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Behind the scenes of Pinocchio: Friday Reads

Happy New Year! In 2020, we want to give you more ‘behind the scenes’ info from Strike A Light. We work with some amazing people and deliver projects which never make it onto our website pages, so “Friday Reads” is going to be a way for us to share more with you.

Each Friday, we’ll post an update from different people in the Strike A Light family, so if you feel like you’ve done enough work for the week then grab a cup of tea and have a read.

Our first post is from Annie, who was an assistant stage manager on Pinocchio, the Christmas show that we produced for the Guildhall for 2019.

Annie’s photos from the rehearsals and some of the beautiful images of the show captured by David Broadbent Photography

“I’m Annie, a graduate of the University of Gloucestershire. Since graduating their Drama course in 2018, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Strike A Light on several occasions. First as an actor in The Snow Queen and I’ve just finished working on Pinocchio as Assistant Stage Manager.

There is a huge amount of work and thought that goes into putting on a show before the audience get to see it. Some of this includes writing a script, designing the set and lighting and making costumes. There was a whole team of people working on Pinocchio, many of whom the audience never get to see. My role in this production was to help on stage and to operate the sound and lights during each show.

We had 3 weeks of rehearsing the show before the public were able to come and see Pinocchio. In this time I was purchasing and making props, making pieces of costume and writing down any information that was important to the running of the show. We then moved into the Guildhall to start the show, I helped to build the stage, put up the stage lights and create the magical world of Pinocchio.

Working on Pinocchio allowed me to gain more knowledge about what is done behind the scenes. In the future, I plan to become a stage manager and this has allowed me to get an inside look at what this involves. I’ve also been able to work alongside other members of the stage management team and learn how to carry out tasks that a stage manager would need to complete

We opened Pinocchio on the 6th of December. Our first few shows were to school children who would come and watch Pinocchio as part of a school trip. We then opened to the public and in total we put on 40 performances! We had children giggling all the way through and everyone was willing to join in with our audience participation.

As a child I was lucky to be able to go and watch theatre productions with my school. One of the first plays I watched was A Midsummer’s Night Dream at primary school. This has always stuck in my mind as a very magical and visual piece of theatre. I think this kickstarted my love for theatre. It’s amazing that young people are able to come and watch theatre in Gloucester through school trips. Without this they may not ever get to go to the theatre. Also not everyone is able to study drama at school but being able to go out and watch a performance still allows children to be able to see what’s out there.

With local businesses and individuals being able to donate money to give children the opportunity to see at least one show this year, Gloucester will be able to keep giving young children the experience that I had as a child. It will introduce them to the magic and excitement of theatre and this will hopefully lead to our young people becoming more involved with the arts.

As part of a stage management team it is amazing to be able to see a show take shape and go from words on a page to the magic of the theatre. I got involved in the arts because it gave me the chance to try something new. I had a local drama group that I was able to join. This group allowed me to make friends, socialise, learn how to sing and dance but most importantly it was somewhere I could have fun and be myself. It gave me an identity and allowed me to express myself through being creative. I was 9 years old when I joined Bristol Amateur Operatic Society (BAOS) since then I have gained a GCSE, A-Level and a Degree in theatre.

Now I can go out into the world and get a job that I love. The skills I have gained and things I have learned mean that I can work both as an actor and behind the scenes creating a show. I have only just started my career and I look forward to what I can achieve in the future.”