Early morning start to pick up the van, ready for loading back at St Marys. Our progress was delayed by a Wonderland-esque contravention of the health and safety regulations as we'd pulled up outside of the theatre and blocked the route for wheelchairs. We tried to suggest that if anybody needed access we'd immediately move on, but were told that whilst that might work for real wheelchairs, hypothetical wheelchairs would still be denied access! We tried to establish four scenarios and suggested alternative courses of action for each. Hypothetical van, real wheelchair - no problems. Hypothetical van, hypothetical wheelchair - no problems. Real van, real wheelchair - van moves. Real van, hypothetical wheelchair - van stays. In the end we were told off for being smart alecs and can expect reprimanding emails in our in boxes in the near future. In reality this a small price to pay to ensure the safe loading of the mushroom, mechanical horse and teapot.
We got to Ham as the house closed to the public and quickly set to work installing the set. Then we walked the company around the site, pointing out some of the hazards and stressing the importance of helping the audience around.
By six o'clock we were ready for a tech/ dress and so we slowly worked our way through each of the sections, stepping back to allow the actors guide and reiterate the route around the grounds. The weather, as it rather miraculously has been all week stayed off and enabled us to keep all the costumes and props dry - a real bonus for tomorrow.
In the glooming darkness we finished the show in the wilderness. The get out done using the headlights of the various cars that had ferried the cast to the house. We've done all we can. Now it's up to the rain gods.
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.