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Blog: A doctor, a student and a foreigner go into a theatre…

Published by Westacre Theatre on

There’s been rather a lot happening at the theatre over the past week. Let me take you through it.

A week ago, I arrived at work to find a building awash with doctors. Fearing some sort of medical emergency, I rushed inside to contribute my extensive anatomical expertise to the situation.

Yes, alright. That’s a lie. My anatomical expertise is not extensive. Closer to non-existent, really. In fact, the sight of blood makes me feel quite queasy.

Anyway, fearing some sort of medical emergency, I rushed inside to contribute my likelihood of fainting to the situation. However, there was no emergency to be found, medical or otherwise.

Instead, there was Isobel telling me to help in the kitchen. Suspecting I may be more use in the medical emergency, I reluctantly entered the kitchen and took up my position as Paprika Sprinkler.

“But what of all these doctors!” I hear you think. Yes, that’s right, I can hear thoughts.

The doctors were here to take an exam so that they could become GPs. This wasn’t the usual pen and paper ordeal that is most exams. No, this was much worse. This exam involved actors.

Sound horrifying, doesn’t it?

Before they can be set loose on people who are actually ill, GPs need a chance to practise on people who are only pretending to be ill. This is where the actors come in, as actors are rather good at pretending. Adopting an assorted array of ailments, the actors attend an appointment, during which the doctor dutifully diagnoses diseases and doles out drugs.

I should say – no drugs were handed out as part of the exam. I was just on a roll, alliteration-wise.

Of course, I saw none of this, as I was in the kitchen sprinkling paprika, preparing a feast fit for a king. Or, at least, a GP. I was also in charge of the clingfilm.

Once everyone had finished their lunch, further exams ensued, and I was left to polish off the leftovers, which I did with great enthusiasm. Except the prawn sandwiches. I don’t like prawns.

So, that was GP Day. A most interesting event to be even just a small part of. The best of luck to all the examinees, and “Get Well Soon” cards to all the actors.


Friday saw the arrival of some students, provided by the good people over at Peterborough Regional College. These young folk were here on a mini-tour, of sorts, and brought with them perhaps the most energetic rendition of The Hound of the Baskervilles one could ask for.

They also brought an enormous crew. Lighting designers, sound engineers, SMs, ASMs, DSMs, other types of SM that I don’t know about. It seemed a tad over-the-top, but they all had something to do.

Smoke machines. They brought smoke machines. We have smoke detectors. Combine the two, and you have a nuisance on your hands. A nuisance in the form of a very loud fire alarm. Mercifully, it did not see fit to go off during the actual performance, which went ahead very successfully and with great aplomb.

Since there were so many crew members, I had very little to do, just a bit of gentle ladder climbing and lantern focusing. When it came to the actual show I was entirely surplus, so sat in the control room with an Old Speckled Hen (I feel obliged to say that other brands of ale are available (But not as good (Drink Responsibly))).

After the show there was the usual joys of attempting to get everything that had come out of a van, back into said van. This is not an easy task. Vans are notoriously uncooperative, and appear to shrink ever so slightly when faced with a large piece of furniture. But, eventually, everything went in, and the group headed merrily in the direction of Peterborough.


Now, you are probably aware, we run a bursary scheme, open for undergraduates studying performing arts, or drama, or something else of that ilk. And Saturday was our annual bursary day, which is when all those hoping to be part of the scheme come along to show us what they can do.

Well, turns out they can do rather a lot. Without exception they were youthful, talented, attractive people. Exactly the sort of thing I like to see. Of course, it helped that this year, as has been the case in the past, that I was not an applicant – not there to drag the average down.

It was somewhat strange to be around as a staff member, rather than an applicant. I wasn’t quite sure whether to join in or not. In the end, I decided to have mercy, and stayed in the tech box. Besides, someone needs to play the same piece of music over and over again while dancing takes place. And there are worse jobs than watching attractive, talented youths singing and dancing for, what I like to think, is my own personal benefit.

All this singing and dancing was part of the audition process of our summer production of A Chorus Line, and you’ll never guess what  – there are some tickets for sale. Have a look here, if you’re interested. Which you should be. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

Our thanks to Jono, for being there to teach the dancing bits, our thanks to Sadie for being there to teach the singing bits and our thanks to Matt for being there to…

Our thanks to Matt for being there too.


As you can see, we have had plenty of visitors over the past week. But wait! There’s more! For the last two days the theatre has been inundated with 55 representatives from 11 different countries. Countries such as: Spain, Italy, Romania, and (possibly slightly awkwardly) Israel and Palestine.

They were here at the end of a 10 day residence in West Lexham, and were wanting a small theatre to showcase what they had been doing. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and we applaud their ambitions for greater international cooperation. And their ability to achieve anything in a second language. Five years of French classes and all I can do in a second language is order a coffee. I don’t even like coffee. Hopeless.

Anyway, we hope they enjoyed their time in Blighty, and we wish them all a safe journey back to their home countries.


That’s it for this blog, folks. Sorry it’s such a long one – I shall restrain myself in future. Ciao! Adiós! And farewell for now!

– Merlyn

Bursary Day pics 008

Jono, master choreographer. A portrait.