In the lead up to the opening night of A Taste Of Honey at The Marlowe Theatre on Tuesday 1st October, I was invited to the theatre early to have a backstage tour. A theatre fanatic since I was young, the idea of going backstage at a theatre was a dream come true, so I excitedly left my house early on opening night and headed for stage door at The Marlowe. Arranged by The National Theatre and The Marlowe, the tour started at 6:30pm and was provided by Antony (Company Manager) who has a breathtaking knowledge of the industry, the National Theatre and what it takes to put on a touring production.
On arrival at the theatre, Antony took me through the origins of the play and what to expect from the A Taste Of Honey performance later that evening. From entry at Stage Door, we headed straight out into the wings of the stage, just as the technical teams were finalising the lighting and sound for the performance.
Immediately I was drawn to the sheer distress of the set. A Taste Of Honey is a dark, thought-provoking piece of theatre and the majority of the production is set in an abandoned warehouse that the lead characters call home. From the filthy kitchen area to the heavily worn sofa, The National Theatre have done a great job in recreating Helen and Jo’s rundown accommodation. Walking to the front of the stage, Anthony pointed out that there would be a live band on stage throughout the performance. The wooden piano had been scratched and worn in order to keep in with the set.
The props are kept at the side of the stage in the lead up to a performance and I was able to see how the props team label all of the different items so that they make it onto stage at the correct time. For a 2 hour production, there were a large number of required props. From the old box of Lindt chocolates to the vintage tins, the props teams had gone out of their way to only choose items that would fit in 1950s England.
Next up was wardrobe and it was full of 50s-inspired clothing. Clothes racks were all labelled carefully and filled with dividers for each cast member. I love vintage style, so it was wonderful getting to see Helen’s dresses up close.
Hair and make up was empty when we reached this area of backstage, but the room had mirrors with lights and all of the hair and make up products were carefully laid out. Recreating the 1950s must have been such a fun job for the hair and make up team.
Before it was time to depart the theatre and take our seats, Anthony took me onto the stage one last time. Setting foot on the Marlowe stage was an amazing experience. Seeing the theatre empty like that made me realise how the 1200-seat theatre isn’t as daunting to performers as you’d expect. It seems so much smaller when you’re facing the audience from the stage.
I’m really grateful for the opportunity to go backstage at the Marlowe with The National Theatre. I learnt so much about the theatre industry and what it takes to put on a touring production. A Taste Of Honey is playing at The Marlowe Theatre until Saturday, so make sure you grab your tickets before it’s too late. Check out my full review of A Taste Of Honey if you want to know more.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx