Am Dram group.
And so it came to pass that the Millennium Players (as we were known back then) were born. Those who were at the very first meeting still talk of it in hushed tones. One, who shall remain nameless, speaks of going along to “volunteer to help with publicity” only to be told in no uncertain terms by Christine that “you look like an actor to me”. Maybe that ignited some latent theatrical spark, or maybe he was too afraid to say no, but either way he went on to star in many productions (as well as helping out with publicity).
The millennium itself came and went and we became BaCStage. To date we have put on forty shows, ranging through comedy, farce, drama, melodrama and, of course, pantomime (oh yes we have).
We have performed at several local venues including the Green Man and Village Hall in Colne, St Helen’s Primary School, the Baptist Chapel and St Mary’s Church Hall in Bluntisham and, as part of our 2016 World Tour we ventured as far as Pidley.
Our main venue for more than a decade though has been Bluntisham Village Hall, ever since it was built to our exact specifications. OK, so, I’m exaggerating slightly there, but if you’ve been to Blunty Village Hall have you ever wondered why the doors are so tall? It is not to accommodate actors and their big heads and enormous egos but instead to allow ingress and egress for our stage sets and assorted other bits and pieces, and to allow actors to make their entrances and exits on a raised platform without need to stoop or risk of banging their heads (the “raised platform” is called a “stage” – Theatrical Ed).
Although some of those early pioneers have retired from acting service many have stayed in touch and remain part of the wider BaCStage family. We have also welcomed many new faces to the group, and are truly blessed with some very talented individuals both on-stage and behind the scenes. We have had a lot of fun along the way, many friendships have been forged and, we like to think, we’ve entertained a few people too. We also have plenty of exciting ideas for future productions. Here’s to the next 20 years!
But how to mark such a momentous occasion as our 20th birthday? With a show, of course!
As soon as we decided to put on a show to celebrate our 20th, Nick got to work building us a set. This led to an awkward exchange at the first production meeting. “We want a travelling set with minimal carrying, not a ten-tonne set with a mediaeval abbey in”
At least he hadn’t started on the drawbridge.
Oh well, I’m sure someone will find a use for it.
Yes, after the fun we had “travelling light” on our 2016 World Tour we decided to once again opt for a stripped-down approach for our 20th Anniversary show “Take Your Seats”. After all, it’s only right and proper that we perform it in both Bluntisham and in Colne, and getting our full stage and set constructed usually takes the best part of a weekend on its own. Those gallons of tea don’t drink themselves you know.
We do hope you can join us at one (or both!) of our anniversary shows. Tickets are onsale now through TicketSource and from Bluntisham Service Station.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what those forty previous shows are then pay a visit to our back catalogue page.
I’d like to offer our loyal reader an apology. It has been far too long since anyone posted anything on this blog. Real life has an annoying habit of getting in the way sometimes. I won’t waste your time with poor excuses; instead I will pretend that the last post was only a week or so ago and move swiftly on to what we’ve been doing lately.
Phew! What a… week… it’s been. In October BaCStage celebrated its 15th birthday with a big cake decorated with pictures from past productions, a suitable quantity of booze and a one-off performance of “Little Grimley Presents Strictly Sex Factor On Ice”, all of which went down very well with the carefully hand-picked audience of family and close friends who were in attendance. No photos of “Sex Factor” have yet surfaced, unfortunately. Yours truly was unable to take any piccies because he was on stage acting, dahling, but I did manage to get a snap of the cake before it disappeared, something which it did far more rapidly than a cake of that size had any right to do.
Once the party and Grimley were out of the way, preparations for our next production stepped up from medium- to full-swing. What, you ask, is our next production? It’s a panto! Oh yes it is… oh no it’s not… oh yes it is… and so on, and so on, and so on…
Back in the summer we settled on Rumplestiltskin as our weapon of choice for the panto season. Things got off to a slightly sticky start when we realised that the size of cast required was somewhat larger than the number of people available, but after some begging, stealing, borrowing, cajoling, arm-twisting, bribery and threats of violence we managed to round up enough bodies to be able to cast it. BaCStage tradition dictates that February is panto month, more specifically the half-term for the benefit of the junior BaCStagers involved, so next February 14th to 16th we will be performing Rumplestiltskin for the amusement of the good people of Bluntisham and Colne, and indeed anyone else who turns up with a ticket.
Something else we’ll be doing next year is putting more posts onto this blog. Promise.