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 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.
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:
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.