IPH and the theatre
I have only once and briefly worked on the professional stage — as a backstage hand on properties, when English National Opera was in Manchester on tour in 1973 with The Merry Widow, Gloriana, and The Rhinegold — but over the years I did get involved a number of times with amateur theatre or operatic and musical theatre companies.
I played the bit-part of the Frog Footman in a primary school production of Alice in Wonderland at the age of about 9. I didn't tread the boards again for a decade. My secondary school mounted one or two theatrical productions during my years there, but I was never involved in any way.
My subsequent involvement with the stage includes:
- joining the Bristol University student operatic society in 1970, singing in the Chorus in Ivan IV by Georges Bizet and in Straszny Dwór by Stanislaw Moniuszko.
- Singing & acting in the chorus, and making props and special scenery items for the Manchester Opera Company (1972..4).
- Singing and dancing in the chorus (including being one of the singing dancing waiters — doing the title number, of course) in Hello Dolly at Richmond, with the production in the Theatre on the Green, in (I guess) spring 1975.
- In Reston, Virginia, USA in 1982, I rehearsed and was all set to appear in The Pyjama Game with Reston Community Players, but a few days before curtain up the company I was working for had a major crisis causing it to lay off more than half its entire workforce and I had to consult the producer. The show was to be performed during a number of weeks over the coming month or more, and I was unemployed and forced to return to England. To avoid upsetting the staging, I had to leave before it began and, as I was not a named character, the staging was altered simply to omit me altogether. That was sad as I had rehearsed all the numbers including the exotic Latin American moves with a young lady chorus member in Hernando’s Hideaway ...
- Making scenery and helping backstage for pantomime, taking the part of Othello in a performance of Act III of Shakespeare's play, and appearing in Old Time Music-Hall as chairman one year and singing various things (in one George Formby song, accompanying myself on the ukulele) in the years 1984..1987 for Headley Theatre Club in the village where I live.
- Singing & acting in a principal role, and making props and special scenery items for a number of operas, for Opera Omnibus 1984..94.
- Singing & acting in the men's chorus of Yeomen, in the Haslemere Players 1994 production of Gilbert & Sullivan's opera The Yeomen of the Guard.
- In the late 1990s recommending to Opera Omnibus that they should have a website, and creating their first complete website for them which I handed over and had no more to do with until February 2006, when I took over as webmaster after a period of the site being pretty neglected. By this time the company was known as Opera South; see its home page and the page about me as its webmaster.