It has been a while since I last posted, and that is purely because I have been far too busy digging through old sets, props and costumes at The Courtyard’s archive store.
My reason for attending the building unit of productions past was also to have a nose at how the set is shaping up for our current show, The Jungle Book.
Firstly though, back to the old. Whilst our amazing set builder Carl Davies and Jules ploughed on with designing pollen stems and village huts, and Les and Jenks of technical fame got to grips with some tropical leaves, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and see some of the old fantastic costumes and set that have been saved from their last appearance on stage.
Walking in to the archive store I was met with lots of old set, including part of the ship from our most recent pantomime, Dick Whittington. I also saw Aladdin’s treasure chest buried among many tiger suits, and trucks and wheels and houses and wings a plenty.
The next room I uncovered was the room of all things hats and wigs and faces. Many model heads sat with tiara’s placed amongst a head of princess hair. Stetsons were sandwiched between sequinned turbans and Caribbean hats made purely of fruit. It really was fantastic to see. I even managed to swipe a rat’s tail, worn by none other than the 2012 panto baddy, King Rat for our circus workshops over Easter.
Once I was done trying on top hats and cane’s I decided to make my way upstairs and well, I HIT THE MOTHERLOAD. Yes I did. Because my friends, I found all the old costumes from pantos been and gone, as well as old costume bits and bobs recovered from The Courtyard’s community producing days. The rail that first caught my attention was the rail of old Dame’s outfits, because it is fair to say that these are really the most outrageous costumes ever worn on stage. I mean, it is perfectly normal to wear a dragon on your shoulder, and to also go on stage resembling a giant Battenburg when you are a Dame. And I have a photo to prove it!
I then found tonnes of mice outfits, mini matadors and lots of sparkly shiny princess dresses. All of my childish inhibitions came out in a tour de force as I examined red velvet ballgowns and Jasmine’s sequinned midriff tops and baggy trousers and thought about
sneaking some in my handbag to take home for the odd occasion that after a bad day I may need to dress like Rapunzel and let my hair down. But rest assured, I resisted.
In the other room I was dumbfounded by rails and rails of shoes. Yes SHOES ladies, and not just ordinary shoes either. Gold shoes, tap shoes. Sparkly sandals, ballet pumps. It was pretty much a walk in wardrobe or every woman’s dreams, just with more jazz. The amount of stuff we have in the store is very astounding, and for myself, as Courtyard Youth Theatre alumni, it was great to feel nostalgic and encounter things that allowed me to hark back to the days where I trod the boards and see that while they are no longer on the stage, they are not forgotten.
But now I must return to the exciting world of what is to come, and that being…The Jungle Book! Seeing the set was amazing, and I really started to feel the jungle vibes by looking at vibrant jungle flowers and the remains of old Indian temples with ornate patterns. The lush greens stood out. What fascinated me the most though, was how these crafted set designers could build an entire set from basic materials. It is extremely authentic, down to the very last leaf, and I will be very excited to see this on the stage amongst the very talented casts of children this Easter.
Don’t forget, the Jungle Book runs from 10 – 13 April, with performance times of 2pm and 7pm.