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The MARAs

Yesterday I had the honour of co-presenting the innaugural Manchester Arndale Retailer Awards (henceforth referred to as the MARAs!).  The swanky event was held at the National Football Museum just over the road from Manchester Arndale and I had the pleasure of working with Kate Lawler as my co-host. The evening began with a drinks reception before the guests were invited downstairs to find their tables decorated resplendently.  I then took to the stagChris & Katee and introduced the evening, welcoming the Centre director of Manchester Arndale, David Allinson, to come up and say a few words.  After that, dinner was served.  I didn’t get to eat at the posh tables that had been set out on the ground floor of the museum, I had to hide away with Kate in our dressing room!  Still, we were treated to dinner whilst we planned our shenanigans for the Awards part of the night.  Kate was an absolute dream to work with; witty, easy going, not at all precious and very down to earth.  Believe me, I can’t say that of quite a few of the celebs I’ve worked with (naming no names for fear of law-suits…)!  BManchester Arndaley the time the Awards were due to start we’d rehearsed our little skits but left enough in the locker for a bit of spontaneity if needed.

The MARAs Ceremony itself seemed to go really quickly, time flies when you’re having fun!  There were 17 Awards in total and they were to celebrate and recognise the Store of the Year in various categories (Womenswear, Children’s, Technology & Media etc) plus some independant retailers and, finally, the Service with a Smile Award for one lucky person who won a trip to Venice!

Seeing as the evening was predominantly about fashion there were lots of very trendy folk there.  I asked a group of people if the Top Shop staff dared to wear Next clothes or if the Kurt Geiger lot were wearing shoes from Aldo.  I was met with a vehement response each time with them all sticking strongly by their own brands!  That is great for each company and also great for Manchester Arndale as it proves it’s on top of it’s game and leads the way for Manchester in fashion.

After the official part of the evening came to a close I said a few words and opened the dance floor up for the celebrations to begin.  Kate and I snuck off backstage for a quick post show drink before she shot off home and I headed back out to grace (or rather disgrace) the dance floor with my presence.  All in all a great night.  Well done to all the winners and commiserations to those who lost out, but I’m sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves – I certainly did!

Cardboard GroupFun and games backstage at the National Football Museum (the only cardboard cutout here is Kate Lawler)

Tesco Phone Shop Conference

 

Hosting the largest conference the Phone Shop has ever had. Venue: The NEC, Birmingham Photo by Scott Dennis Photography www.scottdennis.co.uk

Just a quick doff of my cap to all the guys at Tesco Phone Shop.  I’ve had the pleasure of hosting another one of their conferences this week, this time at the NEC in Birmingham.  I’ve worked for Tesco a few times now and they’re always such lovely folk.  The only downside with conferences is that the days are painfully long!  I started work at 7:30am and didn’t finish until around 10:30 at night with only a 45 minute break!

I work for a lot of different companies over the course of a year and generally they are in a wide variety of industries, many of which I wouldn’t ever come into contact with in my everyday life.  Because of this I genuinely find dipping my toe into their world a fascinating affair.  I know very little about mobile phones and the trends in the way people are using them but after a day of presentations I now know a bit more.  Similarly, I knew nothing about British Gas or Boots or Hewlett Packard until I worked for them to name but a few.  Variety really is the spice of life for me!

Anyway, the days events atTesco-Logo the NEC all went very well and the delegates were all up for a giggle and a bit of fun.  John Culshaw was my special guest and he gave a cracking specially written 20 minute spot full of his most famous impressions!  He was a really nice chap and very easy to work with.  In the evening (after my 45 minute break to shower and get changed!) we had a swanky sit down meal at the Hilton Metropole which incorporated an awards ceremony.  Then I finally had a chance to let my hair down, have a few drinks and socialise with the Tesco guys.  Needless to say, from this point on ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’…

So yes, another lovely gig with Tesco and the guys at TMB.  It’s gigs like this that always reinforce how much I love my job – happy Chris!

Hosting the largest conference the Phone Shop has ever had. Venue: The NEC, Birmingham Photo by Scott Dennis Photography www.scottdennis.co.uk

Photos by Scott Dennis Photography – www.scottdennis.co.uk

Rock the Night Away – Sign Health

I do feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends. For the last few days I’ve been working with some of them on 3 charity concerts. I’ve mentioned on here in the past about the times I’ve worked with Pippa Gearing (producer, conductor, musical minx) and Sarah Sendell (sound engineer of marvellous repute and Sign2Singdirty mouth) and this time has been no different. It should be illegal to love your job this much! Throw in the marvellous singers The Rockabellas, Britain’s leading contemporary choir, Rock Choir, plus loads of acts who were new to me and we had a sublime mix of entertainment. Chloe Reynolds sang her self penned songs beautifully and had a real rapport with the audience. George House was greeted with whoops from the young ladies in the near sell-out auditoriums, Hannah White delivered her sets with aplomb and The Honey Ants were quirky and very entertaining!

The Rockabellas were silly enough to ask me to sing with them again for a second year (a moment of insanity on their part, I’m sure!). We decided to perform Razzle Dazzle from the musical Chicago. Due to my background as a professional magician I decided to incorporate some illusions into the routine. Now I’ve sung in no end of shows before, I’ve danced in no end of shows before and I’ve performed magic at countless gigs over the years. However, I’ve never had to sing, dance AND do magic all at the same time! It was a nightmare to learn and for most of the build up to the show I was forgetting at least one of the words, steps or sleights! Having said that, though, I’m proud to say that we nailed it every night and the audience gave us great feedback. They even clapped each illusion even though we were still singing, that’s something I’ve never experienced before.

The shows were raising money for Sign Health, the Deaf Health charity. Last week the charity ran a national deaf awareness and fundraising campaign called Sign2Sing which saw over 200,000 people taking part in the event, all singing and signing the fabulous songs written by Bottle Top music. Our last 2 pieces of the evening were two songs themselves, Get Up And Sign which was written specifically for school kids to be able to learn the signing along with the lyrics, and As One which was the actually single released into the UK charts.

Overall the nights were a huge success and managed to raise a lot of money for Sign Health. When I find out the final figures (hopefully next week) I’ll tweet the total!

Thank you to everyone that gave up their time (many of whom did so free of charge) to help organise the show, run it, perform in it or watch it. Makes you proud to be British!

RTNA Wycombe groupBack row (l to r): Linda Petrons, George House, Sarah Lindsay, Pippa Gearing, Lizzie Deane,

Chloe Reynolds, Jayne Fletcher

Front row (l to r): The Honey Ants (John & Rebecca), Chris Clarkson, Katie Seath

Sleeping Beauty – putting the panto to bed

Suit of ArmourSo another panto season is over.  Theatre is a wonderful industry to work in and never is it more apparent than when you’re working intensely for 11 weeks with a group of people thrown together (albeit thrown together carefully!) who get very little time off, have to squeeze in copious amounts of performances and still come out of it the greatest of friends.  This year has been no different and I must pay deference to everyone involved in Sleeping Beauty this Christmas at Harrogate Theatre.Opening

As previous readers of this blog will know, we had a rather shaky start on opening night when we had a very ill-timed power cut meaning we had to cancel the show half way through Act 2.  Well since then we haven’t looked back.  I’ve no idea what the official figures are but for the 3½ weeks over Christmas we had nothing but sell out performances.  Indeed, apart from the 3 midweek shows in the final week (when the schools were back but we still managed to pack out roughly 75% of the house) there weren’t really any spare seats up until the end of the run.  Remarkable.  I’ve never worked in a theatre that understands its audiences so well (for example will put on a show for just 30 people much to the detriment of the production etc) and, indeed, where the audiences are so supportive of their theatre.

Harrogate Theatre truly is a special place to work. We were lucky this year in that we didn’t have much illness in the company, only a couple of sore throats and the occasional bad back to speak of, and we didn’t have any major technical issues at all.  In that respect this blog will have very little gossip or Hornyscandal in it so I apologise if you’re reading it wanting to find out some gory details!

The final week of the show becomes a lot easier as we drop down to only having one show a day – almost like a ‘proper’ theatre schedule!  Because of this we start having our end-of-run parties and do’s.  Tuesday after the show came down was Panto Quiz Night.  This year I wrote it and it was all about the theatre and our panto – not just a common or garden quiz night!  All questions were accessible to all participants as long as they were observant!  For example, ‘How many chandeliers are there in the auditorium?’ was one question.  ‘What is the highest lighting cue number in Act 1?’ was another.  On Thursday we had Band Night.  It’s a bit like karaoke but with the band playing instead of backing tracks.  Lindsay Scigliano, David Kendra and Technical Manager, Maurice Stewart, all did themselves proud, plus Duty Manager, Ash Diaz, played a song on her sax (she’d started learning it 6 weeks earlier with the goal of playing something on Band Night).  Finally, on the Saturday night we all went out for a curry in town.  Needless to say all of these evenings ended with late night drinks in various watering holes across Harrogate.  Actually, there probably is some gossip I could tell you after all……!

