A Dancer in Macau, part 2

July 20, 2010 at 10:54 am (Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Here’s Hannah‘s final report from the international tour…

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Friday in Macau

We had class today at 12.30 – 13.45, then straight into the tech at 14.00- 17.00 with the Orchestra here in Macau. Time for a quick swim after early breakfast, a dip in the pool is a really great way to start a day! The tech went really well and the Orchestra sounded great, I keep my ear’s open as it’s only human nature to go on auto pilot after hearing the recording for a week or so. A live orchestra really does give a show that extra lift and edge of excitement. The show was a success and people of Macau relished the chance to scream ‘yes’ to believing in fairies. Room service at the hotel for me after the show and then bed ASAP, starting to feel like the end of the season!

Ayana and Christie

Ayana and Christie

Julie at the mirrors, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

Julie at the mirrors, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

The Stars...

The Stars...

Saturday the last day

The rain is beating down at quite a rate but I think we will be typhoon-free or at least if it could hold off till we take our flights home tomorrow that would be great. Tonight is David Ward’s last show with the Company and a chance for us all to say farewell to him before he departs for a new adventure in Ballet Met, Ohio, USA. We also say a fond farewell to Georgina Gabbie (Doll) who is leaving us to tour with Evita. David and Georgina will be very much missed.

We had class with Dan today at 11.30 and then double duty with performances at 14.30 and 19.30. In between the shows I took the 4 minute walk back to the hotel to get on top of my luggage, literally! Some people went for a last afternoon dip in the pool.

Show went really well tonight, extra excitement as so many of the dancers will be on their way home tomorrow to see family they haven’t seen for up to a year. I am sure there will be much celebration this evening!

The auditorium at Macau Cultural Centre

The auditorium at Macau Cultural Centre

The Darling nursery all set for the final show

The Darling nursery all set for the final show

Loads of room backstage, the pirate ship can be laid our flat

Loads of room backstage, the pirate ship can be laid our flat

Ash putting his priate belly to good use as an iPhone stand!

Ash putting his priate belly to good use as an iPhone stand!

Sunday, home time!

We left at 9.30am from the Grand Lapa, which we have all enjoyed calling home for the last five days. We are off to all four corners of the globe as we also start our summer break today: Japan, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and so on.

I have really enjoyed this overseas summer tour and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our fab techies, our great physio, Adam, who goes out of his way to make sure all of us are fit, well and happy. The ballet staff, music staff, wardrobe and Doll. But also my fellow dancers who I am always honoured to share a stage with. Every department has pulled together as only NBT can and have really pulled off eight wonderful shows to be proud of

I asked around and highlights of this tour have been the pool (!), the amazing audiences in HK and Macau, spending time together, all touring departments, the Cirque [de Soleil] show and getting to dance aboard. It has been a long season from August last year to now. We started with Dracula and have ended with Peter Pan. We had a crazy busy but awesome Christmas season with the Alumni Christmas Carol and the highlight that was the Gala. I feel privileged to do this job and I am well aware I couldn’t do it if NBT didn’t have the support of all our friends and audiences. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

First things we will be doing when we get home, having a cup of tea! Being reunited with family and pets who include Kitri and Basilio the Yorkshire Terriers in France and Coco the Boxer in Italy. I am off to Koh Samui, and then back to Yorkshire to rescue my garden! Till next time, it’s good bye to HK and Macau and hello holidays!!!

Good bye from all of us and see you in September! (Vicky, Christie and Micky)

Good bye from all of us and see you in September! (Vicky, Christie and Micky)

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A Dancer in Macau

July 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm (Artist's News, Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Following on from her journal about Hong Kong, Hannah tells is about taking Peter Pan to Macau…

Monday: on to Macau

At 11.45 we met at the foyer of the YMCA Hong Kong for a 12.00 on-the-dot leave to the ferry terminal. We put our cases into what looked like a Chinese bin lorry and then onto an air conditioned coach. Not too far to drive and everyone is double checking they have everything they need and are all organised. We were all hoping for a quick, smooth journey over to Macua, as the sooner we got there, the sooner we could start the ‘day off’. A bizarre check-in period: we were ushered in groups of ten from one official to another until we got to the seating area and were abruptly told to, ‘sit, wait’! It was slightly painful as we loaded all 60 plus of us into a lift, 5 at a time, to the ferry terminal area but we got to the boarding area eventually!

WAITING, things happen slowly in China and you just have to give in to it !

WAITING, things happen slowly in China and you just have to give in to it !

A few of us have slightly delicate stomachs but travel sickness tablets are very reliable and we have travel bands on too. All ready for the 60 min crossing to Macau, or Mini Vegas as it is nicknamed.

All seated and ready for (fingers crossed) a smooth ferry ride, on the TurboJet

All seated and ready for (fingers crossed) a smooth ferry ride, on the TurboJet

Giuliano & Yoshi

Giuliano & Yoshi

So our 1hr 30min journey turned into a 5hr journey door-to-door. By the time we got to our rooms we were all feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, very hot and uncomfortable. Time for a shower to cool off and calm down. So as we waited for our luggage to arrive at to our hotel rooms we went to explore the hotel and all was forgiven when we found this…

The Pool!

The Pool!

We raced back to our rooms. Yippee! A tropical pool !!! Gleeful smiles on all our faces and the journey was forgotten!

Yoshi prepares for the pool

Yoshi prepares for the pool

A very kind man named Victor, one of the wonderful staff at the Grand Lapa, helped a few of us book tickets and travel to the Venetian over on Taipei to see Zaia a Cirque du Soliel. It started at 8pm and we left our hotel and pool at 7pm. There are free shuttle services between most of the main casino’s 24hr a day, yet more evidence of just how much money the casinos actually make. The show was out of this world as Cirque shows always are. Just think of what ballet could do with half a cirque budget! Oh to dream. On Monday night we all slept very well indeed!

Orchids in the foyer at the Grand Lapa, makes mine at home look pretty sad!

Orchids in the foyer at the Grand Lapa, makes mine at home look pretty sad!

Ready for the Cirque du Soleil show

Ready for the Cirque du Soleil show

Grand canal inside the Ventian Resort and Hotel

Grand canal inside the Ventian Resort and Hotel

Tuesday: our long-awaited day off

Most of us took advantage of a lie in and just made it for breakfast, which had something to suit all of our many nationalities. Then straight back to the pool for us all. The techies didn’t start till 2pm assuming their containers arrived on time.

The atmosphere at the pool was great. There were hardly any other guests and NBT had taken over in the best possible way. We all got to spend some quality time together and after five excellent shows in Hong Kong we felt like we deserved some time out. As dancers seem to always do, there was a lot of practicing of lifts in the water, a great place to practice with the only worry being water up the nose!

Ash, John and David were practicing propelling Thomas into the air to see how far they could throw him to allow him enough time to do multiple somersaults! The techies helped out too and also scored the highest out of 10 for their efforts. We all started to have ago on this kind of human trampoline. My first attempt was rubbish as was attempt #2. Determined not to be the worst one I gave it one last shot. Apparently it was a very, very good somersault but I was somewhat distracted with a slight wardrobe malfunction! Let’s just say a bikini isn’t the best attire to somersault in! I did get 10 out of 10, even if the crowd had gotten more than they bargained for! Good job we are all good friends!!

NBT Girls 'work it' at the pool, sorry all those left at West Park!

NBT Girls 'work it' at the pool, sorry all those left at West Park! (We'll get you back - Ed)

All at the pool side

All at the pool side

Yoshi prepares for Swan Lake in September!

Yoshi prepares for Swan Lake in September!

At 1.30pm David, Kenny and Micky had to drag themselves away to a press conference. This was a great experience for the Peter, Hook and Tink. All the Macau media were there and it was televised in mainland China, and Macau in English, Chinese, Mandarin and Portuguese! It lasted well over an hour and after the three of them where all talked out!

In the afternoon we took a slow walk in the heat around the MGM Grand and theatre. Some went to see Usher performing at the Ventian. Early to bed for me though, Mr. Nixon for class tomorrow morning!

The Theatre, Macau Cultural Centre

The Theatre, Macau Cultural Centre

Poster outside the Theatre, this is also the stage door

Poster outside the Theatre, this is also the stage door

Wednesday: Just class today

Mr Nixon for class at 10 till 11.30 today and then the rest of the day off. Full day for our techies and the local crew. They are finding the heat insufferable, I can’t imagine how horrid it must be to load in a show in humidity, I find it hard enough to pull my own body around let alone a load of set and lights, stage-weights etc.

Class with Mr Nixon was awesome, really got us stretched out and ready. He can be very inspiring as can Yoko. It’s great to always be encouraged to improve and hone our technique rather than just go through the motions of class.

The theatre seems great: large and very clean. They don’t quite have the individualism of our theatres back home but they do the job very well. More of a look around in the afternoon, and I treat myself to a Thai massage, heaven indeed! Salsa night at the MGM Lion bar, you don’t have to ask dancers to do this more than once. Then off to bed, not too late, tech tomorrow.

This was a gift from Mainland China to Macau

This was a gift from Mainland China to Macau

The MGM Lion

The MGM Lion

View over to Taipei

View over to Taipei

Thursday: Class and a Tech

Class at 1.30, so time for a morning swim. Then class with Yoko, excellent. David felt like we had all been doing really well and there was no need for a separate flying rehearsal, so thank you all the Peter’s and Darling children! We moved on through the day and completed the tech by 5.50pm. We all got to finish early and had the evening off. Lots of people took advantage of the free Wifi at the theatre and sent messages home.

Three shows to go. We stopped of at the Sofitel Hotel as they had a really good Micheal Jackson exhibition on and then off to bed. It’s business as usual tomorrow: technical rehearsal with the Macau orchestra and then our first show in Macau.

By the way today we were issued with a level 1 typhoon warning! Umm … should I be worried?

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Learning & Access in Hong Kong – Day 3

July 13, 2010 at 11:03 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning, Overseas Tour) (, , , )


Groups session with participants moving around the room and dancing with balloons

Photo: Jo Dean

Participants reaching for the sky and stretching their warmed-up muscles

Photo: Jo Dean

The third and final day of the Learning project with the British Council and the Providence Centre of Rehab in Hong Kong has been and gone, and the feedback from the participants has been fantastic.   Today saw the dance artists and care workers delivering their own activities during a workshop with centre members who suffer from learning difficulties, putting into practice the skills they have learned this week.

In small groups, they planned a movement activity for a warm up, and suggested ways to develop this idea.  All of the groups did remarkably well, having had little or no experience of delivering movement activities before.  One of the groups of care workers used props to initiate movements, and then developed this by asking members of the group to order the movements into sequences.  The care workers and dance artists felt a real sense of achievement and confidence in leading a session and seeing their planned ideas working successfully with the members.  After the workshop session the care workers and dance artists spoke about the positive effects of movement for the centre members and about how activities for the whole group can work on different levels according to what each participant can achieve.

Over the three days of the project we have been able to see the confidence of the centre members grow as they were given the freedom to lead movement and as they connected with their care workers on a different level.  The workshops were a real buzz of energy and excitement, and the Rehab Centre are looking forward to developing movement sessions into their daily programme of activities, with the care workers inspired and enthusiastic to try out their new ideas.

Working together to develop social, coordination and other skills

Photo: Jo Dean

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A Dancer in Hong Kong

July 12, 2010 at 11:36 am (Artist's News, Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

First Soloist, Hannah Bateman, tells us about the tour to Hong Kong from a dancer’s perspective…

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So off to Hong Kong we go!

We’ve never finished a touring season abroad, when we have done overseas tours before they have been at the beginning of a season. So after a touring stretch from February till now with a total of six ballets within that time, we were all feeling the end of season blues but the excitement of a trip abroad filled us with some much needed energy.

I chose to do a mad dash drive down to my sister’s house on Monday night after a final run through at West Park in the day as my stomach prefers not to travel by coach! But the rest of the Company headed off, guide books in hand, at 12 noon on Tuesday. It was going to be a long journey as the arrival time meant we were due in to Hong Kong on Wednesday at 15.30. I met my fellow travellers at Heathrow at about 16.45 and so it really began.

I hate group check-ins, but they are a big part of the experience so you just have to sit back and relinquish control (not a strong point of mine!) After check in, the big wait and for me especially the big temptation! I really don’t need any more perfume, make-up, etc just because it is discounted, stay away. This time however I was really pushed to my limit as there is a Mulberry shop at terminal 3, lucky my credit card is wrapped in cling film. It really is just for emergencies!!!

Kenneth & Yoshihsa diligently guarding the bags

Kenneth & Yoshihsa diligently guarding the bags

Time flies in Terminal 3

Time flies in Terminal 3

The newlyweds, Mr & Mrs Goldsmith

The newlyweds, Mr & Mrs Goldsmith

Julie, Michela, Jeremy, Sebastian and Yoshihisa

Julie, Michela, Jeremy, Sebastian and Yoshihisa

We arrived in good time and even though the flight was very long and uncomfortable you are restored with a temporary burst of enthusiasm as you ride from the airport to the hotel.

Welcome to Hong Kong

Welcome to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a strange metropolitan jungle, a mix of Japan and New York on the sea front. It is so over-developed, perhaps we were never meant to adopt this island as a business hub but somehow someone has squished a load of high-rise everything on to it.

Hong Kong land reclamation and development

Hong Kong land reclamation and development

A quick story from the plane

The main aim of a long haul flight is to try and stop the swelling! I have had long haul flights before where my feet have swollen so much that I cannot get my pointe shoes on the next day, so every dancer adopts their own way of handling this. Kenny purchased some rather flashy state of the art tights by Skins, compression wear and this worked out really well for him, I had flight socks (I won’t bother next time!) Some drink loads of water before the flight and take Paracetamol. Georgina was determined to find somewhere to lie down, good luck to her I thought! Well, half way through the flight, it was like everyone everywhere was asleep and as I looked around with green envy I realised Georgina wasn’t in her seat. Great, I thought, I can go and find her and we can trade magazines as planned and have a chat and a cup of tea by the fire exit. I looked around the plane three times! She was nowhere to be seen. I had horrid thoughts of her being stolen like in ‘Flight Plan’.

Where was she? Lori, who she was sat on Georgina’s row was squished on her seat, the third of their line was fast asleep in a labour-like pose. One leg resting on the back of the seat and the other resting on the food trays! As Lori woke I dashed to her and in a frantic whisper asked, “Have you seen Georgie? I can’t find her anywhere!”

At that exact moment a head popped up between the food trays and Ben’s right leg and a sleepy voice said, “that was great a got 3 good hours sleep.” Georgina had slipped under the trays and the three chairs and had made herself a pretty good make shift bed with plane blanket and pillow. Swelling averted! Well done Georgie!

We attempted to stay awake for as long as possible on Wednesday to get on Hong Kong time so we all went off to explore our new city and most were in bed by 10pm.

Thursday

Our first day in the theatre, a morning of sight-seeing, late class at 17.30 and the first tech.

The humidity is a killer; we drank loads of water and walked very slowly. Note to self, don’t bother moisturising in the morning as you just end up sweating it out and, quite frankly, it becomes a waste of money (there are air conditioned walk-ways but we haven’t found them yet!)

We looked around a couple of shopping centres, the Botanical Gardens, Zoo and we managed to stop for lunch inside the IFC building at Pret-A-Manger of all places.

Jeremy, Thomas and Kenneth relaxing in the Gardens

Jeremy, Thomas and Kenneth relaxing in the Gardens

Ashley in his Temple on Hong Kong island

Ashley in his Temple on Hong Kong island

High-rise in Hong Kong

High-rise in Hong Kong

By the time we made it up the steep winding hill to the Gardens we were greeted by a small shop where we quickly purchased water and Christie & I purchased a very natty fan each! We wanted to get out there and see what Hong Kong has to offer, but I was still feeling the effects of the flight and the thought of class and a tech is in the back of my mind.

Dance Class in the theatre

Warming down & stretching after a humid class

Class was with Dan, and he was very kind to us as we slowly worked out all our lumps and bumps. The tech was with Ayana and Jeremy’s cast and went very smoothly indeed. The crew here seem to be fab and with our great crew, they all make a very slick team.

The theatre is huge and very well kept. Georgina and I have a lovely dressing room together and had a chuckle over the fact that on every light switch and door handle it tells you, in a laminated sticker, just how many times a day it has and will be disinfected. Good to know!!!

Found a great place for a quick dinner after the tech and then to bed, still not quite on Hong Kong time.

View from TST (Tsim Sha Tsui), a major Hong Kong tourist hub by the theatre

View from TST (Tsim Sha Tsui), a major Hong Kong tourist hub by the theatre

View of the harbour from TST

View of the harbour from TST

Another vire of the harbour from TST by the theatre

Another vire of the harbour from TST by the theatre

Crossing the Hong Kong harbour

Crossing the Hong Kong harbour

Friday, seems like a regular day on tour. The Boss (Mr Nixon) and Yoko joined us today, it is always great to have them with us; the team is complete!

I had a look round the Cultural Centre and the hype for the show is great; the shows are nearly 100% sold and we are headlining the festival out here so fingers crossed we can impress the Hong Kong audience. A good tech and a good first show, a couple of bumps in places, but nothing the audience would notice (I hope).

Pippa and David lead the Company and I must say I always watch the first time Wendy flys, it’s magical. I sneaked a look at the audience through a gap in the wing and the first row was nearly all little children, every one of their beautiful faces lit up with excitement. They really love this show wherever we take it in the world.

Our techie’s really are fab, as are the Hong Kong crew, it’s all going rather well and audience response was great especially when asked, “Do you believe in fairies?” Well I am glad to report the people of Hong Kong certainly do!

Hong Kong Ballet banners

Hong Kong Ballet banners

The exhibition banners telling the story of Peter Pan

The exhibition banners telling the story of Peter Pan

Welcome to the Land of Dreams at the Cultural Centre

Welcome to the Land of Dreams at the Cultural Centre

Pride of place, the Peter Pan banner in the Cultural Centre

Pride of place, the Peter Pan banner in the Cultural Centre

Saturday, double-show day.

15.30 and 19.30. Emergency rehearsal today for Ben as he is on today for Peter in place of Jeremy as he is really very unwell. (First time to China, it has happened to us all.) Jeremy’s Dad lives in Hong Kong so he is able to take care of him, which is just what you need when you are so far from home.

Get well soon Jez!

Ben did really well as did Ayana, who’s parents came over from Japan to see her dance.

David and Pippa again in the evening and another great and very smooth show, apparent from a rebellious young boy who shouted “NOOOOOOOO!” to the famous do you believe question – much to the audience’s hilarity. David handled it very well and Tinkerbell made a full recovery!

After the show straight back to the hotel for a movie and then bed. Boring but needed, mind you today I felt myself again, definitely fully on Hong Kong time now!

Sunday, double duty again!

11.30 and 15.30 shows this time. Wow, did it feel early to be in for class at 9.30. Oh well on with the show. The buzz of the audience was excellent all day and well worth the early morning wake up call.

This is mainly a festival for families and outside the theatre there have been mini-shows by local children on an open air stage, so passers-by can grab a seat and be entertained in the Hong Kong heat.

In between the shows and from my window near the dressing rooms I have seen some Chinese opera, ballroom and Latin American dancing kids, sing-a-long sessions with a very enthusiastic young Asian man and also a homage to Michael Jackson and some bizarre hip hop. All very good fun and totally entertaining from my air conditioned viewing gallery!

After the shows were done I got to catch up with my cousin who lives and works in Hong Kong and we took in the sights from the peak! This is where you get a fantastic view over Hong Kong Island and you can shop yet more in the centre perched on the top of this huge peak. We had a lovely dinner and a slightly uncomfortable journey back down the twisty alp-like road to the bottom.

Star Ferry trip across the harbour

Star Ferry trip across the harbour

Beautiful skies over Hong Kong

Beautiful skies over Hong Kong

The star ferry back to TST and then very much time for bed. Packing in the morning and then off to Macau for us all!

There's no place like home...

There's no place like home...

It's Bruce Tindall! Or Kenneth Lee?

It's Bruce Tindall! Or Kenneth Lee?

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International Arts Carnival Opening Evening

July 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour)

WebNewsWire have posted a release about the opening of the Hong Kong International Arts Carnival, an arts festival which features over 370 events for family enjoyment.

Northern Ballet Theatre helped open the festival with a performance of Peter Pan in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre in front of a full house. There are four more performances over the weekend before the Company decamp to Macau.

Read more about the Opening night of the Hong Kong International Arts Carnival.

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Learning and Access in China – Day 2

July 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning, Overseas Tour) (, )

Participants taking part in the Learning workshopsIts day two of the Learning project with the British Council and the Providence Centre of Rehab in Hong Kong.

This morning we examined the structure of a “workshop”, from warm up to exploration of movement, development of ideas through to the conclusion. Activities focused on how to vary speed levels and the use of canon and unison to develop simple movements into a short sequence. Care workers and dance artists used gestures to represent physical movement, and working in pairs, developed a short sequence of movement.

When the members of the centre joined the group this afternoon, Caroline and Dylan led the same activities as in the morning, to show how the theory of what they learnt in the morning was applied in the context of an actual session. This gave the centre members an opportunity to make decisions and create a movement sequence of their choosing, allowing them to explore their own creativity.

Participants jumping for the joy of dance in the workshops

The dance artists and care workers also worked together in groups to plan an activity for tomorrow’s session, where they will deliver parts of a workshop with the member with learning difficulties, putting into practice what they have been learning over the last two days.

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Preparations in Hong Kong (Updated)

July 9, 2010 at 8:04 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

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Things are progressing well with preparations for the opening tonight with 97% of seats for our performances booked, which is amazing!

It is incredibly humid in Hong Kong but we are enjoying our time here. Tomorrow we start a busy schedule: a dress rehearsal followed by the official opening of the Festival, followed by our opening performance. We then have 2 shows on Saturday and 2 on Sunday so not much free time. We also have an event for our sponsors, Marketing Leeds, on Saturday night.

Update…

The Technical Rehearsal went extremely well this afternoon with the production looking the best it ever has. The large stage and auditorium lend themselves perfectly to the scale of the production. This evening we have an event to mark the official opening of the festival. David, Daniel, Steve and I will be attending with some of the dancers. It remains hot and humid with threatening skies but so far no rain!

Mark Skipper,  Chief Executive –  Northern Ballet Theatre

The awe-inspiring cityscape from across Hong Kong harbour

The awe-inspiring cityscape from across Hong Kong harbour

View of the Darling's bedroom from the auditorium

View of the Darling's bedroom from the auditorium

The magnificently decorated foyer of Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre

The magnificently decorated foyer of Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre

Technical Rehearsal - On the Jolly Roger

Technical Rehearsal - On the Jolly Roger

Technical Rehearsal - In the Forest

Technical Rehearsal - In the Forest

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Pictures from Hong Kong

July 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour, Stage, Tour News) (, , , , , )

The Company are currently in Hong Kong to perform Peter Pan as part of the opening programme of the International Arts Carnival at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

Here are a few pictures they’ve sent back of the stage as they prepare for the performance alongside images from the Peter Pan’s Land of Dreams exhibition which is also a part of the carnival…

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Further information about Peter Pan’s tour to Hong Kong and Macau.

Hong Kong Cityscape as viewed from the stage door

Hong Kong Cityscape as viewed from the stage door


Container truck containing the set and rigging for Peter Pan reversed into the unusually shaped opening at Hong Kong Grand Theatre

Container truck containing the set and rigging for Peter Pan reversed into the unusually shaped opening at Hong Kong Grand Theatre


Cargo crates of the Peter Pan set being unpacked on stage

Cargo crates of the Peter Pan set being unpacked on stage


Information on the production on display as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition

Information on the production on display as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition


Part of the Peter Pan set (Wendy's Bedroom) as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition

Part of the Peter Pan set (Wendy's Bedroom) as part of the Peter Pan Land of Dreams exhibition


Visitors to the exhibition taking leaflets about our production of Peter Pan from the Darling's dresser

Visitors to the exhibition taking leaflets about our production of Peter Pan from the Darling's dresser


View from the Hong Kong Grand Theatre stage

View from the Hong Kong Grand Theatre stage


Northern Ballet Theatre crew setting up the rigging for Peter Pan

Northern Ballet Theatre crew setting up the rigging for Peter Pan

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Preparing for Hong Kong

July 5, 2010 at 8:25 am (Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Learning, Learning & Access, Overseas Tour)

As the Company prepare for their tour to Hong Kong and Macau over the next few weeks, preparations are also underway in the Learning & Access Department as they too will be making their way to Hong Kong to deliver a dance project for the British Council.

Working with local dance artists, carers and social workers and adults with learning disabilities, the project will explore the benefits of dance and movement for the learning disabled, and will develop the skills of the dance artists, enabling them to deliver integrated dance projects within their communities.

Dance Education Officer Caroline Burn and Project Manager Jo Dean will be joined by musician Bill Laurance and dance artist Dylan Quinn to deliver the four-day project at the Providence Garden for Rehab centre in the north of Hong Kong. Jo will be sending us updates throughout the project.

With just a couple of days to go before we set off for Heathrow, Caroline and Dylan have been doing the final planning for the project, coming up with ideas and activities to do with the group and creating a resource pack for the dance artists to support their learning. While the main focus of the project will be equipping the dance artists with the skills required to lead integrated dance projects, we will also be introducing the social workers to the benefits of movement in increasing confidence, body awareness and control and communication skills, and giving the participants the opportunity to express themselves through movement.

Check back here next week to find out how the project is going.

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Milan 2008

October 23, 2008 at 1:29 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

I arrived at Leeds/Bradford airport early as a couple of us had checked into the lounge and wanted to get airside to take advantage of the facilities, I’ve flown nearly eighty thousand miles in the last twelve months and I’m almost robotic in my actions at an airport these days. Once on the plane the iPod was on and I try and grab a brief snooze. Landing at Milan Bergamo some two hours later, we shuffle through immigration and baggage reclaim and onto a waiting coach to take us to the airport.
We arrive at the hotel and Steve Hughes our Company Manager, arranges for the crew to get checked in first as we’re expected at the venue in a little under an hour. A quick wash and brush up and we congregate in the foyer of the hotel and walk to the venue.I always have a slight feeling of trepidation when going to a foreign venue. In the UK I’ve been visiting most of the number one touring venues at least once a year for years, sometimes I’ve been back a few times in the same year. You know what to expect, you know the people and we have an understanding of each other. When you’re abroad, it’s not just the language that is a barrier, its people’s methods too. We all do things in different ways, and everything takes much longer to achieve then you would wish.

We got to the venue just as Jimmy Kirk our amazing driver had arrived from Leeds, having left late on Sunday evening, three days before. Jimmy is without exception the best driver it has been my pleasure to work with, a vital part of Northern Ballet Theatres Technical operation.

We were met by several of the Italian technicians, and the Stage Department struck gold straight away with Nico, the local carpenter. He was very helpful, spoke great English and enjoyed our feeble phrase book attempts at speaking his mother tongue.
In fact so good was Nico that we presented him with one of our ratchet spanners by way of a thank you for all his efforts.

