Ginny Davis: Restoration of Chedham's Yard
PUBLISHED: 16:01 26 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:57 20 February 2013
As she prepares to perform at Wellesbourne's restored Chedham's Yard, Ginny Davis ponders on the perils of 'alternative' venues.
Ginny Davis: Restoration of Chedhams Yard
As she prepares to perform at Wellesbournes restored Chedhams Yard, Ginny Davis ponders on the perils of alternative venues.
Chedhams Yard is Wellesbournes local celebrity. In 2006 it gained public attention by winning 1m in Restoration the ancient buildings equivalent of X Factor. As the date for the opening of this village time capsule approaches, events are being planned to raise its profile. The premiere of my latest show is included in the programme.
I wondered if the show would be at the Yard itself. This wouldnt be my first performance in a venue that could hardly be described as a theatre. In some locations it is easier said than done to take the audiences minds away from their immediate surroundings and into the world of the play.
Churches arent easy. The parish church in Broughton, Staffs has an ancient pulpit. I decided that it would be fun to make it to double as an upstairs room from which I would make my entrance, having crouched there, hidden as the audience assembled. Bad decision. Cramp. Cramp of the kind which is only relieved by ripping off shoes and socks and pressing your feet and toes up against the wall. Stuck in my lofty hide I could do nothing but grimace and shift about until able to make my entrance. Foolishly, I had not rehearsed the descent of the worn and uneven stone steps . This omission, added to incapacitating cramp caused me to miss the bottom one and stumble inelegantly on to the stage. Great start.
Marquees are good for weddings, not plays. With only a sheet of canvas between me and the outside world, our sounds change place. Sirens, ice cream van jingles, motorcycle engines and childrens voices invade the auditorium, quite overwhelming my own voice and sound effects.
Shakespeares classroom at King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, being timbered and wooden floored presents itself as an acoustic dream by comparison. But if the TV is on in the almshouses next door then we might as well all sit down, watch Eastenders and have done. And has anyone else noticed how many times the bell above chimes at 8 pm? Thirty, at least.
Distractions in a private house are well disguised. Picture a warm, sunny, fling-open-the-windows afternoon somewhere near Glasgow. It all started so well, a roomful of smiling neighbours entered my fictitious world ...and an inquisitive face appeared at the kitchen window - Enid, one of the owners chickens who stole the show as she hopped in and pecked around for a better seat. In Warwickshire, for chicken read dog. Slobber put his labrador nose round the sitting room door, padded in and meandered amongst the audience nuzzling up to guests and rolling on his back as they fussed over him and forgot about me. No really, I am an animal lover, but arent pets what gardens are for?
So, maybe Im relieved that my show isnt at Chedhams Yard. Whilst the visitor centre has thick walls, high windows and is off the main road, I happen to live quite close to it myself, and my son is a drummer.