This year I’ve had friends travel to see the show from Manchester, Doncaster, MapsLeicester, Farnborough, Worcester, Cardiff, Newcastle, Bradford, St Neots, Welshpool, Sunderland, Oxford, Huntingdon, London, York, Lincolnshire, Sheffield, Northampton and Huddersfield.  Thanks guys!  Your support is very much appreciated and I’ll try to meet up with all of you at some point in 2014!

So there we go, another panto signed off into the archives.  A big thank you to all the staff at Harrogate Theatre including the cast, crew, muso’s, Team Snooze and Team Slumber, the admin team, the creatives and all front of house staff for making it a year to remember.  Special thanks to Emma Tugman (my landlady for 3 months), Nick Lacey (my MD and regular fellow post-show socialite) and Tim Stedman (my dressing room buddy and, it seems, BFF).

Roll on 2014……        

Brimham  Cake

RegencyP.S.  My annual golf game at Rudding Park against the Exec Producer, Kevin Jamieson, ended with the opposite result to last year.  In 2013 I won with the last putt on the 18th, this year he won with the last putt on the 18th!

My 50th Blood Donation

So I have recently accomplished a major achievement.  At the age of 34 I have made my 50th donation of the red stuff.  I’ve been giving blood since I first became eligible aged 18 (although you can start at 17 these days) and I’ve made a point of donating as often as I’m allowed.  My job has gotten in the way some of the time due to the amount I have to tour, but I’ve always been able to find centres – I reckon I’ve given Eye - 50th Donationin about 18 different cities across the UK!

I’m very fortunate that I’ve never had to have a blood transfusion and neither have any of my family, although I have got a couple of friends who have needed their circulatory system topping up for various reasons in recent years.  I didn’t need some hideous life event to go and start to donate blood, I just picked up from where my mum left off.  I have many childhood memories of having to go along to Cosby Village Hall whilst she donated and (although I remember feeling incredibly bored waiting for her) it instilled in me the importance of doing a good deed that costs me nothing more than an hour of my time, it really could be a matter of life or death for some poor person.

I suppose the point of this blog isn’t to brag about receiving my Gold Award (although I am terribly proud of it!), more to try to convince more people to do the decent thing and Give Blood.  I don’t have any tear jerking case studies to regale you with and I’m not trying to guilt you into anything.  I just want you to seriously consider it, 96% of the UK population rely on the 4% of us who donate.  You can help Save a Life.Give Blood logo

Sleeping Beauty – we’re open… eventually!

Well what a week that has been!  Tech weeks in theatre are always long, arduous, energy sapping, mentally draining affairs but nevertheless they are necessities.  At Harrogate Theatre this is no different, however there does seem to be such a strong spirit throughout the company that that was a less traumatic week than most!  Tech week (for those of you who don’t know) is when the show gets put on the stage for the first time and all the technical aspects are added to it, like lighting, sound effects, pyro’s, costumes and whatnot.  For us cast members this means we basically have to stay standing still for ages whilst lights are pointed at us!  We have to alter where we stand from time to time as we’ve suddenly found out we have more space than we thought or, conversely, that a piece of set is bigger than we expected and therefore haven’t got room to do what we had rehearsed.  The crew all have similar problems.

Monday morning started off with a power cut.  Great.  We lost the first hour of our tech as we had no lighting or sound.  We also had 2 more power cuts later in the day.  Really not very helpful from Northern PowerGrid (particularly as they just passed the buck).  Anyhow, we all worked like Trojans and managed to make up the lost time.  We managed to finish the tech by Thursday afternoon and so set about our first dress rehearsal on Thursday evening.  It went very well from my point of view (especially as I was doing dance routines in my rather sizeable costumes for the first time) and we were all pleased to have gotten SB Tall Picturethrough it.  On Friday afternoon we had our second dress rehearsal which, although technically it was a cleaner show, I personally had a worse performance than the previous night.  Let’s not forget, though, this is the reason we have dress rehearsals – it gives us a chance to iron out any creases and get things just right before we open!

Speaking of which, after the dress rehearsal we then had about 2 hours to have some food, calm our nerves and get ready for our first public performance.  There was a veritable buzz backstage as we were all dying to get going!  Most shows benefit from having an audience but panto really does need it.  There is so much interaction in a panto that although our director and DSM made a great job of shouting responses to us in rehearsal, nothing beats having a 500 strong auditorium shouting “It’s behind you” at nearly illegal decibel levels!  So as we all ran around giving out opening night cards and saying break a leg to each other we could hear the excited sell out audience filing into the auditorium.

We had started.

Act One was going down a storm!  The audience were loving it and cackling away like no one’s business.  The jokes were all going down a treat and the songs were getting great ovations.  At the interval I was chatting to Tim Stedman (who plays Silly Sidney) in our Dressing Room and we were saying that as opening nights go, this had to be one of the best!  Act Two began with a bang, we were able to pick up from where we had left off in terms of intensity and we could sense the audience were with us every step of the way.

Then it happened.

The curse from earlier in the week befell us again.  A power cut.  Katy Dean (playing Tom) was on stage when the lights went out.  The show was stopped and we were all sent to our Dressing Rooms.  We waited for 20 minutes (in darkness, I might add, as our lights didn’t work either) in case the supply came back on but unfortunately to no avail.  We had to cancel the rest of the show.  I’m not sure who was more gutted, us or the audience!  They had all been given a complimentary drink at the bar whilst they were waiting (fortunately the Front of House electricity was from a different supply and therefore not affected) but then had the bad news broken to them.  They will all either get tickets to a different performance or a refund but, fair play to them, there was not a single complaint, whinge or cross word from any of them.  This, incidentally, was one of the reasons I wanted to come back to Harrogate for a second year, the audiences are incredibly supportive of their theatre.  They all knew that Northern PowerGrid were the real panto villains.

So it was a bit of an anti-climax really.  We had all brought posh clothes in with us to go out for drinks after the show but we all felt rather deflated.  Opening night had been deferred to Saturday…

So, on Saturday we got ourselves geared up again.  We knew that ¾ of the show worked, we then needed to get through the remaining ¼!  Fortunately we had another sell out house that really wanted to be entertained and who were up for a good time.  We got all the way through the show and our feedback so far has been superb.  Happy days!  Northern PowerGrid have assured us that the problem will be solved before the next performance (something to do with faulty underground cabling) so if you have got tickets already booked then fear not – Northern PowerGrid have spoken!

I normally finish these blogs by thanking all the cast, crew, office staff, ushers, bar staff, cleaners etc for their hard work in getting the show up and running.  I still want to do that but I also want to thank the exceptional people of Harrogate who supported us on Friday night.  It’s YOU GUYS that make theatre what it is.

The cast enjoy a toast after the first (complete!) showThe cast enjoy a toast backstage after the first (complete!) show.

(L to R) Phil Stewart, Lindsay Scigliano, Katy Dean, Tim Stedman, Chris Clarkson, Steve Huison, Amy Walsh

Sleeping Beauty – Rehearsal Week 2

So 2 weeks into rehearsals for Sleeping Beauty and the show is now really starting to take shape.  It’s a twist on the conventional tale Sleeping Beauty and I reckon it’ll be a real hit!  It is fab being back at Harrogate Theatre and working with so many friends from last year.  There is a brilliant family feel in the building and it genuinely is one of the best places I’ve ever worked, I’ve certainly never been more comfortable in a theatre!

It all started back on the 28th October when we met up in the bar of the theatre for our meet and greet.  Out of the 7 cast members 4 were from last year, 1 was a previous panto performer (whom I worked with before) and 2 newbies.  All the stage management team and the creative team were the same as last year so it was more of a reunion for me than a meet andSB-GroupShot greet!  From last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk we’ve got Katy Dean back as Tom (Principal Boy) and Phil Stewart as Wizard Roy (dabbling as a goodie this year rather than a baddie!).  Panto in Harrogate wouldn’t be complete without the mercurial talents of Tim Stedman playing hapless inventor Silly SidneyKing Keith is being played by Steve Huison who was last in panto in Harrogate 7 years ago (ironically in Sleeping Beauty!), with newcomers Amy Walsh playing Princess Aurora and Canadian actress Lindsay Scigliano giving her Carabosse.  Sitting in the (rather unsafe and liable to fall over) Director’s Chair is Phil Lowe once again, injecting the show with his usual enthusiasm and irreverent sense of humour.

We’ve nearly finished blocking the show and we’ll be looking to do our first run next Wednesday evening.  There is a great selection of songs by MD Nick Lacey and our choreographer, Amie Liddle, has clearly built up some sort of dislike for us over Harrogate Theatrethe past 12 months as she’s set some really hard (yet fantastic looking) routines for us to sweat to twice a day!  As ever I don’t want to say anything specific about the show as I don’t want to give away any of the surprises that we’ve got in store.  Rest assured we’ve got quite a few up our sleeves!

Before I go off and learn my lines (I need to say that in case Director Phil is reading)  I need to finish this blog post by saying a huge thank you to Box Office Manager, Kerry Maddison, and our DSM, Laura Burgess.  On Friday morning I (rather stupidly) sat in the Director’s Chair and fell backwards out of it, sending a table covered in scripts, CDs, coffee and biscuits flying.  I also thwacked my head on the floor with such force it required a hospital visit.  Kerry took me in her car then mopped my brow whilst we waited in A&E (fabulous service from the staff at Harrogate District Hospital, by the way).  Thank you guys!!!

My latest Bikram Yoga stint

This morning I completed my latest stint of Bikram Yoga and I feel great.  I don’t really blog about my private life but I wanted to be able to share this as it does have such a profound effect on my health and wellbeing.

 

I first started at Bikram Yoga Manchester back in the summer of 2010 on a bit of a whim/dare but I quickly grew to love it.  I’m not much of a believer in all things spiritual (except for karma which I certainly do believe in!) but Bikram Yoga really does help you to find yourself whilst helping you to stay fit and healthy.  For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s basically a 90 BikramYogaManchesterminute yoga class in a room that’s heated to 105°F (that’s around 40°C).  The dry heat helps to warm your muscles up making you more pliable whilst giving you a good chance to sweat out all of your toxins.  It really isn’t a class that you go to to look attractive, everyone sweats buckets!  Anyway, I’ve always struggled with flexibility and balance, 2 things which Bikram Yoga has helped me to improve greatly.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to touch my toes with straight legs but the strides I’ve made in improving my general flexibility have been great.  Weirdly (as someone who has regularly worked on stilts in the past) I’ve never had good balance.  Standing on one leg is one of the hardest things I do in class, so much so that I have to go on the front row to stare at my own eyes in the mirror – if I go any further back then people get in my way and I can’t do it which is most annoying as I’d much prefer to be hidden on the back row in each class!

 

One of the other aspects of Bikram Yoga that endears me to it is the focus that it gives me.  This works in two parts, firstly when you’re in class you can forget everything else for 90 minutes and just hone in on what you’re trying to personally achieve in that room.  I’m a workaholic so having a valid reason to switch off that I don’t feel guilty about is wonderful.  Secondly, when I am between acting jobs it gives me a focal point in the day.  It’s all too easy for some actors (or anyone else who doesn’t have a 9 to 5 type job) to just become a recluse when they don’t have a show to perform or a programme to film.  I like to fill my days as best I can and so having a class to go to not only helps me map out my day but it also helps stave off any guilt I might get for not achieving something positive that day.  It all adds up!

 

So yes, I can’t speak highly enough of Bikram Yoga or indeed of the gym I go to to practice it in Manchester.

 

3 things I love about Bikram Yoga:

1)       How energised I feel for the rest of the day

2)       How well it helps me to sleep at night

3)       The way it helps me stay fit and healthy

 

3 things I don’t like about Bikram Yoga:

1)       I hate it when the person next to me has got their towel all ruffled up or their label hanging out on their gym kit – I get a little bit OCD but can’t tell them!

2)       People who start a posture before the instructor has said to – wait for the rest of us!

3)       That’s it really, I can’t think of a third…

 

So I’ve now completed 70 classes in total and I’m hungry to do more when I get back from panto in January.  If you fancy giving it a go then I highly recommend it.  Just remember this bit of advice   –   ‘Lock the knee’!

The Summer of 2013

Well it’s been a while since my last Blog post, not because I’ve had nothing to say, more because I’ve not really had the time to write anything!  I’ve had a lovely summer and this year it hasn’t been all work, work, work!  One of my best friends got married and so that took up a decent chunk of time (what with all the Stag do arrangements and whatnot) and there’ve been quite a few ‘big’ birthdays in 2013 so for the first time in ages I’ve been partying as much as I’ve been working!  It’s been a nice change to be honest.