It was as well Nico was a helpful fellow as the first problem was minutes away. As Jimmy reversed the trailer in, it became obvious that it was two big to fit through the gates to the theatre and so everything was unloaded and carried from the gates, round the side of the theatre to the loading doors. Not a good start.

The venue, built in the 30s and still with many original features was smaller then we are used to and was quite run down. The Stage Department set about laying the dance floor and checking out the stage masking, whilst the Electrics team began the process of explaining what they wanted to the Italian electricians.

With the floor down and Nico having prepared the masking prior to our arrival we on Stage found ourselves in quite good shape early on, Electrics however were coming up against numerous problems with the local power supply and state of the local equipment. (If you use that power for the stage, there won’t be any lights in the dressing rooms was my favourite of the evening)

We have stringent Health and Safety laws in the UK and it’s only when you see how dangerously other countries operate that you really take appreciate how safe the theatres at home are. With Electrics up against it the Stage Department all became electricians for the rest of the evening and it was a great sense of pride to me to see my team setting about the task so diligently.

With the time fast approaching 10pm and not really having stopped since we left home some 14 hours previously we did what all good theatre people do after work and went to the pub for a well earned pint. The Italians proved to be great hosts and we sat at a street side bar / café for a couple of hours soaking up the atmosphere of Milan and talking through the trials of the day.

Morning brought the sight of Sid Taylor my deputy managing to get through four plates of breakfast, croissants, full fry up, cold meat and cheese platter and then back for more croissants when he realised, there were custard ones as well as the plain ones he had as a starter three courses previously.

We were due in at 11am but made the decision to leave the hotel just after 9am and get in early. Electrics were well into the focus by the time we arrived and we set about dressing the stage and getting ready for class. The dancers arrived for class and we went next door into the adjoining design museum for a coffee. If there’s one thing the Italians know about its coffee. I also managed to get out during class to a local shop near the theatre and pick up some really nice olive oil, flour and semolina flour as I’m a keen cook and really wanted to get some authentic ingredients for my kitchen.

The rest of the day was filled with rehearsals, which we did in reverse order of the performance so that once finished we were set up for the start of the show. Northern Ballet’s rehearsal went well and we smoothed out a few problems, and then set up and rehearsed the other two acts. With about an hour to go we were ready for the show and managed to grab a Panini from the little van outside the theatre, which was good.

The show passed by pretty uneventfully for us, there were a couple of annoying technical hitches and a frantic interval change from Opera North’s piece which involved a band fully miked up onstage back to a clear stage ready for Northern Ballet in just over ten minutes. The dancers of the Company did what they do best and for me stole the show with room to spare. The dancers had had to suffer their fair share of problems during the show and had been treated quite rudely by several people whilst they were trying to keep limbered up for their 10pm performance.

With the show over and in quite a sombre mood we set about the get out and taking everything down and loading it back on the lorry…only no one had the key for the gate, the gate I mentioned earlier that the lorry wouldn’t fit through. So we couldn’t even carry the stuff round to the lorry. Another route had to be found and the shortest route available to us was up a flight of fire escape stairs through front of house out to our now repositioned lorry.

Everyone set about the get out like Trojans and in a little over an hour we were out of the theatre and loaded ready for Jimmy to return to the UK. After a long day like that we all needed a cool refreshing drink and pretty soon the jokes were flowing again and the humour that is a large part of our daily lives had returned.

The morning came and we checked out and wondered around the local area having some more beautiful coffee until it was time for the transport back to the airport.

It was a nice feeling to touch down at Leeds/Bradford airport and as we all departed for home thoughts turned to A Midsummer Night’s Dream fit up on Sunday at Bradford.

Steve Wilkins

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Performance Day in Milan

October 17, 2008 at 9:40 am (Artist's News, Events, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

La Scala

Duomo

Triennale Theatre

All in all a very successful day. Whilst the Technicians returned to the theatre to complete the fit up, the dancers had a few more hours to explore Milan this morning before the taxis arrived at the hotel to take them to the theatre for class. The afternoon was spent with technical rehearsals for all 3 companies in the performance. The ballet was first to rehearse so there was more free time for the dancers whilst rehearsals continued for the others. Our Technicians were providing the technical support for the other companies so work continued for them.

Live from Leeds

The performance was scheduled for 8.30 with a reception beforehand. The first half was rather long and we eventually got to the interval at about 10pm. A quick change and then on with the ballet. First, we had the Nutcracker pas de deux danced by Julie Charlet and John Hull, then the pas de deux from Three Musketeers danced by Hironao and Keiko Takahashi, then the Dracula pas de deux danced by Martha Leebolt and Chris Hinton-Lewis. The final offering was Rhapsody in Blue.

The dancers gave excellent performances and all was received well by the audience. As far as Leeds City Council and Marketing Leeds are concerned, the week in Milan has been a triumph with the cultural offering playing a major part in the success.

A bit of free time on Friday morning before the flight back to Leeds (as long as the general strike doesn’t affect anything!)

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Leeds a Milano

October 15, 2008 at 4:25 pm (Company News, Events, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , , )

Leeds in Milan is a five day festival of commerce and culture, designed to give Leeds businesses the opportunity to showcase their sectors, skills and expertise in Milan. The event is being managed and promoted by Marketing Leeds who recognise that culture is an important part of what Leeds has to offer as a city.Northern Ballet Theatre has been invited to take part in this cultural offering alongside Opera North and Leeds Met University and their anateresa project.

On the flight to Milan

This morning 12 NBT dancers plus support staff set off for Milan. It really is going to be a flying visit. Fortunately Jet 2 fly direct from Leeds/Bradford to Milan so not too early a start. Flight time was only about 2 hours so we arrived at Bergamo airport at about 3.30pm and transferred to our hotel – the Atahotel Fieramilano which took about 45 minutes. Quite a muggy afternoon in Milan – about 23 degrees

The coach journey to the hotel...

After check in, the dancers were free to explore the city whilst the Technicians made their way to the Triennale Theatre to start the fit up. Opera North and Leeds Met are providing the first half of the performance with NBT making up the second half. We will be performing pas de deux from Dracula, pas de deux from Three Musketeers, pas de deux from Nutcracker and Rhapsody in Blue from our Gershwin programme – so quite a diverse offering to show off our range.

Update:

A good evening on all fronts. Work in the theatre went well and although there were some issues getting the trailer access to the get in to the theatre, the work was completed on schedule and the Technical Staff were back at the hotel for 11pm. As always, little technical issues to resolve but all bodes well for tomorrow. The Company had various dining experiences but all appeared to be happy with their night out in Milan.

This is where we are staying!!

This is where we would like to be staying (The Four Seasons)

Just for the record, taxi drivers in Milan are a nightmare. Fares are extortionate and they seem to manage to find the most convoluted route to get anywhere!!

Mark Skipper

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Damart keep NBT warm on China tour

January 7, 2008 at 1:06 pm (Friends News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Dreda Blow, Michael Berkin, Kieran Stoneley, Chantelle Gotobed. Photograph by Simon Dewhurst

Yorkshire-based thermal specialist Damart kindly kitted out the entire Company who jetted off to chilly China on a four week performance tour. A large supply of Damart thermals was donated to help keep the dancers and crew warm during the tour of China’s main cities including Beijing and Shanghai. The dancers felt the benefit of the thermals during class and rehearsals and they will also come in useful now the Company has returned to the UK during our cold winter days. Dancers Michael Berkin, Dreda Blow, Chantelle Gotobed and Kieran Stoneley took part in a photo-shoot to celebrate Damart’s support and they were quite taken by the thermals which they were able to keep after the photo-shoot.

Click here for press release

NBT Dancers. Photo: Simon Dewhurst

NBT Dancers. Photo: Simon Dewhurst

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China Report: Final Performance

January 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Shanghai Grand Theatre's auditorium - photo: Andy Waddington

Class was held on stage today and an hour later than originally scheduled to give the company more time to find those final shopping bargains and for last minute sightseeing.

The final performance was a triumph with “Bravo” being called from all corners of the theatre. Over the two performances we have played to 87% capacity which is a very pleasing result and we have been told by the management that we are welcome back at the Shanghai Grand Theatre anytime!!

The final get out is underway and extra crew have been called to help get the work finished as quickly as possible. This is the last time we will work with our Touring Chinese Lighting Crew who have been fantastic and worked tirelessly to get the performances on. This has been a very significant change to previous tours where we relied solely on local theatre staff. We would have been hard pressed to get the production on in some venues without their support.

The company are now all looking forward to the journey home and although the coach is at 8.30am, we are sure everyone will be there on time!!

The last few days have been a mix of emotions for everyone. The excitement of being in Shanghai and all that it brings, but at the same time the knowledge that we are going home and wishing that time would move more speedily towards the flight home. The reaction to the final performance (and the reaction throughout the tour) has made it all worthwhile

All of the company have been outstanding and really have shown what being part of NBT is about. They have adapted and coped with every situation that we have faced with a smile and have done excellent performances on each occasion.

Special mention must be given to the Technical team who worked incredibly hard often in difficult circumstance and coped in the most professional way. Chun-Yen our bi-lingual Stage Manager, has been invaluable and ran the shows from the corner via walky talky and managed to cue the show whilst dealing with any translation needs.

A final special mention must go to Andy Waddington who has headed up the Technical team throughout but has also managed the tour since we left Beijing.

