The Race for Curtain Up

THE RACE FOR ‘CURTAIN UP’......”Beginners to the Stage please!”

In these uncertain times there are those who are ready at the starting gate! None less than Blakeney Players in North Norfolk who already have a reputation locally, for doing it 'differently'... They are raring to go as soon as the Government’s metaphoric gun is fired, with a home written piece called appropriately 'Stand and Deliver' written, produced and directed by Chairman Peter Franklyn. 

Having tracked this busy man down, Peter firstly outlined the impressive arrangements put in place to ensure everyone involved with the production complied with Blakeney Players Covid protocol.  This was helped by 90% of the players having been double vaccinated, (those who weren’t, provided negative lateral flow tests on each rehearsal day) and following DCMS Making Music guidelines for rehearsals; Weekly rehearsals were able to commence after Step 3 of the road map was lifted.

Once inside the spacious village hall, separate bubbles of six players were kept socially distanced on individual “carpets” songs were rehearsed outside to the band, in a bubble of four positioned appropriately spaced. The extravagant home made set, constructed by a maximum of six builders in their own bubble with scenery and set painting is done by two painters when the hall is empty.

Phew, as a director myself I am well aware of the complexities of scheduling but this must surely be the most mammoth task during a very intensive period.  But, what about the lead-in to opening night I hear you ask... Unable to use the stage in rehearsal (to remain socially distanced), the cast had their first and final dr ess rehearsal on the same evening before opening night.....which complete with a full band and chorus, the first of two separate three-course supper evenings....thrown in or more specifically, ‘served at socially distanced tables’, to a sold-out audience! What an achievement.

The show, ‘Stand and Deliver’ is set in 1650 in the stately home of Lord Montague Donne, a garden enthusiast with a desire to win Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.  But, the risk of highway robbers, tension between Holland and England, and fraught trade deals between the Dutch delegates and Norfolk’s own MP his hope of winning with exotic plants is at grave risk and thus his hearts desire. There is romance, music, and laughter, combined with fantastically outrageous costumes within the period and a beautiful set.  Opening night is July 22nd  with shows running across the early summer which are already selling well to a loyal audience of locals and of course a larger than usual influx of holiday stay-cationers! 

Feeling very proud of the Blakeney Players Peter says “it was always going to be tight, we had advertised to open on July 15th which would have four rehearsals on stage had restrictions lifted on June 21st but with commitment from everyone (including the caterers) the Players really took to the task and are ready to go, albeit with fingers crossed; it will be a brilliant antidote to the last 15 months”.

Blakeney Players must be one of the first to get a 'big show' to the stage within a few days of the most recent 'freedom' date! So with the show opening on July 22nd...Can you compete with this adventurous society in the race for the curtain up ?