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Halloween Rehearsals 3

Today we went through the stories in our groups reading them out loud and adding different things for each story playing around with the words and working on chorus work. We added sounds effects we thought would be good, repeated interesting words and whispered the first and last words in each sentence. This helped to see what would work and what wouldn’t.
Then we split into our groups and worked on our pieces. Me and the other self named ‘tour guides’ tried to plan out a structure of bits of stories and things to say and do when we were leading the groups. There was a rather scary gas mask lurking around which me of Dan aren’t planning on using but we have a couple of ideas 😀 It’s going to be a spooky night haha.


Well, following on from last week we did our traditional warm ups which were even more fun than usual for some reason. Maybe because everybody was really up for it this week 🙂 Then we sang happy birthday to Josh, who has reached the grand old age of fourteen today. We all got out our scripts then, (those of us who had remembered to bring them) and read them out in different ways, one group as if they were sharing gossip, while everybody else did sound effects, one group as if they were embarassed about saying it, while everybody else picked out words they liked and gently repeated them, and another group sang theirs to the tune of “When The Saints” while everbody else whispered the first and last word on every line.
The idea of this was to create different atmospheres and experiment with different ways of saying things to make them spooky in preparation for our Halloween show. After Hannah gave us a little talk, we split off into groups and worked on each scene we had been given. I’m in the group guiding the audience round so I would have been discussing ideas with my partner Zoë but she was ill 😦 but it’s all cool because we talk socially anyway out of HYT so I’ll just talk to her about it then. I kind of helped out other people with their ideas and played with the gas mask brought in by Lucy, who’s helping Hannah. That gas mask was scary. A lick of black and silver spray paint and it’ll be terrifying litle kids in no time. HYT has become the high point of my week, I think.
I’ve got some more ideas for the characters me and the lovely Zoë are playing. My character’s an undertaker from London, and I’m contemplating having a noose hung around his neck as if he’s been recently hanged… Either way Halloween’s going to be a fun night 🙂



Halloween Rehearsals 2

We started the workshop in the Studio in pitch black – pretty scary stuff on its’ own, nevermind what happened next. Then we all played around with sounds we could make to build and create tension. And created a rather loud sound scape with all these noises to see what things would work and be effective and where we could use them throughout the performance. For the rest of the workshop we were put into the groups we would be working in for the Halloween night; the people for Matilda, the people for George, the people for Jim and the improvisation people when moving the groups from story to story. We worked together to stage our own performances and list all of our ideas. We talked about the different characters that could be used, props and cotsume. It’s all very exciting. I think everyone is looking forward to it. 🙂


Halloween Rehearsals 1

Our 14- 18yrs  Youth Theatre members are currently rehearsing for a performance in aid of Henshaws on Halloween in the Valley Gardens. They will be performing a promendade-style devised piece based upon three of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children. Here some of our members blog about the rehearsal process so far…

Week 1

The first week back from what seemed like a very long summer holiday we were all very excitable and eager to get back into drama. So we did. We got straight on with reading through the children’s stories for Halloween. We introduced ourselves to the new faces in the group and then took it in turns to read a line each of each of the 3 stories; Matilda, Jim and George.
We split into groups and played around taking the stories from page to stage and performed them with our ideas we had so far, we tried out different ways we could make them interesting and spooky for our audience including where the audience might stand. There were some creative ideas with some rap, physical theatre and lots of spooky stuff.

Work Experience – Week Eight

Day 5 – Sarah

Today started at 12pm at the theatre. I met Emily and we made our way up to Marketing where we were asked to label up some posters with the theatre information and dates. It was all cutting and labelling for us for a good hour or two.

Then we began to write up our blogs from the past two days and shortly after we filled in the remaining pages in our work experience log books. This meant we had to go for a wander around the theatre to check what signs were where and why they were used.

Just general health and safety information really. We also had a chat with Hannah about financing and economics as there was a section in our log books to fill out on this and honestly, we didn’t have a clue!

During the afternoon Mr Charlesworth, a teacher from my school, came to check everything had been going okay on placement and we filled in an evaluation sheet with Hannah. Everything seemed okay and Mr Charlesworth was happy with what the theatre staff had set me to and how I had completed it.

I then had an evaluation session with Hannah and we went through all the things I’d done during the week, any changes I’d like to make and generally just good and bad points. When the evaluation was finished I began labelling posters again and finished the day writing my blog.

It’s been a great week at theatre and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’ve learnt lots of knew things and met lots of new people. I think I’ll definitely be pursuing a career in this industry.