We hope the coach journey to the airport is straightforward tomorrow – fingers crossed but watch this space just in case!!

Mark Skipper
Chief Executive

PS: As always – a final challenge!! The wrong size containers have been sent. Not the high cubes that the set was shipped from the UK in but only 8 foot high. The shipping company were adamant that these are the same ones as we had shipped here but we know differently. It will be tight but we think it should all fit.

Get out - photo: Andy Waddington

Get out - photo: Andy Waddington

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China Report: White fungus soup and Dragon’s Eggs

January 4, 2008 at 12:23 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

When Nigel and I arrived in China just over a month ago, I decided I’d only eat Chinese food so I could savour some of the more exotic tastes and understand a little more about Chinese culture. In the first couple of weeks before the rest of the company arrived, we had the help of our translator, who was always ready to explain the menu. I’ve learned that food is sweeter in Wuxi and Hangzhou because Chinese in these regions have a sweeter tooth than their northern cousins do in Beijing. But each region also has its own special dishes. In Beijing, it’s duck, and Sichuan food, which is pretty hot and spicy. In Hangzhou local dishes included fish, very sweet pork rich in fat, and Beggars Chicken, traditionally a whole chicken encased in mud then cooked in a fire, but now of course wrapped in paper and cooked in the oven. Delicious.

Once I got used to having vegetables for breakfast, the rest was easy. So I started with steamed green vegetable, or sweet potato, or pumpkin – an energy boost in the morning. We don’t eat such a colourful breakfast at home, but I really love having sweet potato and it makes sense to me. I’d then usually have some dumplings and rice or millet congee – Chinese porridge. I love the millet, especially with a little plain yoghurt. There was always fresh fruit on the menu – delicious sweet watermelon was my preference – and eggs which ever way you like them. I don’t like to eat meat or eggs every day, but it seems the Chinese have a delicious full banquet for breakfast, which includes meat and pickles and all sorts of noodle dishes, I have to admit I never tasted. I simply couldn’t eat that much in the morning. My favourite breakfast dishes included what I call dragon eggs – wonderful blue-black speckled steamed dumplings which have a delicious soft centre – of what I’m not sure, but I think it’s red bean paste. It tasted great and was a favourite in Hangzhou. I also enjoyed the white fungus soup with Chinese dates – a sweet, clear, viscous mixture which I’m told is excellent especially for women. For me, food is medicine, so I was going to eat this just on that recommendation. And I have to say I’ll be looking for it in the Chinese supermarket in Leeds when I get home. This was better in Beijing than in Wuxi or Hangzhou where it was too sweet for my taste. When there was no white fungus soup, the red bean one was just as delicious, and probably just as good for women, too. Another treat I enjoyed for breakfast was the black sticky rice with lotus seeds. It’s sweet and delicious. I also will miss jujube steamed bun and green vegetable dumplings – which became favourites.

After such a large breakfast, I’d usually skip lunch, opting instead for an early dinner. Chinese restaurants open early for dinner around five in the evening, and tend to close early too, around nine.

For dinner, we’d go to a local restaurant, first with our translator who would advise about the local dishes and what she thought was good, and then trusting our ability to communicate with the picture menu, miming and pointing. It seemed to work a treat. Of course, the guide book with essential Chinese words is also a big help. We enjoyed the freshest fish – because it’s still swimming in the tank before it comes to your table. I don’t know whether it’s the visits to the Buddhist temples or just the fact that the Chinese kitchen is an open affair where you point to fish in the tank and as you and the fish give each other the knowing stare. But I’ve become rather uncomfortable about having a fish – or any animal really – sacrificed for my table. I expect when I get back to Leeds, where fish comes filleted in the supermarket or lies there already dead so it wasn’t my fault, that I’ll get over it. But in China, the fish is fished out of the tank in a net and taken away to meet its fate. Their supermarkets are full of fish tanks. So they must think we simply don’t know the meaning of fresh.

I also love Sichuan pepper – hot, spicy but wonderfully aromatic. Our Christmas dinner was Beijing Duck in their most famous duck restaurant. And it was a treat. We also had delicious exotic vegetables like willow and preserved walnuts, and I’ve now eaten aubergine cooked in so many different ways and all of them delicious. In the south, I loved the chicken and peanuts with lots of chillies. In the north, the Mongolian hot pot was fabulous and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Chun and Chiaki and Helen in Beijing where the mushrooms, green bean vermicelli and tofu were especially good.

The best thing about five weeks eating Chinese food is that it’s been very good for my health. I haven’t seen many obese Chinese people at all compared to our well advertised problems of diet and obesity at home. Obviously steaming food and not using dairy has a lot to do with it. But also for me, having virtually no alcohol has no doubt improved my health but also my taste for food. I don’t even look for a glass of wine with dinner anymore, as I must admit I haven’t managed to acquire a taste for Chinese wine. Tea has been my drink of choice. I’ve enjoyed lots of different types of green tea, jasmine tea, chrysanthemum, and I now enjoy rose bud tea for breakfast.

Well, it’s my last day, so I’m off to enjoy my final Chinese breakfast, until next time. And tonight, I’m going to try something new. I think I’ll have to order the Buddha Jumping over the Wall soup. And I’m not even going to ask what’s in that.

Diana Solano.

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China Report: First Performance in Shanghai

January 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Chiaki prepares for her last performance - photo: Neil G Jarman

The fit up continued through the night. The LX department finished rigging the lights at 4am and returned to the hotel for a few hours sleep before returning to focus the lights at 10am. The Stage department worked through until 7am and took a break until1.30pm with only a few minor masking issues to be resolved. The Shanghai in house crew were really helpful and said “Yes” to everything.

Class yesterday in the theatre studio had been a little hazardous with a lino like a skating rink. So during the night we took rolls of our lino up the unending flights of stairs to 5th floor.

Class and Technical rehearsal went well and our technical departments did a remarkable job in getting the production ready in such a minimal fit up time.

Tonight was Chiaki Nagao’s “final” final performance prior to retirement. The Company gave an excellent performance and the Shanghai orchestra were very good with a very attentive audience and good numbers in attendance. It was a fitting final performance for Chiaki. Young, our Promoter was delighted and the Grand Theatre said it was the best thing they have had. Tonight was the final sponsored evening of the tour this time hosted by Leeds Met University and as well as local guests was attended by NBT staff and dancers not appearing in tonight’s performance.

One more performance to go and then home!!

Chiaki in performance - photo: Neil G Jarman

Chiaki in performance - photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Radio International – Review

January 3, 2008 at 9:53 am (Marketing and PR News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

NBT's Madame Butterfly“Northern Ballet Theatre, one of the best loved and most traveled dance companies in Britain, has brought another theatrical success to China with “Madame Butterfly.” And this unexpectedly moving production wraps up the 5th Beijing International Dance Festival…”

click here to read full review 

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China Report: Almost Free Day in Shanghai

January 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Downtown Shanghai - photo: Neil G Jarman

Today was pretty uneventful. The Technical department were free until 11pm when they started their marathon shift fitting the production into the theatre in time for tomorrow’s first performance. At the time of writing (2am local time) all was going to schedule with the fit up. The dancers had class this morning and by lunchtime were free for the rest of the day to continue the tourist trail.

Old Shanghai - photo: Neil G Jarman

View from the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower - photo: Neil G Jarman

In the temple of the Jade Buddha - photo: Neil G Jarman

In the temple of the Jade Buddha - photo: Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Yangzhou to Shanghai

January 1, 2008 at 9:10 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Oriental Pearl TV Tower - photo: Neil G Jarman

After the tedious coach journeys experienced over the last few weeks everybody was expecting the worse this morning. The journey from Yangzhou to Shanghai was estimated to take 5 hours. Everybody was on the coach by 9.55am ahead of the 10am scheduled departure. The well established check out routine is working like clockwork now after 5 cities/hotels.

The first stop of the day was at 11.50am at Wuxi services and then surprisingly we arrived at the Lansheng hotel in Shanghai at 1.45pm – only 3 hours and 50 minutes including stop!! The roads en route were deserted and Shanghai was not as busy as usual. The check in was a bit slow as the hotel had not taken into account our request for smoking and non-smoking rooms but in the scheme of things this was a small detail and everyone was checked in by 2.15pm.

The hotel is lovely and although a change from the hotel we had originally agreed everyone was really happy and looking forward to the final four nights of the tour. The only slight issue is that the hotel is quite a distance from the City centre and also a 30 to 40 minute drive to the Grand Theatre. We have found in most cities on the tour that they are reluctant to put us in hotels that are in walking distance from the theatres which really would make life a lot easier. It was great in Beijing being in the same building. The distance from the centre did not deter most people from venturing out and discovering the local area and also catching cabs to the centre. Last heard, there was some of our company on the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower on their 2nd bottle of Champagne!!

Andy Waddington with Steve Wilkins and Rich Godfrey departed the hotel at 10.30pm and arrived at the theatre to unload the containers on to the side of stage as agreed. This would mean that we would gain time by laying it all out in the right places on stage and be able to attack with gusto the fit up tomorrow night. Richard Clayderman is performing tomorrow evening. On arrival we found that they did not want us to unload onto stage and insisted we unload into a dock area. We explained through Flora, our Interpreter, that this was pointless and a waste of time as it would not gain us anything for the extremely tight fit up. Unloading into the dock area and then double handling it tomorrow would mean that we would still be the unload time down. The theatre only had security guards on duty and said that they did not have the key to the one sliding door between where the trailers were and where we needed to put the set. A stand off followed and Young, our Promoter was summoned and came down to the theatre very apologetically and confirmed that this was not what had been agreed. He then phoned the theatre management and local promoter. The local promoter arrived and we again explained that by unloading tonight into the dock area would not help in the fit up and we were not unloading unless it was onto stage. A discussion then took place in Chinese and the outcome was we caught a cab back to the Hotel. This whole discussion took over 2 hours in the freezing cold. The outcome is that we are now getting in at 11pm tomorrow night and unloading straight onto stage. This will then mean our Technical Teams working straight through the night until the end of the performance on 3rd which is far from satisfactory. They have an additional problem in that the container haulage contract finishes tonight but that one is not our problem to resolve. (Our own contractors are responsible for taking the containers out of the theatre and back to the UK)

So what should have been a very simple process became much more of as issue as is so often the case working in China. With the experiences we have had working with the various theatre crews across China we are somewhat nervous about how the fit up will go and we have made it very clear to Young that the show will only happen on time if the crew work our way and allow things to run smoothly. Only time will tell on that one

In the foyer of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower - photo: Neil G Jarman

Motorway service food Chinese style - photo: Andy Waddington

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China Report: Performance Day in Yangzhou

December 31, 2007 at 5:35 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Yangzhou - photo: Andy Waddington

The day started well with coaches from the hotel for Technicians and Dancers if they wanted but most people walked.

On arrival at 9am the smell of urine from the toilets was truly awful in the back corridor. The heating was turned on at 10.30 and by 11.30 the whole place was pleasantly warm. Class went smoothly. Air fresheners were purchased and liberally spread around the toilets. The sweet smell of ALL JOY filled the corridor and kind of masked the awful smell.

Then it was discovered that the performance tonight was sponsored by the local TV Company. They wanted to record the whole performance. They started bringing in the cables and equipment in the middle of the Technical Rehearsal and in the end we locked them out so Paul Mansfield could see the lighting states on stage without swathes of daylight coming from the open doorway.

Apparently the government own all the TV companies and according to Young, our Promoter, who is as surprised by this as anyone, the big man in the area was coming to see the performance this evening and had instructed the TV company to film it. Young said it would cause huge problems with the government if we say no. We stood our ground and did say No. There followed further heated moments but eventually a compromise was found and we agreed that they could film the audience arriving and the curtain call but none of the performance. Technical Director, Andy Waddington spent the performance sat next to the recording system. The TV Company were told that no cameramen would be allowed in the theatre until the blackout at the end of the performance and then only with handheld cameras. It was made very clear that the performance would be stopped if any filming was attempted. Andy has extensive TV knowledge so there was no chance of anything getting past him.

The coldest room in the theatre was the lighting box where Paul had to wrap up in jumpers and coats. It was 3 or 4 degrees in the box but step through the door and it was 22 degrees. Very baffling.

Today was the last time we will be seeing the Hangzhou Orchestra and we thank them for their efforts. It certainly wasn’t the easiest night’s work for Assistant Music Director, Nigel Gaynor.

The performance went very well. It was Pippa Moore as Butterfly partnered with Chris Hinton Lewis as Pinkerton. They danced extremely well in front of a full house. Trouble was nearly 31/2 foot tall – which is rather large for a 3 year old!

The get out went well starting at 9.45pm and finished at 11.30pm then everybody went back to the hotel for drinks on the 28th floor bar to join the rest of the company drinking and toasting.

Happy New Year to all our readers

Nanjing - photo: Andy Waddington

Tech Rehersal - photo: Andy Waddington

Class - photo: Andy Waddington

Trailers - photo: Andy Waddington

Yangzhou Grand Theatre - photo: Andy Waddington

Yangzhou Grand Theatre lobby - photo: Andy Waddington

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China Report: 30 December from Nathalie Leger’s Perspective

December 31, 2007 at 5:27 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

This was our travelling day from Nanjing to Yangzhou. The coaches took twice as long as they were supposed to but after three weeks we are getting use to it. There always seems to be accidents or busy roads.

So welcome to Yangzhou and another New Century Hotel. Yangzhou is a small city, well for China, 4.5 million people in big development, clean and kind of modern. Visit the city centre and is very busy, noisy, colourful and full of life. Thousands of lights almost hitting you. Then a look around the hotel and the theatre and then we end up in an indoor market. So picturesque. Lots of fruit looking lovely. For 5 bananas it costs 30p.

Then meeting Pippa on the market street we feel we may go for a swim and a sauna. The advert in the hotel looked gorgeous. A proper treatment for body and head at the swimming pool on the third floor. We never found it. Unlucky. It has been this way at every hotel. The treatments do not exist.

Might be more lucky with The Deluxe Sauna. Not lying that is the name of it. Off we go happy and smiley. It took 10 good minutes to wander down the labyrinth ending up in another part of the hotel entrance. Very basic. A woman escorted us to the changing room and I found a locker that I made sure was locked well. She then gave us some plastic slippers which was good because hygiene is not at all good. One big room with 10 showers all open so naked women and babies in plastic baskets, scrubbing, massaging strongly, washing each other and making bath to their children in baskets! Fabulous. we are right there in the intimate life of these women. Never will experience that in my life again. Sauna a tiny room, dark and warm where everyone comes and goes just to put their panties, socks or bras to dry out! Incredible!! From our spot inside the sauna we can look out without being seen!! The life continues…a mother is peeling an apple with her teeth and giving it to her child. Never tell me that Chinese people are dirty! Probably much more clean than European people. They take care of there skin and hair so much. But are these people who are staying at the hotel or do they not have showers at their home? Sad thinking. We are now getting so warm sweating the pollution from our bodies. Feeling good. Now showertime. This is a bit more difficult as they do not want to give us a shower but finally one of them does. Thank you so much. Our locker is OPEN but everything is there even the money.

And finally going back to the room we think that we had a really amazing, Unforgettable moment there feeling almost, really almost, part of them. Thank you to them.

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China Report: Nanjing to Yangzhou

December 30, 2007 at 8:51 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

90 minute tailback - photo: Andy Waddington

The day started well and we set off from Nanjing on schedule. The coaches with NBT on board headed one way out of the hotel and the coach with the Hangzhou Orchestra headed the other! We were 15mins into the journey just passing through central Nanjing on a flyover Expressway and the whole road was stopped. The tail back lasted for 1 hour 30 minutes. By the time we got to the problem it turned out to be a policeman directing traffic from a side road and holding up the expressway. It turned out that today was a public holiday and so it was very busy traffic wise. To add insult to injury the Orchestra driver phoned up and said they had arrived in Yangzhou whilst we were sitting on the flyover!

We finally arrived at 1.15pm the journey having taken twice as long as it should have (memories of Wuxi to Hangzhou here). The hotel had not allocated rooms as requested but had a least split them into singles, doubles and twins. With the second coach arriving 10 minutes after the first everyone was able to check in really quickly. At 2.30pm the Technical department accompanied by the Interpreters walked the 5 minutes to the Grand Theatre. The theatre is very similar to those in Wuxi and Nanjing. Fortunately they had heeded our warning from the experience in Nanjing and the heating was on even for the get in.

The dancers spent the afternoon out and about but Yangzhou is a very flat place and the wind is biting cold so most of them didn’t stay out for long. The City seems to be part of a tremendous building programme and even more than some of the previous cities. Everybody was delighted that the hotel has a wave machine and themed swimming pool or ‘the place of frolicking water’ as the Chinese would call it. Unfortunately they have closed the facility for the Winter! There is also a Spa with sauna and gym etc or ‘the centre of wellbeing’ along with a tenpin bowling alley.

The Technicians finished at 10pm with all the set in position and lights rigged. All set for an early focus tomorrow and then prepare for class at 12.30.

We were given another piece of aggravating news today. Shanghai has the same movement of vehicles restrictions as Beijing so we need to unload the Containers at Midnight on the day of arrival in Shanghai.

Everybody is slightly nervous after today’s coach journey. With the Wuxi to Hangzhou and Nanjing to Yangzhou journeys both taking twice the estimated time it doesn’t bode well for Yangzhou to Shanghai on Tuesday which is scheduled to take 5 hours!!

Inside the Yangzhou Grand Theatre - photo: Andy Waddington

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China Report: Another Eventful day in China

December 29, 2007 at 6:37 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

The flying system in the Nijin Theatre was a nightmare to program. We also discovered today that some of the bars could not have in deads put on them. (A dead is marker that tells the flyman when the scenery is at the right level) So quite a few things were flown in and given the in dead by eye. The screens for instance. This seemed like a more major problem than it turned out to be in reality in the performance the system worked perfectly. At lunchtime when the orchestra arrived it was discovered that the orchestra pit would go down but the pit rail would not come up. They asked if we were ok with that and we said No. They were asked to provide a post and chain system or, laughing at the time, some flowers. At 2pm 25 potted plants turned up in terracotta pots. I guess in China you get what you ask for even when you are partly joking. During the technical rehearsal the Lighting technicians were visited in the lighting box by a rat. It climbed in through the window in front of then and then stopped and looked at them working. They all just stared and then it turned tail and went back into the auditorium. They were all in stunned silence until they all said together “was that me or was there a rat”?

