Administration Assistant, Grace Morgan blogs about her first experience of a Press Night at the opening of Barnum…
Having started as an apprentice in the Box office aged 16, I now find myself on the sixth floor of Birmingham Hippodrome as Administration Assistant. Looking back to when I first started, I now feel so lucky to be involved in many theatrical goings on which recently included attending my first ever press night…
Myself and Ben Wooldridge (who works in the theatre’s press office) loaded ourselves into the car with full lunch boxes to head down to Bristol Hippodrome for opening night of BARNUM (despite the satnav taking us the longest route possible). This was my first ever experience of a press night and I was really excited, the theatre was buzzing and there were lots of people arriving. We collected our tickets and joined the press reception.
When we found our seats in the stalls there was a sea of Jugglers who threw balls over the audience, acrobats climbed and tumbled over the seats and we were drawn in to the world of the circus. I was particulary amazed by the young acrobat who was in front of me doing a hand stand on the back of a chair!
From the moment it started I was glued to the performance from start to finish – the set, costumes and choreography were amazingly colourful, making the auditorium itself feel like a real circus with light bulbs draped from the ceiling and the circus ring coming right into the front row of the stalls. My favourite, yet most nail-biting, scene was when Brian Conley, who plays the role of Barnum, tried his hand at tight rope walking – my heart was in my mouth! It was so intense you could almost hear a penny drop. At the end of the performance the audience went wild with a full standing ovation.
Afterwards we were invited to the Piano bar where I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Harrison the co-producer (who also directs our panto’s and is producer of the hit musical The Bodyguard) and the lovely Kathryn Rooney (who has appeared in several of our big pantomime productions). The cast of Barnum also joined us and I was lucky enough to spot the star of the show Brian Conley and Sir Cameron Mackintosh who also co-produces the show – not bad for my first official press night!
Back when I started as an Apprentice I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have had the privilege of attending a glitzy press night – it was a fantastic evening and I can’t wait to see the show again when it arrives here next year.
For more information and tickets for Barnum click here.