Film stars, rock stars, jazz stars and one of the most famous London clubs on the circuit. What an incredible week it has been!

My week kicked off with a visit from one of our wonderful patrons; a man who starred in Game of Thrones, Star Wars and very recently Troilus and Cressida (which we had not long screened as part of our NTL season). There was something very surreal chatting about grass cuttings and rain water erupting from Lyme Regis roads with Oliver Ford Davies, one of the UK’s greatest actors who had battled against Storm Diana to walk up to the Marine Theatre from the clock tower car park just to say hello and see how things were going. We also chatted about the community play, Monmouth, we had produced in 2017 that he had been involved in with our then programmer Clemmie Reynolds. He went on to tell me he was down for a few days to sort out his garden and a few jobs in the house. Such a nice man and a privilege to have him as one of our patrons.

Ian Gillan of Deep Purple popped his head in the door

Then a couple of days later Ian Gillan of Deep Purple popped his head in the door, quite literally, he stood leaning against the office door like it was an everyday occurrence to shoot the breeze with us, admiring the view from our office window as Storm Diana continued to thrash the Jurassic coast creating mountainous seas that exploded spectacularly over the Cobb.

But then that’s what makes our patrons so super-special, they can be hobnobbing with Hollywood A-listers one day then talking to us about the weather in Lyme Regis the next whilst all the time supporting us and reminding everyone just how important the Marine is.

I wondered what on earth it was lying on the stage

When I arrived at the theatre one morning, I wondered what on earth it was lying on the stage glowing away in the darkness; it looked like a group of giant glow worms. Then I remembered there had been a performance of Paines Plough ‘Pop Music‘ the night before and they had obviously left their orange glow sticks behind. You never know just what you will find after some of our performances!

My week ended with a trip to the capital. I didn’t go on my usual annual trip this year so I was looking forward to it but I hadn’t figured on Storm Diana; after a number of cancelled trains, delays, getting trains one way and then the other, we eventually arrived at our Air BnB around 7pm. I planned a quick wash and brush-up before heading out, however I hadn’t reckoned on the broken bathroom door lock. There’s something mildly distressing about being imprisoned in a windowless unfamiliar bathroom, despite your colleagues being on the other side of the door trying to wriggle the lock free. Fortunately they eventually managed to do it and it was soon very obvious other people had been caught out if the wrecked screw head was anything to go by. In the morning I found a note hidden under some magazines warning guests not to lock the door!

I imagined what it would have been like in its heyday with cigarette smoke filled air

Anyway, bathroom dramas aside, we visited the iconic 1950s London Soho jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s where we listened to Pee Wee Ellis playing the sax and singing a few songs. I imagined what it would have been like in its heyday with cigarette smoke filled air, gangster style suited men with Marilyn Monroe-esque ladies wiggling their way round. It seemed quite tame to me with everyone sitting very obediently at their tables and as it turned out, you were not even allowed to take pictures with your phone.

By the time we had visited a pub that John Puckey in marketing recommended, the French House, it was getting pretty late so we headed back to our rooms.

with its proscenium Luttelton Theatre

The next day it was time to head over to the National Theatre for their exhibitors’ day. What an incredible place that is with its proscenium Lyttelton Theatre that allows everyone to have a perfect view of the stage. We went behind the scenes to see how they create stage sets and met many of the people who we know only via email.

The journey home was thankfully uneventful compared with just 24 hours before, I wondered who might be staying in the Air BnB and if they were knocking loudly on the bathroom door waiting to be let out, I just hope their friends hadn’t gone out ahead of them oblivious to their plight!

Oliver Ford Davies, Ian Gillan, the National Theatre and a trip to London where I got stuck in the bathroom

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