As someone who doesn’t really like holidays (I’m a workaholic and being away makes me irrationally uneasy!) I finally succumbed to my girlfriend and we’ve been away a few times together.  She is Head of Wardrobe on the UK Tour of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (incidentally, it’s a seriously good show if you get a chance to go and see it!) and so our time together has been limited.  To be fair, for the last 5 years one of us has pretty much always been on tour so it’s nothing new!  I’ve been away to Normandy, Brittany and Majorca so far this year with a long weekend in Dublin coming up later this week for our joint birthdays (mine is Friday and hers is Sunday).

I’ve also managed to squeeze some really cool jobs in, too.  I’ve been playing Captain Haddock in Pirate Pandemonium throughout the school holidays in different towns all across England, Scotland and Wales, I wrote and performed a bespoke one-man-show in Carrickfergus (Northern Ireland), I’ve filmed a series of how-to guides for appliance giant Hoover in Liverpool, I filmed an online advert for new safety management solution company Skipper in Manchester, I performed my magic show for a few days at Old Trafford during The Ashes, hosted the Bradford Music Festival, and helped open the new station concourse at Kings Cross with Boris Johnson!  All in all a very busy summer!

Anyway, panto is now but a week and a half away so I’m enjoying my last few days at home before I disappear off to Harrogate for 12 weeks.  Really looking forward to being back there again, there are 4 of the 7 cast from last year’s show returning so I’ll be renewing my on stage relationship with the wonderful Tim Stedman again.  Of the 3 newbies I’ve worked with one, Steve Huison, before on The Royal Today so I’ll know pretty much everyone from the off.  All the creatives and stage management team are the same so it’ll be a bit of a reunion over coffee and cakes on Monday 28th October!

Redd’s Commercial

What a whirlwind few days!  These are some of the reasons why I both love and hate my profession, I love how varied and how off the cuff it can be but I hate how it doesn’t allow me to plan ahead!   Allow me to explain this by talking through my last few days….

Friday – 5:30pm
I’m away visiting my Dad and we’ve just finished playing golf (modesty forbids me to tell you who won in a landslide victory).  My agent calls and says a casting director that I know quite well has phoned asking why my agent hadn’t submitted for a beer commercial that I would be ideally suited for.  My agent tells the casting director I’m unavailable to go to the casting so didn’t put me up for it.  The casting director suggests I could film myself doing some ‘street magic in the style of Derren Brown’ and email it to her instead.  Fortunately I have a deck of cards with me so I go out with my Dad into his garden and film a short 5 minute sequence of me performing some magic.

Saturday – 10am
I upload the film to Dropbox and email the casting director a link.

Sunday – 9:32am
I’m out Rock Climbing at Cheddar Gorge in Somerset with my girlfriend.  Casting director texts asking a couple of background questions.

Sunday – 10:49am
Whilst I’m belaying my girlfriend as she is half way up a craggy rock face the casting director texts again to confirm that I got the job and I have to fly to Romania the next day!  I manage to not drop the rope holding up my girlfriend…

Monday
Fly from Manchester to Bucharest via Istanbul.  Arrive at my hotel at 1am.

Tuesday – 6am (that’s 4am UK time!)
Get picked up and taken to the set.  We film until 8:15pm then I go out to see what I can of the Bucharest night life for 4 hours.  Basically I went to a load of bars!

Wednesday – 7am (so 5am UK time)
I get picked up and taken to the airport to fly home.

Wednesday – 3:45pm
I walk back in my front door.

So, in the space of less than 5 days I’ve auditioned for a role, got the part and flown to Romania and back to film it.  You never know what adventure is around the corner….

I need to say a big thank you to all the Romanians that looked after me so well.  I’m always embarrassed that we British generally speak very infrequently in other languages.  Everyone on set was able to converse with me, the only Brit, so fluently in English and put us to shame.  Thank you to Andrei for getting me where I needed to be and Mihai for making all the arrangements.  Thank you to fellow cast members Cristina Mihailescu, Ana-Maria Mirica, Delia Tudose, Ionut Florea and Katy Matei for speaking in English all day and making me feel so welcome in Bucharest.  Also I want to thank casting director Tracie Saban at Crocodile Casting for letting me email my audition piece in to help me get the gig!  Superstars the lot of ’em.

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