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Neil White’s tour blog – Edinburgh  
Lots of stairs, a birthday party and some ghostly goings-on in the Edinburgh Playhouse...
Neil himself!

Hi All

It’s our second week in Edinburgh at the enormous Edinburgh Playhouse, however much you warn a company about the number of stairs in this theatre it is always a shock when you get here – and after the steep hill down to stage door, realising you have 60 + steps to your dressing room and not the luxury of a lift… although not that performers are ever allowed to use a lift after the half hour call…!

For the first couple of days all I could hear from my 5th floor office was huffing and puffing and moaning about the stairs and that is just from the Playhouse crew (many of who have worked here for years and still aren’t used to them).

I managed to find a stair climbing calorie counter – so during my many trips to stage door (138 steps a round trip) during the day – I store up the ‘reward points’ so when I have the temptation to stop at one of the amazing chip shops opposite the theatre on the way home – it doesn’t feel quite as bad as it should and actually feels like spending your reward points, rather than just greed!

The theatre seats an amazing 3000 people, but for such a large theatre it is a very warm and friendly place to play – the noise of so many people cheering and clapping is such a great buzz for everybody.

The warm and friendly theatre is also carried on by all the theatre staff – as we arrive at the stage door / reception area is actually painted bright pink (I think it was done especially for Clara Beauchamp – one of our very lovely nuns who has a major pink fixation…) and the stage door reception staff couldn’t be nicer or more helpful. The crew here (many who we’ve known for way too long) are like working with (old) friends – this extends right to the front of house staff. So the theatre couldn’t be a better place to work (if only it had a lift….!) Plus the theatre bought us all loads of chocolate (other theatres take note) as first night gifts – always a good start to a week!!

Edinburgh is such a stunning city and it is always great to have an extended stay here, plus the fact that you can rent the most amazing apartments for very reasonable prices so it does actually feel like a bit of a holiday (apart from 8 shows, rehearsals and maintenance calls). There is also the very strange phenomenon that goes on when you go into a bar here , the time pixies steal a couple of hours so it always ends up way later than you intended to be out for.

Edinburgh is also one of those places that is literally bursting with history and it is so easy just to spend hours walking round and basically looking.

We all did a Ghost Walk after the show on Thursday – quite an experience to have all your acting company and many of the crew walking through underground streets, haunted graveyards and Poltergeist-possessed tombs in the early hours of the morning . If any of you ever visit Edinburgh you must do one of these walks – as it is basically a history lesson but on the scarier side of this beautiful city.

On the subject of Ghosts… my company are fixated now about theatre Ghosts…mainly because I keep finding out Ghost histories and putting it on their information sheets. The Playhouse ghost Albert has had numerous sightings over the years mainly on the 6th floor, the only scary sighting we have had on the 6th floor are Jenna and Viv (Sister Marg and Frau Schmidt) after a night out. We also have the scary 9th floor corridor where Miss Fisher spent the interval the other day ‘Ghost Busting!!!’

Our BIG and I mean HUGE event of the venue is Monday night and Clara’s 21st Birthday party – the theme is Disney and fancy dress is compulsory – the buzz around the company is incredible and every dressing room has some element of fancy dress – I’ve just been to wardrobe to find Becky (automation) finishing off her ball dress, to see Piglet being put in the ‘hotbox’ to dry and Ania (sound) putting the final touches to her skirt…

Next week we start rehearsals for our new mother Abbess, Marilyn Hill Smith and we are really looking forward to meeting her but also sad as Maggie Preece is on her final two weeks – she will be greatly missed.

We also have trips to the Dungeons planned and am sure Dame Maggie and Jacinta (Baroness) will be taking a trip to the royal yacht Britannia (which is moored in Leath Harbour a few miles from the theatre) – its just a pity they can’t hire it for their next holiday…

On our final Saturday here ‘The Connie Fisher Forum’ – Connie’s really lovely Appreciation Society – are coming to Edinburgh en masse, it is always great to have them in the audience as they really are supportive to the show.

Lets hope the fun up here continues and the next blog will be hopefully be from our lovely sound department… as they keep promising they will write one… no pressure…

Neil x

For more information on the show and to book tickets, visit the official Sound of Music UK tour website.

Posted on: 8th February 2010

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