It’s the dream of many an actor to take on one of the great classical roles, and then to take their performance on tour across the world from Paris to New York, Beijing to Sydney, being paid to explore new cultures and to practice their art in the best venues that those cities have to offer. Some of us, however, take the ever so slightly less glamorous route of performing a bit of am-dram on a local patch of grass.
This year, the Crescent Theatre Company’s annual outdoor summer tour saw a cast of twelve daring souls and their fearless director and crew brave the elements as they took Glyn Maxwell’s 2013 adaptation of the French classic Cyrano de Bergerac and performed it to crowds at a number of local beauty spots including Harvington Hall and Castle Bromwich Gardens.
The show was initially performed for a week in the theatre’s studio space, with minimal set in preparation for being taken on the road. This gave everyone involved the chance to become wholly comfortable with the show before being stripped of the security of familiar surroundings (and a roof) and being thrust into the wild and unpredictable outdoors. Each venue offered had its own quirks and difficulties, be it the trek from the dressing room to the stage, the uneven floor or the noise of the planes flying overhead, but, this was always offset by the huge positives that were also unique to the settings; the festival atmosphere, the stunning scenery and, seven times out of eight, the blue skies and blazing Sun.
The tour experience builds a great sense of comradery through all involved with a production, partly due to the extended length of the process and partly through the need for everyone to muck in and help with the loading/unloading at each venue and the re-blocking to make the play new spaces, so by the end some strong bonds are created which were hopefully translated onto the stage and evident through the tightness of the ensemble and the enthusiasm exuding from the performances.
So, if this all sound like something you’d like to be a part of, you only have another 8 months (give or take) to wait until the auditions for next year’s tour come around… See you there!