The temperature in the theatre when the Technicians arrived this morning was Baltic cold. By the time the dancers arrived it had come up in temperature a little. The entire lighting rig was switched on and class took place. Every 5 minutes heated discussions were taking place with the local staff through our Interpreters Flora and Cathy. The heating was switched on but it barely registered. During the Technical Rehearsal it was discovered that there was a fault with the heating system. The dancers agreed that they would still perform and we promised them that we were doing our best to remedy the situation. By Showtime it was still cold. But the heating system had kicked in properly. But by the end of the show it was still cold. Young, our Promoter apologised profusely and it was made very clear that the next venue in Yangzhou had to be fully heated prior to the dancers arrival for class and if it wasn’t then there would be a possibility that the dancers would say they would not dance that performance. He relayed this to the local partner and we were reassured from both of them that heating would be on and there would be no problem. We shall see!

Just before the Technical Rehearsal, the children arrived to play trouble. They were the largest children that we have ever seen to play the role. Also, the boy took some coaching to do the job. But into costume he went. After the rehearsal he was on the side of stage with his mother and Chun – our Stage Manager. Chun was talking to his mum when the child kept interrupting saying he wanted the toilet. His mum said ok and he pulled his trousers down and weed next to portal 3!!. After mopping it up all was well. He went on fine in the performance until at the final entrance in the doorway he stood there and wet himself. Poor dancers had to carry him around after.

The performance went very well but the audience was very noisy throughout

The get out started at 9.45pm and we shut the doors of the last container at 11.45pm – a record for this tour.

First thing tomorrow we hit the road again to Yangzhou and start the fit up at the Grand Theatre

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China Report: Sitting tight in China

December 29, 2007 at 6:34 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Nigel and I decided not to do the day trip to the Great Wall with the company again, as we’d done that seven years ago. We didn’t have the energy to make our own trip to the more remote part of the wall. After the relaxation and obvious therapeutic benefit of two consecutive days of Chinese medical massage (we had slept like babies) we didn’t want to over-excite our senses by doing something silly like taking a leisurely coach ride. Usually, coach trips in China are pretty exhilarating. But more on that later.

In fact, being a passenger in taxis in the cities is quite an experience too. In the cities, it’s more akin to slow rally driving, and most often the seat belts don’t work or aren’t there. Nobody really follows lanes – they just dash in and out where they think their car might fit, sounding their horns – ta-taaa – as they manoeuvre. It’s as if they’re expecting applause for their feat of spatial acuity. In fact, I’m impressed by their driving skills. In Beijing, for example, most of the road system, which has doubled in area since we were here in 2000, is wide with at least ten lanes, divided carriageways of course. But they don’t really get to drive at thirty miles per hour very often. Even so, the traffic mostly keeps moving. It’s on the whole an efficient and safe way to travel. I’m convinced all those years of travelling on cycles instilled a sense of travel community. I’ve not seen any road rage in the cities. And the traffic is colossal and never-ending. So the taxi we’re in becomes the filling in a bus sandwich, or more often the interloper snaking its way across lanes from right to left, left to right. It doesn’t matter. But whether from good luck or simply more superior road sense, we’ve had no scrapes. I am on the side of superior road sense. I think Chinese drivers in their bustling cities have developed an acute sense of spatial awareness. They are good at squeezing in to that quickly diminishing gap in the traffic. I’ve seen a row of seven cars abreast where there really are just five marked lanes. Throw the few enduring bicyclists and moped riders into the mix and it’s probably best to keep smiling, or laughing nervously so at least your driver thinks you’re enjoying the sights.

Last evening here in Nanjing as Nigel and I were walking to a restaurant we witnessed a car accident. But I was amazed as there was hardly any traffic. Nanjing is much less crowded than Beijing. Obviously two cars went for the same lane. The first one got in the lane and the second one followed too closely and ran up the back of it. Fortunately, it wasn’t a very bad result, although the crash made quite a crunch.

Travelling by coach on the freeways is a different matter and can be counterproductive if you’ve spent good money on a Chinese massage. The coach drivers, like the rest of the motoring fraternity, are audibly keen to get to their destination, sounding the horn every few minutes as they go. The message translates roughly as I’m coming through so get out of my way or don’t even think about changing into my lane. The day we were coaching from Wuxi to Hangzhou the fog was horrendous and had interrupted our journey, the police choosing to close the motorway for an hour and a half. Soon, we understood why when just a few minutes later we took a turning onto a motorway that was still under construction. As we travelled along the road-in-progress, inwardly questioning the wisdom of using this road given the visibility was still alarmingly low, the coach driver picked up speed. He was sounding his horn every minute and more often when he overtook on a dual carriageway into the oncoming traffic lane in the fog – trusting in his intuition or taking absurd risks – which ever way you want to look at it. Soon we passed a shocking sight. The lane that wasn’t finished came to an abrupt halt and at its edge was a huge drop to a ditch. Teetering on that edge was a car that had simply run out of road. I spent most of that trip with my hand over my eyes. Nigel spent most of that trip trying to decide whether he was going to tell the driver to slow down ‘the next time he does something ridiculously dangerous’. But then it became a matter of deciding degrees of ridiculous riskiness. So when the last risk was riskier than the current one … well, I’m sure you get the point. Of course, with the weather it was a difficult journey for the driver – a three-hour drive turned into six hours. So that does take some stamina, and clearly some nerve. I guess we’ll all be looking forward to our next long coach journey?

Diana Solano

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China Report: Fit Up Day in Nanjing

December 28, 2007 at 10:20 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Confusious Temple and Dr.Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum - photos: chinahighlights.com

The Technicians departed at 8.15am for the Zijin Theatre which was a 45 minute drive across town at that time of day. The theatre just says “YES” to everything. NBT Technicians are totally in control – not quite like Beijing!! Whilst the fit up was taking place, the dancers returned to the adjacent studio for class. Unfortunately the Chinese opera orchestra was rehearsing next door and we had to ask them to leave for a while. The noise level – not the music, was horrendous!! Class went well and the dancers are in good shape for tomorrow’s performance

The Stage Department completed all of their work in record time by 5.45pm. The Electrics Department had focussed the lights and were back at the hotel by 8.30pm with just booms to do tomorrow – probably the quickest fit up we have had so far on this tour and leaving the stage clear for class.

This afternoon, the Dancers had a chance to look around the town. Nanjing is a bustling city and is a mix of western and pure Chinese. Turn a corner and huge neon lit signs are awash, turn again and hanging ducks etc. are there on the street stalls. The hotel is on the outskirts of the inner city and so quite a calming place to be away from the noise and bustle. The cost of things here is significantly cheaper than Beijing. A meal for 3 including 2 beers and a coke cost 76 Yuan (about £5). It was a good meal as well. Getting a taxi in Nanjing is very hit and miss. They don’t seem to like our Western faces too much but when you do get one they are really friendly.

Finally, this hotel has an even more brazen brothel than the last. It’s called COUNT and the publicity material leaves little to the imagination. It has caused great hilarity for all. The ones that dared go to the 5th floor were met by ladies in short maid outfits and a gentleman making gestures that cannot be described here when asked if this was where they could get a beer!!

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China Report: Travel from Beijing to Nanjing

December 27, 2007 at 5:52 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Jinling Jingyuan Plaza Hotel - photos from hotel website

Rather an early start this morning to get to the airport for the flight to Nanjing. The Poly Plaza hotel were somewhat particular with their check out procedures but all was achieved on schedule. The flight was uneventful and check in to the Jinling Jingyuan Plaza Hotel went very smoothly with the hotel having allocated the rooms before we arrived and in accordance with our Rooming List.

As the Company have had 3 days off over Christmas, it was vital that they got back into training. Although the stage of the Zijin Theatre is not available to us until 28 December, there is a very good studio in a building adjacent to the theatre with decent floor, barres and a piano.

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China Report: Dancer, Martha Leebolt shares her experience of Beijing

December 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Traditional pass-time in Beijing park - Photo by Neil G Jarman

After a very hectic schedule of planes, buses, unpacking, class, rehearsals, shows etc we were finally able to ‘move into’ our hotel in Beijing. After 1 day of Class and 3 days of performances we are all ready to see some sights. Although I did the main attractions of China before, I was eager to go again to really look and take in the scenery, rather than just click on my camera.

On the 24th we got into a taxi and went off to the Summer Palace. It was even more beautiful than I remembered. The temples, small and large, were all being repainted (probably because of the Olympics) in very bright colours, mostly blue, gold and red. The prettiest Temple was built for one of the Empress Cixis’ birthdays. Inside, were housed many of her presents ranging from a big clock made of Ivory to beautiful statues of peacocks. Her throne was made of dark wood with gold cushions and pillows. Everyone’s favourite part and probably most impressive is the life size marble boat resting in the frozen lake. Unfortunately the lake was not as frozen as last time!! It was a wonderful day but my toes were freezing.

