Sunday, 21 October 2012

2012 Heritage Open Day - 9th September 2012

Having A Good Old Day at the City Varieties

Both Leeds City Varieties and The Grand Theatre opened its doors to the public. I've visited The Grand Theatre a couple of years ago on a Heritage day and had a lot of fun there!

I first stopped at this wonderful Victorian music hall. I haven't visited the music hall since 2001 thus it was the first time visiting since the refurbishment the venue had undergone.

I sat in the stalls to listen to extracts from Good Old Days. Afterwards we explored backstage including the dressing rooms and Emerald room. We looked at auditorium down below from the flies!!

I explored the dress and upper circle where the latter I shared my memories visiting the City Varieties in the past. In the Circle Bar there are photographs. In the Circle Bar there are photographs from past performances, notably the Good Old Days, and old flyers. Got some confectionery which was about to go out of date dirt cheap. 

A performance at City Varieties Music Hall - Leeds
A performance at City Varieties Music Hall

Paid a Visit to the Good Old Grand!

I then made a short visit to The Grand Theatre I wasn't planning to stay longer but ended up doing. Because of Phantom playing in the theatre we were restricted with access to backstage and taking photographs was a no go! Really Useful Company, which produces the musical, are very strict with copyright. However it was decent for the company tour manager to let us look at wigs, costumes, props etc and let us peep in a couple of principal's dressing rooms. There were even photos of how the Phantom's make up is applied.

This was unexpected, an added bonus to the Heritage Day and, more importantly, to a big Phantom fan:) I was even allowed to touch some of the costumes and it's incredible how heavy they are! It made me appreciate how much work and planning goes into these performances day in and day out. I will soon hit my 50th visit to the Phantom at the end of September in Edinburgh. I saw it 10 times whilst it's on in Leeds:)

The backstage, on this occasion, was a lot more restricted than the normal tour. So one will need to do a public tour (available via Leeds Grand Theatre website) However I was grateful to experience what we were allowed to see.

I spoke to representatives from The Grand Theatre, Opera North and Northern Ballet. I'm interested in joining friends of Opera North as I enjoy watching the company's productions. Besides I want to support the in house opera company as their government funding has been significantly cut. In the meantime I bought a subscription package for next season's operas. I've been invited to a launch event for the Spring 2013 Opera Season where 200 years of the composer, Benjamin Britten, will be celebrated (Unfortunately I was too ill to attend that evening).

I entered some competitions and won some free concert tickets at the Howard Assembly Hall during September. In all it was a fun heritage day visiting two theatres. I look forward to visiting the City Varieties in October 2012 for a concert and many regular visits to The Grand Theatre.

Next year's Heritage Open Day I would like to visit somewhere different but will return to both theatres on a future Heritage Open Days.

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