Shooting Buns. 6th 7th July

Huddersfield and St Pancras Cruising Club

Aspley Basin

Mick has been doing a few boat jobs. He decided to check the fuel filters over, finding a bit of crud in the first and second ones. He replaced the second one and gave the first one a good clean out. A hunt through the lockers for a pipe we bought ages ago was successful. With this pipe you can dip your tank and it gives you a view of what lies down in the dark. The fuel looked just how it should, so no worries there.

An empty room

Back in Huddersfield Tuesday had me running all the overalls I’d tacked on Monday through the Directors sewing machine. Tacking was removed, excess fabric removed and edges finished off.

Makeshift wardrobe department

The second bubble of actors was in so I did three more fittings. Everyone on Monday had been a small or even smaller! Two of todays actors were the same, so they were fitted with ease. Then there was Toby, I knew he’d be at least an XL, but this only got so far. An XXL got further and Toby did manage to get the zip done up but it was all really quite tight fitting! Unless he lost some weight the seems would only hold for a certain amount of time. It would do for the photo shoot so I pinned the legs up.

Closed up for the day

By the end of the actors working day I only had one bit of hand sewing left to do which I could do back at the hotel. The studio was set up for a busy day on Wednesday.

Lynda, Penny and Amy

Back at the Dark Horse office I sat down with Amy (Director), Lynda (Producer) and Penny (Stage Manager, Technical and Digital person) for a meeting. This was my first face to face design meeting since the beginning of the pandemic. Not a computer screen in view, just a big table, open windows and Bento boxes from the restaurant down stairs. So lovely to be able to interact with people in one room again.

We talked lights on costumes, lights on the set, flooring, projection, colours. My prep work for the set had been worthwhile and a vague idea of what things were likely to cost meant we could be creative yet realistic at the same time. Penny and I were left with a list of things to pursue, I’ll do some technical drawings and get the set priced up in the next couple of weeks.

A full studio

Wednesday, an early start to get everyone’s outfits ironed and ready for the photo shoot. Two hair dressing stations were set up and we were all ready for the ensemble when they arrived. This is the first time the two bubbles have met up since March last year. Everyone was pleased to see each other even if it was at a distance. It was actually a good job that we were a couple of actors down as it gave us all a little bit more space.

At 11am the photographer arrived, set his big light up and I started to put people into costume. The ladies had their hair done, coloured extensions and braids added to their big space buns. Then the music was turned up and the photo shoot was started. Toby was shoe horned into his overall just before his photos, they were checked over, a few more taken then he could be released from the tight zip.

The amount of energy in that room! Between helping people get changed, sanitising hands I managed to get a few photos myself. Have to say my eyes welled up on a couple of occasions. Here we all were in one room, the thoughts that have cumulated over the last year of lockdowns, all the actors giving their best, the energy, dancing and smiles from everyone was electric. We were back doing what we do, only one thing missing, the audience to share it with.

Today photos were being taken for leading images for the show which will have a showing early next year. The costumes will change a bit between now and then and an XXXL overall will arrive in August for Toby.

Rebekah and Alice

The whole day had been scheduled for the photo shoot, but everything went so smoothly that we had finished by lunchtime. This gave me plenty of time to tidy up, make notes and sit around as my train back south wasn’t until 5:15pm. A very good three days work with a great theatre company.

My train back south took me through torrential rain, outside was darker than dark. Then within a ten minute window the clouds cleared and the sun came out. At the cruising club it was club night, the bar was open and a TV set was showing the match, benches were pulled up around the set overlooking the basin.

Evening at the basin

Mick was having a beer with several people and I joined for a glass of wine and a sociable chat as the sun was starting to dip.

The water tower

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 7 actors, 7 overalls, 1 tight squeeze, 672 lots of hand sanitiser, 90 minute photo shoot, 1 electric morning, 1 show just about designed, 4 bento boxes, 3 productive days, 2 filters cleaned, 2 pints 1 glass of wine at the water tower, 1 cat watching the football!