“When staying in Pitlochry during the early part of the war, I chanced to see a stately house with a fairly large garden, quite close to the town. I at once realised that here my dream theatre might well be established in this fashionable resort right in the heart of Scotland”…
John Stewart, reproduced from the 1951 Programme
Extract from 50 Glorious Years, 1951 to 2001 - on sale in the Festival shop.
Since the ‘Theatre in the Hills’ was founded in 1951, and every year since, what happens behind the scenes at 19:51 has hardly changed. Perhaps some terminology but little else. If you were to journey backstage nine minutes before curtain up - what would you discover?
At 19:51, the cast have four minutes. Four minutes before they must be on stage or in the wings ready to go. If you’re part of the cast for this year’s production of Little Shop Of Horrors, you’ll more than likely wind-down your warm-up for fingers and throat. Others might still be in wardrobe, where they will be completing a small repair to a costume. Some will be finishing application of their own makeup or making a final adjustment to a wig. Some actors observe personal rituals. Some perform a few final physical stretches. Some will take a final draw before stubbing out a cigarette or sipping a light refreshment. Some switch off their ipod, jump up and down, shake the tension out. Some prefer not to say anything. Some pace, breathe, listen, compose.
Prompted into action by the five minute call, that goes ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your five minute call, five minutes please. Thank you,’ Sound, Lighting, Stage Management and Technicians will be moving into their start positions, doing last minute checks to equipment and props. We work to be ready five minutes before you!
If you’re Front of House, the auditorium has been opened for some time and they'll be anxious to make sure everyone is seated and comfortable. The Box Office team will be processing last minute payments and handing out tickets. The bar will be taking interval drink orders.
Since 1951 little has changed. May it long continue!