“How many people does it take to put on a West End musical?” That was the question posed by one of the national daily newspapers back in 1988.
At the time, I was at the Victoria Palace Theatre, where the delightful Lerner and Loewe musical BRIGADOON was settling into what would be year-long run. As a useful bit of publicity for the show the producer, Ronnie Lee organised for a photocall for every person working in the theatre to be captured in an onstage photo which would be taken after the midweek matinee.
The count in the photo isn’t entirely accurate – for evening performances there would be more front of house staff working, and I felt sorry that those with other nine-to-five jobs didn’t get a chance to participate. It is a very rare photo, and so I wanted to share it with you not only to recall a very happy production and excellent team, but also to remind us all of the many hundreds of thousands of hugely gifted theatre practitioners who are unable to work right now. Thank you for all your talent and I hope that we all get back to doing what we love again very soon.
So let’s just remind ourselves of all the brilliant people it takes to run a show.
FOR THE PRODUCTION (On and Off Stage)
Producer (and Assistant Producer(s))
Actors (stars, featured performers, chorus and supporting company)
Understudies, swings and covers
Musicians (Musical Director, musicians, fixer)
Script writer /Book writer (for musicals)
Stage Management team – Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, Deputy Stage Manager
Wardrobe Master/Mistress, wardrobe team
Hair and wigs team
Production team (Production Manager, Production Assistants, office team)
Set construction studios
Costume production team
Lighting hire companies
Sound hire companies
Rehearsal room hire companies
Fight/ stunt coordinators
Copyright holders / rights handlers
FOR THE THEATRE
Front of House staff (Chiefs of Staff, Assistants, bar staff, attendants, sales team, catering staff)
Box Office (Manager, deputy Manager, team of booking clerks)
Chief Electrician, Electrics stage team, follow spot operators, lighting board operative
Master Carpenter, stage hands team
Stage Door Keper
AND NOT FORGETTING….
Programme designers, writers, contributors, printers and distributors
Brochure designers, writers, contributors, printers and distributors
Show-related merchandise designers, manufacturers and suppliers
Event catering companies (Press Night, Gala Performances, Charity Events, etc)
Drinks suppliers and distributors
Office stationery suppliers
Ticketing supplies companies
Ice cream manufacturers
Ice suppliers to the bars
IT support teams
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL
READERS! Do let me know if I’ve forgotten anyone. If I have, my sincere apologies and I shall update this entry accordingly every so often.