Friday, 10 November 2017

Countryside Live, Milkshake! and keeping the Arts in Schools.

Panto has once again taken us into a new direction. Branching our knowledge and experience down different avenues. Down Stage Manager ‘Street’ if you will (ok, enough of the road analogies).
We had a stage manager sent down to help out with a wonderful new venture called Countryside Live….any guesses? Well unfortunately it wasn’t a country hoping extravaganza. But it was in this country, and more importantly, THE country. North Yorkshire to be exact. Countryside Live is an annual festival directed towards farmers, locals and their families.



We managed a show for our old friend, Channel 5’s Milkshake! Starring two Milkshake presenters plus the hugely popular Milkshake! Monkey, this high energy, fun packed show will feature an electric mix of Milkshake’s superb in-house produced music, including classic Milkshake tunes, well known children’s songs and some brand new ones! Is what the blurb says on Countryside live’s website. Even with the thunderous rain and actual electricity outside the shows went off with a bang. The team had four shows a day, all lasting 15 minutes. Fifteen long, hard and strenuous minutes. Similar to the show’s we stage managed at Drayton Manor theme park all those year’s ago. 
The event was mostly directed towards a great family atmosphere. Although the stage was positioned at the head of the hall, there were numerous craft tables leading towards the stage. All with their own unique style of drawing creativity out of children. From cooking, to leaf pressing, to candle making.  Milkshake! helped bring those families together for a wonderful fifteen minutes of live entertainment. 
Our role as stage manager was to help with logistics such as meeting the contact, liaising with sound and arrange the meet a greets afterwards. We took a much larger team on tour than usual, seven of us in total. All chauffeured up by yours truly.

It gave us an idea of larger scaled tours, albeit for three days. But the system is the same. More importantly, the children loved the shows. We’re almost coming to an end of our own bookings, as teams become fully booked up. Rehearsals will be next and teams will then be on the road. Entertaining around 200,000 children across the country. With five teams, 120 shows and spanning over two weeks, you could say we’re entering another busy period(!)


It is always great to see the impact of live theatre on children. How they lose their inhibitions and dance merrily away for their own entrainment. The entrance fee for Countryside Live was very reasonably priced. So those children got to experience the magical event for a minimal financial investment. We try to price our pantomimes as competitively as we can, so that children can experience that same magic. Magic that due to their surroundings or finances, may not have the privilege of experiencing again. Keeping the arts in schools is of upmost importance. 

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