Today I started my summer internship with Leamington based theatre company, Heartbreak Productions. Nicci (Head of Marketing) and Maddy (Executive Director) were kind enough to invite me over to watch the first performance of Billionaire Boy, a family play based off of David Walliams’ popular children book of the same name.
Making my way through the glorious Jephson Gardens with the sun shining and flowers blooming, I didn’t know quite what to expect. It’s a beautiful place to put on a performance, I thought, but how exactly do they do it?
It’s a beautiful place to put on a performance, I thought, but how exactly do they do it?
‘Keep walking past The Aviary Café and you’ll see a lot of people assembling various things,’ Nicci explained to me on the phone, and sure enough by the time I reached the eatery I could hear the hustle and bustle of the on-site team dressing the stage, setting up cameras and the actors getting into character. Two large white gazebo’s sat on the grass with chairs-a-plenty under their cover, a square stage in the centre and a pop up refreshment stand to one side. So this is how they do it, I thought, already filled with enthusiasm and excitement.
Sarah, event coordinator for all Leamington performances, greeted me at the box office with a welcoming smile. She had me make shifting sign posts to drop around the gardens and send people in our direction. I asked her a lot of questions: so how long does it take to set up a performance? Where can people sit? How does the box office work? And she happily explained everything to me with warmth and tireless knowledge.
Hugs and handshaking was the theme of the evening as people ardently came over to introduce themselves to ‘the newby’. Jazz was a pleasure to meet, despite getting told off by his fellow actors for not introducing himself to me as Raj (his character name). Everyone was buzzing around executing the finer details – a sweet trolley equipped with oversized raspberry lollipops, a program in the form of a newspaper, and a throne made out of toilet rolls that people waited eagerly to have photos on. This summer I had hoped to get involved with a theatre company that had collaboration at its heart, and I knew immediately that I had found that in Heartbreak Productions.
This summer I had hoped to get involved with a theatre company that had collaboration at its heart, and I knew immediately that I had found that in Heartbreak Productions.
Soon, the audience started to arrive, equipped with rugs, chairs, and picnics. Some people ordered pizza deliveries – a genius idea. I stood on hand, helping people to find
the best spots and carrying bags for visitors who looked overloaded. Children ran around letting off steam before the show, adults popped open Prosecco, and then we all settled down to watch a lively and hysterical performance from the Heartbreak cast.
What struck me most on my first day was the incredible atmosphere surrounding Heartbreak Performances, the sense of excitement and creativity in the air. Despite one minor mishap (when the council locked the garden toilets before the interval) my first evening on-shift went swimmingly – and I had a blast. As the sun set over Leamington, I headed home beaming and I can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow with my new theatre family.
For more information about Heartbreak Productions, or to book tickets for their shows, head over to: https://www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk/