If you enjoy trips to the theatre, you’ll love the backstage tour of the Festival Theatre.
Our tour was led by Graham, who works as an usher in both the Festival and King’s Theatres and has been with them for 20 years. The tour can vary depending on what production is taking place, but today we were lucky enough to be able to spend some time on stage, on the set of Mary Poppins, and to see many of the costumes, wigs and props used in the show. When you’re in the auditorium, it’s obvious this is a big theatre, but the amount of space behind the actual stage really surprised me – it is huge, and in fact the amount of stage we normally see as an audience is only a small part of the whole area.
The tour took in a lot of the behind-the-scenes areas, including the wardrobe room and the green room, and we were up and down stairs to all levels of the theatre, while Graham told us about the workings of the theatre, and some of the history of the building. Although I’m a regular visitor to the Festival Theatre, there were a lot of things that Graham pointed out that I hadn’t noticed before. His anecdotes really brought some of the characters associated with the theatre to life, and his enthusiasm for and love of theatre (and the Festival Theatre especially) made it a very enjoyable couple of hours.
Backstage tours normally take place on the first Saturday of each month, at 10.30am, and cost £7.50 including tea/coffee and biscuits at the end of the tour. Bespoke tours for groups of up to 25 people can also be arranged.
Article by Lisa Sibbald