Day out: Everyman Theatre

11 Feb

Here’s a warning, right upfront: I think theaters are cool.  Something about performance and performing, about magic and excitement, about the line between stage and audience and where it blurs — I love it.   Going backstage is like jumping in to a magician’s hat.  And there’s the romance of the inevitable theater ghost or phantom, and the joy of carving out a space in the shadows that is so private no one can find you — and yet, you’re in the middle of a huge show.  So, yeah, I like that.

Oh, and I have some photos of the theater in use, from our visit to the Panto.

Enter the ‘dress circle’ — the first balcony — and my eyes go up to the beautiful dome.

The theater was built to house opera as well as drama, so the proscenium is very high and the dome was meant to help project the voice.  The original gas lamp in the dome was also a ventilation system for the theater.

A view of one of the two theater boxes.  There are only three seats in each box, and the view of the stage is not the best — but the tickets include champagne, and everyone can see you very well.  Wave like the Queen!

The refurbished seats, and the very discreet ventilation ducts.

The two angels to either corner of the stage are very possibly my favorite decorative elements in the entire theater.  What I wouldn’t give to have her view for just a moment, as she sits holding that small sun.

And now we move backstage — oooh, the dressing room.  I should have brought flowers.

The fly floor.

Looking down to the stage from the fly floor.  Wheeee!

There was a lot of technical talk up here.  Things going up and down, grids, proper weighting, marking, safety, timing.

A trip through wardrobe.  Most shows bring their own costumes — even their own washers, driers, and ironing boards — but the panto stores costumes here year-round.

Scene shop.  Smells like IKEA.  Looks like awesome.

View from backstage up to the fly floor.

Now imagine this:  you are standing on stage.  Look to your right and you’ll see this:

Take one step and look to your left and you’ll see this:

C’mon, that is magic.

The stage was set for a show when we visited.  I’m trying to get all arty with my shot.

And a view back up the balconies from the pit as we walk out.  These used to be benches — the theater was built to accomodate nearly 1500 people, apparently on friendly terms.  Now it holds about 700.

For a history of the Everyman Theatre, I glowingly recommend Michael Hasted‘s A Theatre for All Seasons: The History of the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham.  A new edition is coming out in paperback next month, if you can’t find a copy of the hardback.  It’s full of information not just about this gorgeous theater, but the history of the performing arts in Cheltenham.  I even discovered through this book the location of the Cheltenham Assembly Rooms (now a bank) — where Wellington danced, and Paganini once played!  But that’s a post for another day.


5 Responses to “Day out: Everyman Theatre”

  1. Zazzy February 12, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    I love old theaters. Of course, “old” means something different here. That’s a really beautiful place and how cool that you got to see all the behind the scenes parts!

    • Monique February 12, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      This theater isn’t that old — just 120 years! Practically a baby, lol. It was relatively recently refurbished, and looks amazing.

  2. Selena February 12, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Gorgeous pictures of a beautiful theater. I would love to see all of the behind the scenes areas.

    • Monique February 12, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      We got to see part of a rehearsal in progress, too!


  1. He’s behind you! « Crumpets in Camelot - December 22, 2012

    […] book our tickets early so we could sit somewhere out of the corner pocket of the theatre — a theatre I love, by the way.   I’m a bit exhausted and overwrought by the darkness of the season, but here […]

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