Apparently there are around 200 cold viruses; I think I must be on about cold virus number 156 thanks to my dear son who very generously shares his school germs with me, particularly as the end of term approaches. So I’ve been laid low over the past 10 days feeling very sorry for myself. But in the same way I tell my sons to man-up and go to school because it is, after all, just a cold, I didn’t take any time off work. No southern softies in my house!

But I’m on the mend, thank you for asking, so now it’s time to play catch-up because there has been a huge amount going on these past few days and we have had rather a lot of visitors from across the pond. The Marine Theatre has had a thoroughly cosmopolitan, nay, international flavour with the extremely hairy and energetic Hayseed Dixie where it was standing room only and a full house. Everyone had a brilliant evening as they did their stuff to the sound of this Hillbilly band who created the hybrid musical genre Rockgrass.

Then this past week we had the Chamber Opera Chicago performing their incredibly lavish musical version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. To say this is a slick operation would be an understatement; the equipment and stage props arrived in a huge 12 ton lorry on the Tuesday. Now, as anyone in the know will tell you, the moment the school holidays start the roads and pavements of Lyme Regis become chocker-block with cars, coaches, bikes, push-chairs, pedestrians, dogs and every other possible moveable object. The car parks become a battle ground as people fight for the last space and Church Street traffic that is controlled by traffic lights because it is only one and a quarter car wide, becomes gridlocked as people jump the lights only to meet someone doing the same from the other end or with lorries and buses that become wedged in between another bus/lorry and the wall of one of the buildings. You would think the local bus drivers would know better.

Anyway, the point is, arriving in Lyme Regis mid afternoon in anything bigger than a kite is going to be a challenge, but with the help of the theatre technician Steve Miller, our American friends found somewhere to pull in so the crew could unload everything and carry it up to the theatre. Then within 24 hours, the stage was set and the projector ready to roll.

I didn’t watch the performance this year, I saw it last year and was completely bowled over by the experience and everyone has agreed we must add an Irish dancing performance to our programme schedule (yes, there is Irish dancing in this Persuasion!)

Then from Irish to Latin, we had our regular Salsa! group in on Tuesday night, Slimming World on Wednesday morning and A Strange New Space on Wednesday afternoon. With the grotty English summer weather, the audience increased three-fold with walk-ups and everyone loved the show.

We also hosted the Dorset Theatre Promoters Consortium (DTPC) workshop; normally it would have been Clemmie Reynolds who sat in but I was happy to take up the baton and talk about our shows past, present and future. This is an incredibly useful group who share ideas and stories of the shows that have performed at their venue. I’m looking forward to the next meeting when hopefully I will be able to sit still for longer than 5 minutes – there was rather a lot going on in the theatre that day!

We finished the week with a murder mystery with some very interesting improvised acting. Murder She Didn’t Write calls on the audience to create the story line and the actors have to think fast and come up with the dialogue and actions. It’s fast moving and hilarious, well worth watching.

Of course in between all this, it was the RNLI lifeboat week with masses going on along the seafront including the RAF Falcon Air Display, exhibitions and demonstrations.

This coming week we have an open-air performance of Pride and Prejudice Jazz in the Lounge with Philip Clouts and Pete Canter

So after a full-on two weeks whilst trying to keep my coughing and sneezing to myself, I reckon I’m man enough to tackle anything now, unless my son brings back cold virus 157…

A nasty case of end-of-term colds and then the Americans arrived
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