The roof of the Visitor’s Centre was being worked on so it was closed for three days, and tickets couldn’t be available there.
Someone’s phone broke. We couldn’t fit any staging at the church. Mary kept pricking herself with needles while working on costumes and then she fell over. Cast members kept thinking they were getting ill – but didn’t! sore throat, headaches… The usual!
The book for the concert was adapted from a book of the same name for the concert version of The Crooked Spire (TCS) and consisted of narration by one character, Martha, whose main role was to carry the story along within the musical input, introduce the characters and provide a semi-comic element within the darker storyline.
It worked well and achieved what we set out to do. The local accent was a challenge for some of the actors – that they relished. The writer had some knowledge of this but did consult a local young man, who also had some linguistic understanding of the roots of the vocabulary used in the area around Chesterfield. We were keen to get this correct as we wished to respect the morays of the local people. Martin’s daughter in law from Bolsover thought Harriet got the accent spot on!
Costumes and props were a little problematic as there was very little budget. Magdalen Theatre, a small company that regularly produces shows for Local Derbyshire Festivals was able to provide us with a wardrobe that gave a good historical feel but was not entirely to the era. Some costumes were made specifically for the concert the rest were either lent by them or in part contributed by the cast.
The production and ancillary organisation were, as always with these kinds of shows, complicated. The AHA production team, including director, musical arranger, and cast where appropriate, were kept regularly informed of progress and ‘jobs to do’ through the project.