Friday, 14 October 2016


As you probably know, I'm into film. The theatre has never drawn me very much, except for the big productions such as Les Miserable, Phantom of the Opera etc. But since the early part of this year I have been carrying out some freelance work for The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland's largest stage and soon to host Miss Saigon.

Good to have the connections and I always get a kick out of going in through the stage door. Because of my work for them I regularly get offered free tickets to current shows, with the compromise that I can't choose the performance or seating.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is running at the theatre at the moment, and who doesn't know the songs. As an aside I didn't know that it was originally a children's book written by none other than Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond. Anyway, in familiar form free tickets were offered to me, albeit on a Friday afternoon. But this was a bit special, as two of the 10-year old girls who are members of the academy I teach at, had landed parts. As the show tours the country they bring in local children from wherever it is being staged, and these two girls were part of twelve chosen.

Very recently one of the films to win a Best Film in its category, Samantha Glamorous, had as its lead a girl called Stella. She has only been with the academy for a year and it was all new to her. Yet here she was, a little over 12 months later, on stage with comedian/actors Jason Manford and Phill Jupitus, together with singer/actress Claire Sweeney and Charlotte Wakefield.

I had to wait a while for the two girls Vaila and Stella to make an appearance, but not only did both girls do incredibly well for their first professional performance, but Stella had landed lines too!

It added a whole different dimension sitting there in the audience. And I had landed great seats, just three rows from the very front and bang in the middle!

At one point the show was stopped, not far from the end, and they brought the safety curtain down for a few minutes. I later found out that Chitty herself had overheated.

It was a packed theatre and I felt very proud of the girls performances. Maybe I had a little influence on their confidence over the past few months, but this experience will have been enormously beneficial for them.

Will they remember me when they're famous?

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