‘Get in’

Our Director and Dame Paul Barron has kindly put together an insight into a typical ‘get in’ ahead of show week, giving you a sneak peek into backstage life and the hectic time at the theatre.

So, opening night rapidly approaches and the moment of truth is almost upon us. As it currently stands, we have 3 nights in the theatre before we get an audience in. I say 3 nights rather than 3 rehearsals as the theatre can be a really frustrating time for all concerned. Nothing every really goes how you plan it. For those not in the know, the idea is that on Monday night, all props, set and equipment are delivered to the theatre. Also that nig20141206_132232ht, while Phil, the stage manager, and a group of awesome volunteers all try to hang backcloths, Andy and I will be talking through the lighting design with the theatre staff. This might mean lights needing to be moved, reset or programmed. We have to do this for every scene in the show, as well as thinking about any special effects that might need to be programmed. Inevitably, everybody’s getting in each other’s way! The lighting tower is being used to hang the cloths but the lighting techs need it to move lamps. So we wait. Then the people hanging cloths can’t do that in the dark while we sort some lights. So they wait. Then somebody needs to put a coloured gel in a spotlight to get the effect we want. So we wait. There’s a lot of waiting. All of this means you never really get every scene plotted and you’ve got to leave the theatre because it’s 10 o’clock at night and all you’ve had to eat since lunchtime is a Wispa and some cheese and onion French Fries… So it moves into Tuesday.

Now Tuesday is when all the cast arrive; excited, enthusiastic and energetic. For about an hour. Then they realise they’ve been sat round doing nothing for quite a long time and all they’ve had to eat since lunchtime is a Lion bar and some Quavers. This is because the lighting has still needed to be finished from the day before so it’s put everything behind and nothing can happen on the stage because it keeps going dark. And people might fall off. Oh, and the musicians have arrived too and need power and cable and monitors and sound checks. But the guy you need to move the light is also the guy who’s plugging a keyboard in. So we wait. And then the guy who needs to amplify the drum kit has gone to find a different guy to move the light. So we’re still waiting. Eventually, you get on stage in time to maybe run a chorus number or two. Just to check nobody’s dancing in the wings or throwing themselves off the front of the stage like a lemming. Oh yes, and the pyrotechnics need testing so that a) nobody stands in the way of one and loses their eyebrows and b) nobody in the cast soils themselves when they realize how loud it is. Oh look, now it’s 10 o’clock again…

20141206_154858Wednesday Dress rehearsal. ‘We’re going to run it tonight like there’s an audience’ (which actually there sometimes is). Yeah right, course we are. Because the lighting cues don’t come in when they should so a whole scene happens in the dark. And the sound guy is not sure when to turn somebody’s microphone on or off so we don’t hear them sing their song on stage but we do hear them have a wee when they’re off stage. Maybe they’ll swear off stage too, just for good measure. And the thing that worked perfectly in a rehearsal room last week falls to pieces when the size and shape of the stage changes. And the costume you’ve not worn before means you can’t get up the stairs so your movement in a scene needs to change. And the dame keeps getting all her lines wrong so everything’s taking longer than it should. And all of the songs you knew in the rehearsal room are now the most alien, confusing songs in the world. And, and, and, and…oh yeah, and you’ve only had a tube of Smarties and a packet of beef Hula Hoops since lunchtime…

Thursday opening night…

Enjoy the show!!
Thank you Paul; a great little insight into the world of show week. We all know how long and frustrating the run up to the show can be, with things changing in the theatre and all the waiting around, but you can guarantee that everyone loves getting on stage and even with all the mishaps, the show will be great, as always!

From everyone at Encore Theatre Company we hope all our audiences enjoy the show as much as we do!


Meet our Choreographer

We asked our choreographer some questions so you could all get to know her a little better.942736_662745740408847_111748664_n

What is your name?
Bev Maher

What is your role and what does that involve?
I am the choreographer for etc. I make all levels of ability look good!

How long have you been involved with Encore Theatre Company?
Since I was in my teens so over 20 years.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From productions I’ve seen and worked on. If it’s a routine that has to depict everyday life, then I would use observation of people in that situation or similar situations. The lyrics play a huge part when plotting a routine. I have to consider the story they are telling and how I will enhance that story with some clever choreography.

What has been your favourite show with Encore and why?
From a choreography point it has to be Carousel without a doubt. It was a challenge to set the right mood for the ballet scene. A balance between beautiful, graceful dance moves that depict innocence and the telling of the story that was dark and passionate. I was my biggest headache before we started and is now one of my greatest achievements. From an acting point of view it has to be Anything Goes. I created the choreography and played Reno S
weeny, I loved this show it was great fun to do.

Do you create all of the dances for Encore?


Yes. I have a set of moves I like to use which the cast have mastered and they often pop up
in some form or another.

Which part of Sleeping Beauty are you most looking forward to?
I love the finale number. However, I love panto so it’s difficult to choose a moment.

