Upstairs Up and Running

So now for the second time in my life I’m running a theatre. It sometimes feels like I’m splashing around in the ocean shouting at people on the beach to stay out because it’s really too cold and not fun at all. I have to admit that at times it wasn’t very fun, like the morning I spent laying cables through the crawlspace above the theatre. At its highest it’s about 1.2m and at its lowest about 80cm and all through it are crossbeams and air vents. The smallest gap I had to get through was about 40cm high. All caked in a thick layer of dust. I emerged filthy and exulted in my accomplishment. Then I realised I’d laid one cables back to front. A part of me died.

But after all the drilling, painting, banging, sawing, hanging, counting, winding, lifting and carrying done by so many people… it’s done.

And I think she* looks fantastic. I’d stack her up against other theatre in town. Sure, she may not have the most seats and the operator’s view isn’t great, but what an audience gets is premium. An intimate experience… only four rows of seating and raked at 30cm. Ten rigged lights with the option of more and a beautiful sound system. A projector rigged up and a screen so we can do movie nights or add multi-media. Space is the only major problem; we’ve got a lot of excess equipment to store.

I think that’s enough of me raving about great the theatre is. I learned a lot doing this, especially about sound equipment, which has always been a weakness. I’ll hopefully get round to posting some informative pieces about that.

We opened on Thursday the 18th with Stuart Lightbody, master of sleight of hand, doing his show Elegant Deceptions; then we have an awesome party with Pants on Fire! talking shit – the audience were struggling to hold their glasses they were laughing so hard.

On Saturday we had Siya Is Your Anarchist. I didn’t know what to expect – he’s very underground and the show was fascinating. Electronica and pop cut with videography and dance. Small audience though so I’m looking forward to having him back so more people get a chance to check him out.

There are so many projects coming into the space that I’m struggling to market them all. I want to shove the flyers into people’s hands and shout, “Everything! See Everything!” but that is definitely very, very rude.

Big love to everyone who helped make this happen…

JK

* Like a ship, a theatre can take you places. And, gendered-language reformers be damned, I think the neutral is grossly inadequate when applied to something you put so much time and care into. Sure I could have gone with ‘He’ and not doing so can be construed as sexist, or at the very least as indicative of the pervasive power of the patriarchy. But I didn’t.

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About Jon Keevy

Jon Keevy is a writer of stories and plays and also runs Alexander Bar's Upstairs Theatre.
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