But now it’s time for us to draw back the curtain and take to the stage once more!
In Autumn 2019, with the curtain coming down on Evita, we were all enjoying the thrill of packed houses and happy audiences. As usual, we started rehearsals for our next show, All Shook Up, almost immediately, with a cast chosen and musical numbers and dances to learn. Everything was going so well, and the first tickets had started to sell, when in March 2020 the world stood still.
We decided to postpone All Shook Up until October 2020, and although this was a tough decision to take, we felt we owed the caution to our members and audiences. Little did we know that October 2020 and April 2021 would go by, with still no sign of the theatre word re-opening.
But now, since July, we’ve finally got back to rehearsals. And it’s certainly different. We keeping our distance from one another more than we usually would – not so many hugs and kisses – but we’re singing again and that feels wonderful. We’re putting together a fabulous show and now all we need is an audience.
Of course, things won’t return to the old normal overnight. Our audience for All Shook Up will be socially-distanced and many will choose to wear masks. That makes sense at the moment, and hopefully by the time we present Made In Dagenham in April 2022, things will seem even more normal.
So, it’s time to recover from COVID, bit by bit. Time for us to take to the stage again, and hopefully for our audiences to return too. Tickets for All Shook Upare on sale now, so let’s hope our socially-distanced audience is a capacity one.
Top Hat, the stunning 2013 Olivier Award winner for ‘Best New Musical’ – Tue 23 to Sat 27 October 2018.
What can we say, except to thank all our audience for supporting us and making their appreciation so evident. The laughter was in all the right places, your applause was more than enthusiastic, and even your wolf whistles for Signor Beddini’s striptease were welcomed. We had a brilliant week, enjoying every minute of performing this show, and it’s so pleasing to know that our audience enjoyed it just as much.
To refresh your memory if you were able to join us, or to take a glimpse at what you missed, check out the gallery on our Flickr site here.
Every few months, we like to turn the spotlight on an AOS member and find out a little more about them. This time it’s John Wilkes.
What’s been your favourite AOS role and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of memorable parts. Gilbert & Sullivan roles are always a good romp, and I enjoyed Gaylord Ravenal in Showboat. For sauciness, the Emcee in Cabaret takes a lot of beating and Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes was great fun. But top billing probably goes to Oliver Warbucks in Annie – it’s a fulfilling part and the show is good fluffy fun.
What’s the best thing about being in a show?
Two things – the camaraderie of doing something with a great bunch of people. We’re all in it together and working to do the best we can for the audience. And that’s the second thing. I love the reaction of a live audience, and trying to please and entertain people who have made the effort to come and see us, rather than sitting on the sofa in front of the TV.
Are you aware of the audience when you’re on stage?
Gosh, yes! Performing would be a very flat experience without an audience reacting to what’s going on. I sometimes think the audience is half the performance. An audience is the very stuff of a live show and what makes it interactive and real.
How do you combat performance nerves?
Nerves are an essential part of performing, I think – they keep you on your toes. I don’t get nervous about the things I do, but about the things I might not do… like forgetting a move or a word, or to come on at all. I do look over my words and moves before going on to do a scene, just to get into the ‘zone’.
How do you feel when show week comes to an end?
I know a lot of people come down with a bump after the excitement of the week of the show, but actually I feel okay. I think that we’ve done our thing and now it’s time to move on to something new.