Northanger Abbey 2017 tour… so far
Annabelle Terry aka Isabella Thorpe
So, here we are: 8 weeks into the tour since we opened in Bury St Edmunds, having played over half the venues on our schedule, with only 4 stops left to go (If I were better at maths I would add a nice equation here but, alas, I was not blessed with such gifts). The time really has flown. One minute we were creating and performing in the lovely TRBSE, and the next we were hitting the (rail) road and heading up and down the country to perform Northanger Abbey on this, the 200th year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. Fun times.
I remember one of the first venues we were visiting was the Devonshire Park Theatre in sunny Eastbourne. It literally felt like going on a group holiday down to the south coast because some of us stayed in a lovely B&B right next to the theatre. One of the joys of touring is getting to see places that you might not otherwise and exploring them.
From there we travelled in the total opposite direction t’up north to Richmond, North Yorkshire. Unfortunately that particular travel day was manic as we were amidst the huge storm that hit (cheers Doris) and Eva and I spent a solid 10 hours on a train getting up there. But the show must go on, despite storms with female names.
For me touring is exciting. Each venue is different and means you have to adapt quickly. For example, when we were at the small but beautiful Georgian Theatre in Richmond, the set was reduced to fit into the space. Whilst my initial reaction to this was a pair of very sweaty palms, you soon walk around and figure out your new entrances/exits and how to adjust your performance to the space. Then the rest is play – I mean, the play, of course. There have undoubtedly been some hilarious moments. Some of the venues have had raked stages, which means the floor is slightly sloped, and this can be highly entertaining to perform Georgian dances on, especially when trying to retain some level of elegance. Lesson for life: never underestimate the rake! Having done the show over forty times now, sometimes your mind can play tricks on you and you suddenly realise you’re standing on a stage, in front of people, with words coming out of your mouth at lightning speed – it’s nice to be doing the show with a seriously great and interesting group of people to bounce off.
As soon as we have exited stage and the auditorium has been cleared, the crew are on it doing the get out and the tour continues. From North Wales in the brilliant Theatr Clwyd, down to the Theatre Royal Windsor, we’ve played in some great spaces, met some lovely people and sometimes animals too (theatre cats and dogs – possibly the best idea ever) I’m looking forward to the next leg of the tour, including visiting my home-venue Derby Theatre!