June is busting out all over! - Croydon Blog 5 - June 2019

June is almost over and the rain we’ve endured has reminded us more of April showers rather than the start of summer, but in panto world things are literally busting out into full bloom!

The Imagine Theatre team all ready to go on a site visit! L-R Sarah Boden (Imagine Business & Marketing Director), Mark Walters (Designer); Steve Boden (Imagine Managing Director), Dave Edmunds (Imagine Head of Operations), Laura (graphics), Laura Taylor (Imagine Production Consultant), Greg (Fairfield Halls Technical) and George Wood (Director)

The Imagine Theatre team all ready to go on a site visit! L-R Sarah Boden (Imagine Business & Marketing Director), Mark Walters (Designer); Steve Boden (Imagine Managing Director), Dave Edmunds (Imagine Head of Operations), Laura (graphics), Laura Taylor (Imagine Production Consultant), Greg (Fairfield Halls Technical) and George Wood (Director)

The most exciting thing that’s almost in full bloom is the Fairfield Halls building itself. There’s still significant work to be done, but when we went for a site visit on 19th June we couldn’t believe how much the building had progressed since we last saw it.

High vis, hard hats and PPE abound, we headed off to explore the building!

High vis, hard hats and PPE abound, we headed off to explore the building!

Most of the scaffolding is now down and most excitingly the painters have moved in – a sure sign that work is nearing completion and focus in some areas is starting to move onto the decoration and cosmetics. It’s an absolutely beautiful building, and the amazing central staircase in the main foyer really is a location fit for Cinderella to lose her glass slipper on!

Last time we stood here, we were surrounded by scaffolding!

Last time we stood here, we were surrounded by scaffolding!

The foyer scaffolding is all down, and the painters have moved in!

The foyer scaffolding is all down, and the painters have moved in!

For the first time we were able to walk onto the main stage area of the Phoenix Concert Hall, where the panto is being staged. When we took the decision not to use the Ashcroft Theatre but to play the panto in the much bigger concert hall auditorium, all we were able to see was ground plans. We couldn’t walk on the stage, and we couldn’t visualise the auditorium as it was all covered in scaffolding. Now that almost all of the scaffolding has been removed it’s a completely different picture and we’re so excited to see just how amazing the space really is. It’s quite something.

The Phoenix Concert Hall is quite a space! And it’s slowly being revealed in all its glory from behind the scaffolding.

The Phoenix Concert Hall is quite a space! And it’s slowly being revealed in all its glory from behind the scaffolding.

There are a few remaining pieces of scaffolding, mainly with painters working from them

There are a few remaining pieces of scaffolding, mainly with painters working from them

Soaking in the atmosphere of the space, the Imagine and Fairfield Halls teams can finally see the space and understand how magical Marks scenic designs are going to look

Soaking in the atmosphere of the space, the Imagine and Fairfield Halls teams can finally see the space and understand how magical Marks scenic designs are going to look

The other project about to bloom is Mark Walters incredible set design. We know we keep on about it, but it is truly a thing of genius. The world of Cinderella that Mark has created is something to behold, and for the first time we were able to talk the team at Fairfield through Mark’s ideas and reveal his white card model. They were speechless. What we can tell you is that the design requires over 550m of LED tape, and is completely unique in the world of pantomime. The white card model just takes your breath away. We did take a sneaky picture of it… but unfortunately Mark himself got in the way so you can only see the edges *wink*

Mark Walters, designer of the panto, shows Ninon (FH), Greg (FH), Emily (FH), Dave (Imagine), Chantelle (FH), Laura (Imagine) and Steve (Imagine) the white card model of the set

Mark Walters, designer of the panto, shows Ninon (FH), Greg (FH), Emily (FH), Dave (Imagine), Chantelle (FH), Laura (Imagine) and Steve (Imagine) the white card model of the set

We’re now in the stages of the set starting to be built. It won’t be long before the first pieces of metal are being welded and the first canvas pieces being stretched.

The Marketing team at Fairfield are also ‘busting out’ with the venue’s very first brochure about to doormat. They have an incredible first season lined up, with so many events that the Imagine team want to go and see! It’s the real sign of progress within the venue, knowing that it’s now less than 3 months until the public can walk through the door and the first events take place.

Mark Walters (Designer), Steve Boden (Managing Director, Imagine Theatre) and Laura Taylor (Production Consultant, Imagine Theatre) standing in the Royal Box of the Phoenix Concert Hall, scenic plans in hand, discussing the positioning of the band

Mark Walters (Designer), Steve Boden (Managing Director, Imagine Theatre) and Laura Taylor (Production Consultant, Imagine Theatre) standing in the Royal Box of the Phoenix Concert Hall, scenic plans in hand, discussing the positioning of the band

Finally, Sunday 30th June sees the first ‘scheduled event’ in the Fairfield Halls calendar with the children’s auditions for Cinderella. We’re expecting to see hundreds of children all bursting into dance and showing us their talents. We love children’s auditions days as the standards are always incredible. Our auditions are open to EVERY child from EVERY background and take place at Braithwaite Hall. Registration is from 9.30am for a 10am start. As we are expecting a massive turn out, please be aware that we will cap it at the first 350 to turn up, so make sure you’re there early if you’re planning to audition! More details can be found about it at http://www.imaginetheatre.co.uk/pantomimes/2019-cinderella-croydon

So, we move onwards into July, where we expect set builds to be well under way, costume designs to be finalised and commissioned and further progress made on the building, script, casting and marketing. It’s an exciting time!

Photos by Sarah Boden from Imagine Theatre