Thanks to all the team at Harrogate theatre, to Hannah for organising it and making this week such a great one and to Emily for making the week so fun and enjoyable.

As for the theatre itself. It’s not seen the last of me!

Day 5 – Emily

Today we were due in at 12:00, I met Sarah and we went straight up to Marketing and we were asked to label some posters with the dates and information of the shows.  We had to write our blog for Wednesday and Thursday.  We completed our work experience books and evaluated the week.  We went for a wander around the theatre to find out what some of the signs meant.  After that we had a chat with Hannah about the finance and other information that we needed to find out for our booklets.  I then had an evaluation session with Hannah and she asked me a few questions about the week and how they could improve it.  When I finished that I labelled a few more posters and finished that last day by writing my blog.  It’s been a brilliant week and a great experience.  I’ve learnt so much and it has helped me with my career path.  Thank you to all the team at Harrogate Theatre and I’ve enjoyed all the different jobs I’ve had to do…ESPECIALLY Marketing 😉 It was great to meet Sarah!!

Day 4 – Sarah

I came into the theatre at 6pm and met the other volunteer ushers. We were slightly earlier so we all got together and had a coffee and a chat about out day and what we’d been up to.

I was ‘attached’ to another usher so that I wouldn’t be wandering around like a lost sheep all night. We were told the fire drill and then made our way to where we were working. I was in the stalls with Doris.  We checked tickets and showed people to their seats and then sat down and enjoyed the show.

During the interval I sold ice creams, collected rubbish and went to assist the Rabbi in some book signing. I then went back to the stalls and watched the remainder of the show. After the show had finished I collected any left over rubbish, returned glasses to the bar and made sure everyone made their way out of the auditorium and up to the foyer.

I was then free to go. It was an enjoyable night and very different to the other ushering I had done earlier on in the week. This time it was more enjoyable as there was much more to do. I wouldn’t mind doing it again one day. We’ll see.

Day 4 – Emily

Today Sarah and I had a late shift and were due in at 6:30.  We arrived and received our usher badges as we were going to usher a show, Rabbi Lionel Blue.  I met the other ushers who I would be working with and went through the fire procedure and took peoples tickets as they came in.  It was a comedy show and the audience seemed to enjoy it.  At the interval I sold a few ice creams and the Rabbi was signing books.  After the second half I led people to the exit and after everybody had left the building, I went around the circle and picked up any rubbish people left.  It was an interesting evening and a good experience.

Day 3 – Sarah

Today we started at 12. I was taken to the box office while Emily made her way up to marketing. I was shown different data bases that the theatre use to sell tickets and I was then introduced to the mailing list. Many buttons were pressed in my introduction to the box office and keeping up with them was a struggle, I’ll admit. I was set the task to sort through mail that had been sent back to theatre and alter changes so that it could be sent on to where it needed to go. This involved checking the mailing list data base to get people’s numbers, call them up and check their address. By the time I got the hang of it I was taken up to marketing. The box office is a busy and quite stressful place to be and I was glad I didn’t have to stay there all day.

I made our way up to marketing where we met Kevin and Emily. We were asked to sort through some old letters making a pile of old ones and a pile of ones that were still in date or to be used. We assumed the old ones would get thrown away. We were wrong. From the old pile of letters we had to put together a 3 week schedule for theatre. The performances had to include something for; children, adults, senior citizens, adolescents and something experimental. We sat down and got to work separating the letters into different categories, from each pile we then picked a few favourites and began to make a draft of a schedule considering time for lighting and setting up props.

After making a final draft of the schedule we put it into a table on a word document. We were then asked to put together a press release for the schedule listing highlights and reasons for picking each. This also covered the different groups and all the relevant information for the shows.

We printed them out and presented them to Kevin explaining which group shows had been picked for and why we liked them. He was pleased with what we’d put together and perhaps we’ll be getting jobs here soon? After a short break we then packed some envelopes and wrapped them up ready for the post.

A very different day at the theatre. I enjoyed working in the office and seeing what really needed to be done to put shows together it’s interesting, as a dancer/actress, that it’s not all about the opening night. There’s a lot of planning and prep to be done before hand.

