Little Hallingbury Panto Group
Although the audience only get to see what is happening on stage, each production is like an iceberg with 9/10th’s of the work unseen. With 4 months of rehearsal, and the set design, Props and costumes to organise, scenery to paint, music to find, sound effects and lighting plots to work out. Then just after Christmas, we can start building the stage. With just under 2 weeks to curtains up, the lighting rig is built and hoisted into position. The sound feeds are connected. And we can test it all out. Over the years, we have tried to make it easy for ourselves and now the sound cables are permanently installed with the cable running from the lighting / sound box at the back of the hall to the top of the stage, and also the CCTV link so that the cast and crew have a rough idea of what is happening on stage.
Technical rehearsal on the Saturday before curtain’s up is the first chance that the backstage crew have to see how well it all goes together. Then comes the dress rehearsal. And now we come to the run of performances. These days we have 5. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights with 2 on the Saturday
Saturday night, the curtains close and the audience start to leave. This is when the backstage crew swing into action again. The lighting rig is lowered and dismantled. The sound and CCTV setups are disconnected, and the stage is struck. By 2 AM We’ve finished, everything that doesn’t stay is in our cars and we can go home only to unload everything. On the Sunday morning, the costumes are put away, the empty barrels from the bar are removed, and by lunchtime, nobody would know that we had been there the day before. Then we can go off to our well earned lunch.
We can’t all be on the stage, but we are happy doing our bit unseen to help the production along. So here’s to Ann and Judy for the makeup, June and Beryl the wardrobe, Mel for props. Bill & Veronika for the set design, Ralph has held it all together as Stage Manager. Gordon, Roger and Dee Lighting. Chris, Sound effects and the CCTV. Front of house we have Karen as curtains, Ken as Prompt and Philip as the orchestra. Choreography over the past few years has been the domain of Pip, Sid and Stella (not necessarily at the same time) and finally Madame Producer Julie, who conducts the rehearsals and oversees the whole thing.
A mention must also be made to the catering staff during the rehearsals, and those that supply the tea, cakes, sandwiches and drinks during the run, headed by Monica and Cliff.
Panto Logo designed by Rebekah Cranch. Photos by Chris Rohrer
Here are some photos of the lighting frame going up, with Dee, Ralph and Roger.
The sound box with the microphone to pick up auditorium sounds for the CCTV. The camera is shown in the centre window. Since this photo was taken, the camera has been moved on to a custom made bracket mounted above head height mounted round the supporting pillar for the box. And the microphones now are on the stage
Make Up & Costumes