We left beautiful Salford on Wednesday and continued our tour with Dance Consortium and Companie Kafig to the next destination – Leicester.
Usually companies like Compagnie Käfig use coaches to get from one destination to the other. As on this tour there are only 15 people travelling, we had a lot of space to spread out in a bus and enjoy comfortable journey. However, before even leaving Salford, we had to face some challenges with coach driver. One of Heather’s top tip was to have a good sense of humour when things go wrong. It did not take long to realise that sometimes you can either cry or laugh at the situation you are stuck in. On this occasion, our coach driver got lost several times on our way to Leicester and caused us one hour’s delay. On the other hand, as mentioned in the first blog, being flexible is as important as having things planned.
There are days like this, when everything just goes wrong – while checking into the hotel we were told that one room has a sewage problem in one of our technician’s room… Although we think that it was simply overbooked. So in addition to our “wonderful” travel to Leicester we had to spend a lot of precious time solving this problem. However, at the end of the day it turned out just fine – they provided another room for François, our technician. Despite this misunderstanding, the hotel was very nice – we had an amazing view from the 7th floor and the best breakfast in the world! For those who do not know how touring works, the rooms were booked by the Dance Consortium months before this tour started, since planning well in advance is another important part of managing a tour. This is done to make sure that everything is fine when the company arrives at the hotel – everyone is happy with their rooms and checking-in does not take too much time.
After eventful morning we went to see Curve theatre, situated at centre of the Cultural Quarter. Once again we were left speechless. The theatre building is an amazing modern construction, with a unique layout and a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. It is a theatre like nowhere else – this is obvious while watching the get-in process. As the crew were setting up the stage, they had to remove a wall to bring all the technical equipment on the stage. After everything was set up, they put the wall back into its place. It was interesting to see how the crew had to adapt to the space – without the walls separating the backstage from the foyer, people were able to see the equipment and lights being brought in and installed on stage.
Our day was filled with managerial activities such as organising musicians’ rehearsing space to communication with front of house and so on. As future managers, we understand that contacts are very important so Heather introduced us to Curve’s executive producer Chris Stafford. He shared with us his story of how he got to the current place. Always being passionate about theatre and education, Chris started his career training to be an actor until he had a chance to work as an intern for BBC. One thing led to another and he found himself working at The Globe – famous Shakespeare’s theatre. After many years working there, Chris decided to leave. He pointed the fact that the most important thing is to find a place that you love… even if it is outside London. So now Chris is an executive producer at Curve and is very happy about how his career turned out to be. Also, as almost everyone we have met since we entered entertainment business, he agreed that contacts may, and probably will, pave your way to successful career. Interesting conversation and great Indian food – our evening was amazing and we went to bed very full and extremely happy.
Thursday was supposed to be a long but rewarding day – it was both the Inside Out Festival launch and Boxe Boxe performance on the same night. AND we had a chance to see what a real touring truck looks like! Paul, the driver, gave us a tour of his second home – the cabin. It was so cool that we started thinking about changing our careers’ path – who would not want to be in a place where you drive, have a fridge, bed and other cosy stuff at the same time!
Back to the business, Inside Out Festival is a new and ambitious festival that aims to promote local and regional talent. Throughout the festival Curve’s foyer became a place to enjoy street food and free entertainment as it brings the vibe of a summer fair into Curve. Designers were creating spectacular areas from the early morning and hard work paid off – it was absolutely amazing.
Compagnie Käfig’s performance was included in the festival with an Open Rehearsal in the afternoon. The rehearsals started at 2 PM sharp and the company put on a great show for the people in the audience. People seemed to be interested into watching the warm ups because it is not usual to see dancer preparing for the big show in the evening. Also, with this company, even the warm ups are amazing! It was a great opportunity to give the audience a feel for the show, and to introduce them informally to the company and their work.
In the evening, right before our own Boxe Boxe took over the main stage we attended the opening of the festival with a 35 minutes extract of Murmur – a breath taking and visually compelling new show created by the Curve’s associated artist Aakash Odedra. The audience received a warm welcome from Fiona Allan, chief executive of Curve, and Suba Das, associate director for community engagement. When Inside Out Festival was officially launched we got back to the main stage where people where already lining up to see magnificent Compagnie Käfig’s performance.
Boxe Boxe nailed it on the Curve’s stage. So far we can say that the show is a perfect marriage of different worlds – hip hop, dance and classical music. It is packed with action, movement and sprinkled with humour. Being so diverse and intense, it has something for everyone! No wonder that although the auditorium was smaller than in other venues, the warmth and the applause from the audience were once again overwhelming. After the show there was a Q&A session chaired by the Curve’s chief executive Fiona Alan. It was well received by the audience, who seemed that they could have continued asking questions well into the night if they could.
After the end of the show we moved to the Inside Out Park (a cosy stage within the Curve, specially created for the festival), for a glass of wine and a talk with the company and the Curve’s team. Not only that we enjoyed good wine, but also the artists performing that night were amazing! First, things were started by female soloist Rachel Ball who created amazing chilled atmosphere with a little bit of jazz. Then, when people, including us, were warm enough to move a little, The Simpletones, Leicester’s leading Barbershop Quarter, took over the stage and gave a nice ending to a really long but very rewarding day.