Next the 25th – Christmas day. After a pretty crowded and stressful tube ride, which cost 2 Yuan one way – 14p, we found the Lama Temple. The street leading up to the entrance is lined with about 100 stalls of people selling incense to be used inside. The Lama Temple is made up of about 40 smaller temples all housing different Buddha. The Chinese people come here to give thanks to them for example ‘The Buddha of Medicine’ and ‘The Buddha of past, future and present. Outside the temples are large pots which people burn their incense in while praying. There is constant scent of Lavender, Jasmine and Rose in the whole area. Each temple is different, some housing 3 Buddha, some housing 20. At the base of the statues there are offerings of incense that have not been burned and fruit. Everywhere you look there are people constantly kneeling and standing up. They chant with their hands in prayer which are positioned at the forehead. The finale of the temple is a Buddha that stands 30’ tall. On the way out we saw one of the Dali Lama’s thrones and I bought my own laughing Buddha.

Next we went to the Temple of Confucius. It was under a bit of construction but we were still able to see where Emperor Qinglong would give important speeches. It was very impressive; painted gold with very detailed engravings, but like most Chinese relics, the buildings they stand in are the most beautiful. The ceilings are always decorated with intricate patterns and there is never a bare space on the walls.

Lastly, The Great Wall of China – Seems ridiculous to say it is my favourite, it’s just a wall, but it really is amazing. On a clear day there is no end of it in sight. We returned to the same place as on the last visit but turned left instead of right this time. It was a bit steeper this way, so we were pretty out of breath within the first 5 minutes. This time there were many more vendors hoping to sell you anything and everything. It is an incredible place that gives me a thrill when I think about being on one of the Seven Wonders of the World. BUT can you believe there is a Starbucks at the entrance?

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Temple of Heaven - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Temple of Heaven - Photo by Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Technical Experiences in Beijing

December 27, 2007 at 5:21 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Touring through China is a challenge and it was never going to be easy but with this being my second time on tour with NBT in China, I thought it would be easier. In some ways it certainly has been. The technical staff we have on this tour have been excellent and have needed to be. Their patience has been stretched a couple of times in each venue. This is mainly due to the fact that each venue has different ways of doing things and very different systems in place. The Poly Theatre in Beijing was a challenge. From the moment we discovered that there was an access to the City issue with the containers to the no gaffa tape on stage rule. At present no trucks at all are allowed into Beijing until midnight and have to clear the City limits by 6am. As Beijing is a major building site at present you can imagine the queues at the City limits waiting for the clock to strike midnight. At this point it must be like a Le Mans start. By 12.30am long convoys of trucks wend their way into the city as in some kind of protest akin to the fuel tax protests in the UK a few years ago. By 1am on 19/20 December the first of our containers arrived and backed into the loading dock under the supervision of the local police and security/army guards at the theatre. Unloading took about 45 minutes with the help of a team of 10 guys hired in by the promoter. With the doors shut on the empty container we thought it wouldn’t be long before the second container took its place in the dock. 10 minutes later nothing had moved. What I discovered walking to the front of the truck and speaking with our translator Flora, an absolute angel, was that the driver had been caught smoking in the dock by the security/army guard. The driver was being chastised beyond belief and his boss was being instructed that the driver must be punished. Until this was all agreed nothing was moving. After a further 20 minutes the truck finally moved and I was told that an agreement with the driver’s boss had been reached but I couldn’t find out what it was. The second trailer smoked its way into the car park and tried to back into the dock area. Alas the skill needed was beyond the driver so the container was unpacked there in the car park and another 20 metres of distance was added to the route in. Finally at 3.15 am we went upstairs and retired to our rooms grateful that the theatre and hotel were in the same complex.

In the morning breakfast was a cheery affair looking forward to working in the theatre we had seen the night before. On entering the theatre we were told that no gaffa tape could be used on the Korean oak floor that we were told had come from Russia. From that point on it seemed to be that they had learnt one word of English and that was the word ‘NO’ Even when going through the translator the answer seemed to be always ‘NO’. But if we really pushed and pushed for what we required and kept smiling then eventually it seemed to turn up. Well most of the time. The biggest issue was the petal drop in Act 2. They had not seen this done before and were not happy with the petals falling past the lighting bar. No reasoning or even myself telling them we had done over 250 performances of the production and never had there been an issue of the theatre catching fire seemed to wash with them. My final offer to buy them a new theatre if the effect caused the building to burn down did not even come close. We had to move the lighting bar downstage and the petal bag had to move upstage. They seemed happy with that. But after the 1st show they insisted we bring in the lighting bar and check for stray petals. Only eight petals had the gaul to land on the lighting equipment but each one was carefully extracted before we could fly the bar out again.

Joe Marchant, our Flyman/Rigger, had a nightmare of a day trying to get the flying system working safely. The Chinese flyman had never been shown the safe way of working the system and not wishing to lose face they refused to listen to Joe’s instruction. This caused a few heated debates through Flora. Meanwhile on stage Steven Wilkins (Wilky), our Chief Stage Technician for the China Tour, was being told we could not screw into the floor and not use certain flying bars for scenery. Thanks to the Chinese lighting people we have touring with us, lighting seemed to be going smoothly. Rich, Paul, Martin and Chris (Lighting Team) were all put under various amounts of pressure through the day but mainly the pressure of ‘NO’ was mainly kept to Wilky, Joe, Nic and Paul. (Stage Team)

Technical team discuss plans for the get in - Photo by Neil G Jarman

On the first day we all finished at 10pm. We lost around 3 hours of the day having to argue and discuss each thing we wanted to do. The second day started in much the same way with ‘NO’ being the order of the day. The electric flying bars were strictly under the control of the in house personnel and it was hit and miss whether we got what we asked for. By 11am the focus started and the stage work was coming to an end. By 12.30 the main focus of the lights was complete and we had only the side lights to do. Class then took place on stage. A welcome break for the technical crew. Back at 2pm we beavered on and the Technical Rehearsal went quite smoothly. Just before the start of the Technical though, the person in charge of the electric flying handed the reins over to Martin. Martin had never seen or operated the system before and it was amazing that the rehearsal went so well.

To add other things into the mix we were not allowed to go anywhere with out a pass. Not even if we had made friends with the guard and he knew us. We were not allowed to sit in the auditorium seats at all and the drinks machine had given up as well.

The first night and subsequent shows went very well indeed. The Technical staff on tour have been pushed to the edge and have been amazing.

The get out started well until we caught them inch by inch peeling back our dance tape to make sure that we had not damaged the floor. I know you have an image in your head of a highly polished oak floor and you are wondering why I am going on about this so much. But let me dispel this image and replace it with an image of a painted black extremely well -used floor that has had the paint ripped from it in various places. I hope you can see the frustration.

The containers were packed and all was finished by 3am. No driver getting punished this time although we still had to wait for the containers to arrive!

Having had a couple of days off I can look back and smile and make light of what the Tech team was put through. But things like this are a small part of what happens when we enter a new venue. We never know what we are going to face and only a great deal of experience and teamwork gets us through.

In the future I would hope that we in the UK can bring Chinese technicians over from the larger theatres and let them see how we work in the UK. I believe for the long term future of the theatres in China and the welfare and mental state of the Technicians arriving with companies from the West it would be very fruitful.

Nanjing, Yangzhou and Shanghai here we come.

Andy Waddington – Technical Director

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China Report: Christmas Celebrations

December 26, 2007 at 12:46 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Parting view of the Poly Theatre - Photo by Neil G Jarman

The party has continued over 25 and 26 December. It seems there was a wide variety of options for Christmas lunch from traditional turkey and Christmas pudding (although not quite the same as at home) to the delights of Raffles’ take on turkey to Tepanyaki. All tastes were catered for.

Another interesting adventure took place before lunch!! Andy Waddington, Technical Director, managed to persuade the barrier attendants at the new National Grand Theatre, that we were very important guests from the UK and needed to have a look at this stunning new arts complex. The design is absolutely amazing with entry under a lake and 3 auditoria housed within a glass dome! We were given unprecedented freedom to wander around and had a good look inside the Opera and Drama Theatres. Unfortunately the Concert Hall was locked so we were unable to get a look. This is probably the finest arts building we have ever seen and we have made it very clear to Young, our Promoter, that we will only ever perform in that venue on future visits to Beijing!!

The evening of 25 December was designated the official Christmas party and was attended by the whole Company from dancers to musicians to technicians – everyone except Yi Song who had taken the opportunity to visit his family. A great time was had by all with an excellent buffet and plenty to drink. Secret Santa, arranged by Michela and Lori, was a triumph and added to the fun of the evening.

Tisch, Company Manager, arranged a trip to the Great Wall on 26 December which was attended by some of the Company. As this is our third visit to China, some people felt that another opportunity for shopping was more pressing than seeing the Wall again and others just didn’t make it out of bed after the partying from Christmas night!!

This evening should be a little more subdued with an early start to the airport tomorrow for the flight to Nanjing. The next week will be pretty busy with performances in 3 cities and will be very hard work for the technicians.

Everybody has had a great time in Beijing and is pleased that we were able to spend Christmas here but all are now looking forward to moving on and finding out what the cities of Nanjing and Yangzhou have to offer.

 Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Christmas Greetings (Video)

December 26, 2007 at 12:44 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

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