Can you recall a particularly memorable stage event that you contributed to?
The death scene in Carousel. I had to work out the exact fall procedure from a standing position of a four foot high deck onto cushioned bags without hitting the wooden steps or missing the bags. I can’t ask an actor to do something if I’m not prepared to do it myself and I have to say this was actually a lot of fun. It was crucial it looked like Billy had killed himself without being too staged. Dale who played the Character Billy had to fall a certain way or the next scene didn’t work. I can say that the scene shocked the audience every night and the bruises I incurred were all worth it.

Which do you prefer? Working on a panto or the summer show and why?
They both have their challenges; Panto is more relaxed and is a lot of fun. However there are often more big dance routines to do. Whereas the main show challenges in that the routines often come out of the situation and have to look more natural in their design. This is time consuming but the finished article is always impressive.

What do you enjoy most about being part of Encore Theatre Company?
Its great fun. We always have such a laugh working on shows. There is a friendly atmosphere you just don’t get anywhere else.

10454983_978522512164500_4172694609558429366_oWhat else to you get up to when you’re not working in theatre?
I run my own theatre company http://www.companyatheatre.com/  I run skills classes and run two youth theatre companies and I have an adult theatre company(not musical) due to start early next year. I also teach drama in schools. So I’m kept very busy.

Can you name a best and worst moment during a show?
Best moment has to be the ballet scene in carousel working on this was just so much fun and worst when I myself as a young girl on stage mid performance star jumped with conviction into the air 11 times when everyone else jumped 10. I was always taught stand like you did it right and hope the audience think everyone else was wrong. In this case the rest of the casts slow shuddering shoulders trying to stave off laughter didn’t help my cause. That moment will stay with me forever! Ha.

Can you describe Sleeping Beauty in 3 words.
Hilarious, family entertainment.

Thank you to Bev Maher for her time and answering all of our questions!

Special Guest Interview

With only 3 Weeks till Show week, we have arranged a special guest interview with the one and only Fairy G!

887549_1192731877410228_66766909299875482_o (1)

What is your name? Do you have any nicknames?

I go by many names to many different people. Quite often, I like to maintain a sense of mystery and enigma by changing my name. For example, I once spent a very happy fortnight in Skegness going by the name of Primula Hoppenscotch. That’s when I met Alfred, but that’s another story for another time. My working name is obviously Fairy Godmother or Fairy G if you’re feeling a bit street. I find it cuts down on meaningless conversation as it gives people my name and what I do. That’s also where many of my nicknames come from – ‘G-Dog’, ‘Fezza G’ and ‘Ice G’ are all names people have used in the past. All of us fairies have real names but we have to change them when we become officially licensed wish-givers and do-gooders. My real name would be something I would only tell my husband so, if you really want to find out; you know what to do…

What does your social media/dating website bio say?

Well obviously you could find out for yourself if you head on over to twitter, @fairy_g64 and give me a follow. I like to give a bit of info without revealing too much, entice them in, less is more. As I always say, give them the cream, not the whole cow. I’m not sure why you think I would need a dating website profile thank you very much indeed but if, and it’s a big if, I did then I’d probably go with –

‘Size 10 body with a size 20 personality seeks rugged cowboy to wrangle her. Enjoys walks on the beach, real ale and overly competitive games of Boggle. Cockneys need not apply.’

Tell us something about your childhood


I’m not sure I want to go into my childhood too much, it’s not ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ To be honest, if you want a bit of info then come along to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Castleford Phoenix Theatre and I’ll tell you a bit then. It was a little bit strange as I grew up in a mixed household. My mother was half English and half French, which meant she only shaved under one armpit. Unfortunately, that was the arm she used to carry me under and so everybody thought I’d been born with a beehive hairdo.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Well, there are so many. I once nailed a whole box of Ferrero Rocher in one sitting. It was exciting while it lasted but then I was bed bound for a week. I also came up with the idea for microwave chips. You’re welcome world. I suppose many people would consider my work with Cinderella my greatest achievement but I’m not so sure. Ultimately, she was a bit simple so helping her ranks alongside teaching dogs not to run into doors – they’re better off but there’s no sense of satisfaction.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Large bag of cheesy Doritos, a litre of Liebfraumilch and ‘Magic Mike XXL’ on Blu-ray.

What is your current state of mind?

Right now, annoyed that I’m sat here typing these instead of having my weekly session at ‘Brown Envy’, the local tanning salon. For the most part, I’m quite a happy go lucky person, more than happy to help people out with a smile and a wink. I have my dark days but don’t we all? If you move my Pot Noodle, watch out – I’m a force to be reckoned with, all teeth and nails.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

Ooh, don’t get me started, you’ll have my mascara running. I mentioned Alfred earlier and I think it would have to be him. As I said, I was on holiday in Skegness when I met him. Our eyes met across the busy floor of a ‘Harry Ramsden’s’ and before I knew it, there he was, pinching my sauce from a tomato shaped squeezy. We had the most romantic time, walks across the beach, hours upon hours of tuppenny shovers and enough candy floss to fill a bath. As anybody who’s tackled a Calippo would know, nothing that good lasts forever though. Once the holiday was over, that was it. He disappeared back to his caravan in the Cotswolds and I went home on my own. Although we only had a short time together, he is definitely the greatest love of my life. Well, him or roast beef flavoured Monster Munch. Probably the Monster Munch.

