Last Wednesday Year 4 went on a school trip to the Bristol Hippodrome to see My Fair Lady. When we got there we went on a tour all around the theatre; we even got to go onto the stage, which is enormous (one of the largest stages outside London!) During our tour we went backstage and saw lots of props waiting to be used. For My Fair Lady, they had masses of baskets of flowers. We went to the fly stage where the scenery stages happen. We learnt lots of interesting facts on our tour. Many years ago one of the huge chandeliers had been taken to Birmingham Hippodrome and although Bristol asked for it back, Birmingham said they wanted to keep it, which we thought was unfair.
We also saw an applause box that was used a long time ago; actors came off the main stage and took their bows in a side box so that the scenery and props on the main stage could be changed more quickly. We visited the seating areas and found out how the poor people had to queue in the rain outside and then go to their seats right at the top. It was quite scary at the top because it was on a steep slant (which they call a ‘rake’). When Princess Diana visited, she sat in box Q to watch Wayne Sleep dance. They put carpet in the first toilet cubicle especially for her, but she never needed to use it! We enjoyed going into the boxes but some of them don’t have a very good view of the stage because they face the audience. Back then it was more important that other people in the theatre knew you were important enough to be in a box, rather than having a good view of the stage. The theatre is Grade 2 listed so layout and seats can’t be changed very much.
After our amazing tour, we were extremely lucky to meet Conner Vickery, who was one of Mrs Millard’s past students who was dancing in the show! Conner also brought Pete Cottell to meet us – he was Professor Henry Higgins in the show – we chatted to them both and told them to ‘break a leg’! On our way back from lunch we bumped into two more actors – Craig Rees, playing Freddie Eynsford-Hill, who falls in love with Eliza, and another man who came on stage later on stilts. After a delicious lunch and a walk, we settled down to watch My Fair Lady. Erin’s Godfather played Alfred Doolittle. The performance was excellent and very exciting. We really enjoyed having slush puppies or ices creams in the interval. We had such a fun day.