Have a go at.. A Magic Lantern Tour
This fortnight, guest explorer and have a go hunter Erin tells us about her magical tour of The Theatre Royal.
On a beautiful spring day in March, a friend and I arrived at the box office of the Theatre Royal in Nottingham, for the intriguingly named ‘Magic Lantern Tour’ of this beautiful venue in the heart of the city.
Presented by Ezekial Bone (a renowned story teller who has a passion for the city, its history and its characters), we were met by the man himself and joined a group of fellow tour-goers to explore the behind the scenes history of the Theatre Royal.
Completed in 1865, the theatre has a proud reputation of showing the best in music, theatre and dance – from classic musicals to pantomimes and contemporary stage shows.
It is a building I have much admired since arriving in the city in August last year, standing proud at the top of a hill, its classic pillars catching the light like some momentous Greek offering to the theatre gods – I couldn’t wait to get backstage to see where all the magic is made.
Ezekial in his role as resident ghost brings the history of the theatre to vivid life, as you explore the different spaces within the building. From its grand opening, transforming what was a slum area of the city to a cultural hub, to its changes over the years, including the addition of the Royal Concert Hall in 1982, celebrating 30 years this year.
The Theatre Royal has helped shape theatre history – it was here that Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap premiered in 1952, before moving to London’s West End where it has now been running for 60 years. The production will return to Nottingham in 2013 to mark this special anniversary.
The Magic Lantern Tour really helps to capture the feeling of what it is like to work behind the scenes there. One of my highlights was standing on stage of the Theatre Royal looking out at the seats and seeing the lush green furnishings of the room from a completely new perspective. While on stage we learnt about the many ways the stage had been used over the years – including one rather ambitious performance in which a ship was sunk!
The tour takes place regularly on a Saturday morning, and the next scheduled tours with Mr Bone are on 28 April and 19 May. I definitely recommend it as a way to bring the cultural history of Nottingham to life, it will definitely make you appreciate this great theatre all the more.
Look out for our next have a go adventures which include historic houses and spooky spectres.