The 1st April is usually the day for practical jokes and pranksters but on that day here at the SJT it was friendly faces and warm welcomes that were being dished out.
Grabbing a bargain, learning circus tricks, in-depth tours and workshops were what was on offer at our biggest open day yet as we welcomed people from near and far to come and explore the SJT more than they’d ever done before.
Visitors were able to go on an extensive tour of our art deco building and along the way stopped off at key locations to try their hand at just some of the activities we get up to. Many children it seemed enjoyed the samba drumming workshop and our wardrobe demonstrations. Rails of costumes from past productions were laid out for people to try on and feel how it is for the actors who wore them. There was also a chance for people to perform directly on the Round stage and show off their acting talents in front of our Artistic Director, Paul Robinson.
Areas which are usually off limits to the general public were also available to view. A visit to our workshop allowed people to see the effort that goes into making and painting sets or how props get made. A highlight for many was being able to walk across our lighting mesh directly above the Round stage and receiving an insight into how theatre uses lighting in a demonstration with Paul Stear, Chief Electrician.
Fleur Hebditch, Assistant to the Executive Producer, is one of staff members who regularly conducts our building tours and was one of those heading up the more extensive ones on the open day. Fleur said:
“It’s always a delight to pass on the knowledge about this beautiful building we work in. There’s a rich history that comes with it and it’s a pleasure to teach people all about it. There are so many little nuggets of information people just never expect. Even now I still learn new things which I’ll try and build into the tours to keep them fresh!”
Alongside the tours other members of staff we eagerly manning stalls filled with props and costumes all of which were available for sale and help raise money for the theatre. Some of the specialised props even included some World War 2 army stretchers that were lent out by the theatre and used in the filming of Dad’s Army!
It was fantastic for all of us here at the SJT to see so many people filling the building and was great to see familiar faces as well as welcoming some new ones which we hope to see again very soon!
If you missed out on the open day building tours take place throughout the year. Click here to view dates and times.