Day 3 – Emily

Today our day started at 12:00, so I was able to have a lie in!  As soon as I got there I went straight up to see Kevin to find out about Marketing.  He gave me an introduction of what it involved and the importance of it.  Whilst Sarah was down in the box office I was sorting out some of Kevin’s post, the out of date shows and the shows still to come.  The box office was very busy so Sarah joined me and helped sort through the massive pile of post.  Once we had achieved that we were given a little assignment.  This was to make a 3 week schedule for shows using Kevin’s old post; this was very difficult but a lot of fun.  We had our break and then wrote our schedule up in neat.  We then had to explain why we chose the shows we picked in a press release.  We printed it off and made a cup of tea whilst Kevin read through our report.  He was pleasantly surprised at what we had done and wanted to offer us a job!  Shortly after that we had to put letters about Wind in the Willows into envelopes to members of the theatre.  After a hard working day at the office, we went home.

Work Experience – Week Eight


Day Two

I got into the theatre this morning at 10am and went to the back stage area where Emily and I spoke with the chief electrician about the lighting on stage and in the auditorium discussing the fly decks and all the different power supplies located under the stage. We took a look at the sound and lighting decks and which switches worked what. As Harrogate Theatre is a mainly a receiving theatre they are sent specific plans from touring companies about what lighting and sound they want. On several occasions the lighting and sound will have to be adapted to all the touring groups requirements this can be very simple however some can be more complex and this obviously takes longer. After looking at some of the plans that the theatre are sent the work we did yesterday became much clearer.

We were then taken to do some ushering for the first festival performance of the day after receiving our badges we made our way to the circle and greeted people as they made there way to their seats. This was pretty straight forward and no difficulties arose. All that was left for us to do was enjoy the performance. When the show had finished we took to our stations and showed people where to exit making sure there were no problems.

After lunch we then ushered for the second performance, this time working in the stalls. We showed people to their seats and then sat down at the lighting/sound station with one of the technicians and peered over at what he was doing at what points. This wasn’t that exciting as the performance was a very basic one with lights up and down and a few volume changes throughout. After showing people out after the performance we said bye to the other ushers and then sat down to write ours blogs.

Another good day at the theatre and much more relaxing than yesterday.


Day Two

I got to the theatre for 10am this morning and met Sarah.  We were taken straight through to have a chat with the chief technician backstage.  We spoke with the chief electrician about the lighting on stage and in the auditorium discussing the fly decks and all the different power supplies located under the stage. We looked at the places where the sound and lighting were and were told what switches controlled what lights and sounds, it was very confusing.  Harrogate Theatre is a mainly a receiving theatre so they are sent specific plans from touring companies about what lighting and sound they want. On several occasions the lighting and sound will have to be adapted to all the touring groups requirements this can be very simple however some can be more complex and this obviously takes longer. After looking at the wires and plans, the things we did yesterday became a lot clearer and less confusing.  Our last activity before our break was ushering for the first festival performance of the day, after receiving our badges we made our way to the circle and greeted people as they made there way to their seats.  When the show finished we opened for doors and led the audience to the exits.  After lunch we then ushered again for the second performance, once again we showed the people to their seats, but this time we sat at the back of the circle at the lighting/sound station.  Not many things had to be done as it was a simple performance but it was still very interesting and different to sit there.  Once again it was a very interesting and active day at the Theatre.

Work Experience – Week Eight

Day one – Emily

I arrived and was met by Hannah and made friends with the other Work Experience girl.  We had a tour of the theatre and found out some history of it which was very exciting because we got to see things that an audience would never see, such as the dressing rooms and the wardrobe.  After that we went to meet the backstage crew and sorted out some wires for the lights which were interesting, I never realised it takes so much hard work just to put one light up!  In the afternoon we put some letters in envelopes to the Hyena Comedy Club members and then did some research on Alan Bennett, the writer of Wind in the Willows.  Shortly after we went down to the backstage lot and actually put the lights up and made sure they shone in the correct place.  This takes a very long time because every light is different but it was very interesting, we then put a screen up for a comedian that was coming that night.

Day one – Sarah

So, today is day one. It all started with a bit of a tour of the theatre built in early 1900’s (first fact of the day). We took a look at the many different departments to get a general look at what happens in each of them. After a tour of the theatre and a bit of brain cramming for the many codes of many different doors. We made our way to the stage where we took a look at the different lights and what they’re used for. Me being me I was asking many questions to find out as much as I could about the stage and lighting. However, I do feel I put the guys under a bit of pressure to give me all the answers I wanted, forgive me.

After lunch we ran some errands which involved sealing envelopes and taking posters down to the international centre. This was really just to fill some free time and I suppose theatre can’t all be glamorous even if it does always look that way on stage. Emily and I created a fact file on Alan Bennett the writer of the play ‘The wind in the willows’ the play will soon be shown by Harrogate Theatre so we put together a bit of information about him.