What talentDame would you most like to have?

I’m not sure there’s a talent I want that I don’t already have – singing/dancing to a Broadway level, limitless magic powers and Extreme Hula Hoop champion 2012. An enviable triple threat, me.

What would be your dream holiday?

To quote my good friend Natalie Imbruglia, I’m torn. (We once had a cheeky Nandos in Withernsea. Nice lass.) On the one hand, I love a beach holiday. Pop my cossie on, a dip in the crystal blue sea, exotic food and a Jilly Cooper novel. Bliss. On the other hand, I do love Brid.

What is the meaning of life?

It’s a curious thing. Makes one man weep, makes another man sing. Oh, hang on a minute, that’s the power of love…

Don’t forget you can follow Fairy G on Twitter @fairy_g64

Supporting Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice

Encore Theatre Company have supported a number of charities over the last few years by donating 50% of monies raised each year from our Prize Draw and audience donations at our performances.

Charities are usually chosen from circumstances close to our members’ hearts with family members and friends in mind.

This year’s Charity:
Bluebell Wood Children’s HoBluebell Wood JPGspice

Bluebell Wood is one of only 53 children’s hospices in the UK. They care for over 200 children and young people in their hospice and in the community from across South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire, North Nottinghamshire and parts of North Lincolnshire.

Their highly specialist care team look after children and young people with a vast range of complex medical needs. They support the whole family on their life journey offering respite care, day care provision, community support, 24 hour urgent response and end of life treatment and care. Sibling support is also at the heart of their work; as well as counselling and bereavement services, hospice at home and befriending.

It costs over £3 million a year to provide this vital service to children, young people and their families, and they receive less than 10% government funding. In addition, they run 250 sessions a month for children and their families. These include play and music therapy, bereavement counselling, sibling support groups and a range of therapies.

Tel. 01909 517 360
Email: info@bluebellwood.org
Registered Charity No: 1076958

If you would like more information about this years chosen charity please visit their website at www.bluebellwood.org

We have arranged our ever popular fundraising prize draw again this year with some exciting prizes to be won


Luxury Christmas Hamper; Cash prize;
Tickets for the Theatre, Family days out, Children’s activities
and many other attractions;
Beauty treatments, Restaurant, Shopping vouchers; and many more …

If you are reading this and would like to donate a prize for the raffle, please contact us at etconline@live.co.uk before 1st December 2015

50% of all proceeds will be donated to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

Draw to take place on Saturday 5 December 2015

Promoter: Encore Theatre Company

c/o 11 Hazel Gardens, Townville, Castleford, West Yorkshire WF10 3RD (tel. 01977 301548)
Registered under the Gambling Act 2005, Small Society Lotteries Licence SL0113

Special guest interview

Here is a first!
The villain of our pantomime Maleficent the Magnificent (try saying that with your mouth full) has answered a few questions for us as an introduction to her appearance in the Panto.

What is your name? Do you have any nickn12194995_1192734487409967_1781054588852795319_oames?

Some pathetic specimen used to call me Malley, but I hate that name as much as I hate the person.

What does your social media/dating website bio say?

‘Abra-abra-cadabra. want to reach out and grab ya.’ On Tinder, with a couple of photos of me playing with my wand, that seems to work, the men come a flocking.

Tell us something about your childhood

I was abandoned as a small baby and raised by black cats. Perhaps this is why people think I’m a witch, I’m not, I AM A FAIRY! Hear me people, A FAIRY!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Why, becoming the greatest most powerful, most successful fairy that ever lived of course.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Perfecting happiness for me is when I successfully make other people really miserable! HAHAHHAHAHHA!


What is your current state of mind? 


Who or what is the greatest love of your life? 

LOVE! I’ve never been in love, i hate the word! But if I had to answer, well magic and of course, myself.

What talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to be able to teleport, more a power than talent. I’ve been working on a spell but still can’t get it right. I keep ending up in Castleford when I’ve requested Vegas, not sure why, if anyone can help me with that, I’d be much obliged.

What would be your dream holiday? 

Las Vegas, where I could cast my charms on the croupiers and win millions! HAHAHHAHAHAH! If only I could get there! Oh and I like to see the King too, I admire his dress sense as well as his voice.

What is your quote for life?12186269_1192733990743350_7998132191913631297_o

Eat like you love yourself,
Move like you love yourself,
Speak like you love yourself
Act like you love yourself

Can you see the running theme?

Thank you Maleficent for your interesting answers!

Come and see our pantomime and help us defeat the evil witch (oops sorry ‘Fairy’) Maleficent Thursday 3rd December and Friday 4th December @ 7.15pm
Saturday 5th December @ 1.30pm & 5.30pmsleeping beauty poster
Book your tickets here https://goo.gl/jVypJR