Adventures in Stage Management Part 2

We missed the blog last week as Little Lady Luscious was out doing a very exciting job last week. Like most artists Little Lady Luscious has a day job as well as the cabaret & burlesque jobs.  Some performers work in offices schools shops, you name it we do it to keep the cash flow coming in.  Many moons ago LLL trained to be a stage manager & technician and has travelled the UK, USA & Australia in varying backstage roles.  From assistant stage manager to company manager from follow spot operator to sound & AV technician she’s pretty much done it all backstage.  So when the Folly Mixtures asked her to Stage Manage their latest show in Hunstanton she jumped at the chance.  Here’s what she got up to …

Although I love my time on stage I also love my time backstage too.  This is why you will see me regularly keeping shows like Burlesque Idol, Speakeasy at Sway Bar, The RVT panto & Michael Twaits Draguation ticking along smoothly so the acts and the audience get to enjoy an awesome show.

Last week I was sent a message by the fabulous Ooh La Lou from the Folly Mixtures to see if I was available to work on Tassels: An Evening of Burlesque at the Princess Theatre.  Although you will regularly see me stage managing across London in various cabaret venues it has been a very long time since I stepped into a theatre outside of London to work on a show.  I was a little nervous but also excited.

So before I knew it I was saying yes and was being emailed the tracks and details for the show.  There is something very reassuring about working in theatre.  Every theatre is different but pretty much the same.  I’ve worked in big ones, small ones & medium sized venues.  Hunstanton was a beautiful wee theatre with the classic red velvet seats and a small yet perfectly formed stage.  And of course prompt corner at the side of stage, this is where I was to spend the evening.  Prompt corner is traditionally where the deputy stage manager will call the show – cueing the lights, sound, stage hands & performers, but on that day I was calling the show which was great fun.  I had a headset, backstage tanoy & a screen so I could watch the show and call it correctly.  You never see equipment like this in your average cabaret venue.  Normally when I give backstage announcements it’s from the corner of the dressing room.  I was sure to give my best ‘posh tanoy’ voice when giving the half hour, 15 minute & beginners call.

Prompt Corner & The Folly Mixtures rehearsing on stage before the show.

On arrival I met the resident technical manager Jess.  Who was awesome and quite clearly a badass, she toured as a sound engineer in the 80s & 90s (female sound engineers are very rare both now and back then).  Her aim at the theatre is to train up young technicians and the team we had were excellent.  Dan on stage & Boots on the follow spot.  Boots had never done a figure of eight on followspot before she was pretty nervous about it but she did it and it looked awesome.  There is a knack to followspot that was one of the many jobs I did back in the day at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

The show went really well, there were a few mild hitches but no one noticed as the whole company are professionals.  It was also great to work with some familiar  faces Dee Riley, Delores Deluxe, Bootsy Bonafonté & Storm Hooper.  It was also quite exciting to meet yellow the dove, who did escape for a short time.  But Dee Riley was able to coax her down.

Theatre holds a special place in my heart and my theatre training has helped me adapt to the varying cabaret venues I have worked  in over the years  (I’ve taught a few techs how to use a sound desk) .   I got to reminisce over my youth and the good old days of touring. It was a bit like going home, a joy to visit but my real home, cabaret, is where my heart is. 

Which leads me swiftly on to my new cabaret home of Luscious Privée if you haven’t come to visit pop by and see us!  I’ll be performing every other week.  When I’m not performing you’ll find me stage managing and watching the show from the back.  So do swing by and say hi!

I hope you all have an amazing Easter weekend and see you at a Luscious event real soon!