We spent most of the afternoon with the Lighting and Stage technicians focusing lights and we soon got onto the topic of stage and theatre superstitions. As a superstitious type of girl I found it very interesting. Did you know you’re not supposed to say the last line of the panto before the first night? I didn’t have a clue. However, as the conversation went on we began talking more and more about superstition and I believe after a while they were perhaps having us on a bit.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first day ‘working’ at the theatre and I really liked the relaxed atmosphere. Can’t wait for tomorrow! 🙂

Work Experience – Week Seven



When we arrived, we were met by Hannah and she gave us a tour of the theatre which I found really interesting because I hadn’t been backstage before. After that, me and Alex were split up and while he was doing marketing, I was doing education with Hannah. I had to read though the play “Wind in the Willows” and write a props list and a synopsis for it. I found this quite easy as I have just finished doing it a school play. When I’d finished that, we discussed the features that you would include in a theatre programme. In the afternoon, I was doing mail outs with Kevin which involved preparing the brochures and letters to be sent off.


Luckily for me, today I was able to have a lie-in because I was working in the evening, helping out backstage for the production of “Blithe Spirit.” Before the play started, David told us about how it all worked backstage and he showed us some of the special effects that they use in the play. For part of the play I was sitting on the lighting and sound desk with Martin. It was really interesting to wear the cans and work out how it all worked. Then, for the last half of the play, me and Alex were backstage helping out with the special ghostly effect at the end of the play. The actress who played “Mrs Bradman” was very friendly and we had a chat with her about our work experience.


Again, today I was working in the evening, this time doing ushering. We met Ash and the ushers, who were all very friendly. Because the woman who usually tends the sweet shop hadn’t turned up, Ash asked me to do it instead. I had never used a till before, so I was a bit shaky at first but I soon got the hang of it. At the end, we cleared up the auditorium and then helped to tidy up the stage.


Today I was pleased to have the very agreeable working hours of 12 till 5. I really enjoyed working in the box office and I think I learnt a lot too. Kerry and Chris were really friendly and helpful, so by the end I was able to sell tickets and use the credit card PIN machine without too much difficulty. I did make an embarrassing scene when I opened a packet of pound coins and they flew everywhere! It was really interesting to find out how tickets are sold and I learned how to use the ticket-selling database.


Day 1:

In the morning I was given a tour of Harrogate theatre by Hannah. I was shown the backstage areas. I found this part of the tour very interesting. Hannah told me the history of the theatre. I didn’t know much about the theatre’s history so this was a great experience.

After the tour I worked in the marketing department, where I was given the job of putting letters and brochures into envelopes for members of the theatre. I did this for 2 hours and I was surprised how much work that I had done for 2 hours. I then went out for my lunch break which lasted for 1 hour.

I came back to the theatre where I worked for Hannah in the education department. She asked me to summarise the wind in the willows script. Once I completed this task I phoned members of the cast and told them the next costume fitting.

Day 2:

Today I started work at 6:00pm and I was given a more detailed tour (by David) of some of the backstage areas. I then sat at the lighting desk with Martin and he explained the different uses of lights in a production. For the 1st act of Blithe Spirit I sat with Martin and I listened to the cues from the stage manager for the different lights and sounds.

For the last act I helped David by pushing buttons which collapsed bookshelves on stage. I really enjoyed this job and I wish I could do it again.

Day 3:

I started work at 6:30pm where I was to do my ushering duty. I was greeted by Ash in the main entrance. She explained the role of an usher. Shortly after 3 more ushers joined us. We went into the main auditorium and Ash gave us a safety talk. Once the audience were allowed to enter the building I offered them programmes and I showed them to their seats. In the first interval I sold ice creams to audience members. I was nervous about doing this job in case I gave them the wrong change. But I hopefully didn’t.

Once the performance of Blithe Spirit had finished I thanked people for coming and I cleared any litter from the aisles. I really enjoyed this job and once I turn 17 I would like to volunteer as an Usher.

Day 4: Today I began my work at 12:00pm where I worked in the marketing department. I did a similar job to last time where I had to put letters into envelopes for members of the Hyena Comedy Club. I did this job until 2 o’clock where I had my lunch break with a few friends.

Once I came back I worked in the Box office. Kerry, who was in charge of selling tickets, showed me how to use the data base to sell tickets for future performances. I found this really difficult to understand at first, but once I did it a few times I felt really pleased that I could sell tickets. This job was really fun and I would really like to do it again!