Hi everyone and welcome to this weeks  (delayed again) blog post. This week I will be discussing rehearsals, Still Life and Library Protest. So let’s get started.

It is probably obvious to regular readers of my blog that I seem a bit busy and not able to blog on a Sunday. Last week the only day I wasn’t doing anything acting related was Wednesday. All the other nights involved either a rehearsal of a show. Add to that work and you have a very tired Tim. One of the plays is now over (I will talk about that later in this blog post) so I should get some evenings back and start giving my blog and many other aspects of my life more attention.  Just two more plays to go.

Rehearsing for three different plays is harder than I thought. I have three totally different characters to keep alive in my head and be ready to drop into them at the right time. It is proving an interesting challenge. Now ‘Still Life’ is over I can let the character of Johnnie rest for a while and start exploring the characters of Rosencrantz and Lennox. I wonder how professional actors manage it and how they keep up with all their lines.

Because I am so busy with everything that is going on it means I am getting very tired and also not sleeping great which my Fitbit seems to enjoy telling me. When I’m tired things get to me easier. It is as if I am the Millennium Falcon but taken too many hits and energy is low so my shields down and things hurt. I found myself letting small jokey comments get to me during the week and it took a long time to fight through these feelings. I think the at the moment my shields are partially up but I’m running on backup power.

So after the rehearsals it was the actual performances of ‘Still Life’. It wasn’t new to me as we had done the show in October 2015 at Head of Steam, Darlington Railway Museum. Me and a trainWe only did two shows and it seemed to be popular so I was thrilled we were able to do it again but this time it was in a new venue. Yes thats right we were taking it on tour (it’s as close to being on tour as I will get). The venue was Locomotion – The National Railway Museum at Shildon. I had never been before so it was good to have a look around and the setting was brilliant for the show particulate if you were in the audience as you were surrounded by some amazing trains.  I’m not really a big train fanatic but I was impressed with them. I suppose deep down all boys (and some girls) like steam trains. It has to be one of the strangest backstage for an actor as we were in between trains for our backstage area. As I was stood between the trains waiting to go on I couldn’t help but think of the history of the steam train next to me and how it had ended up being the backstage for a play. One of the trains was the actual train used to carry Sir Winston Churchill’s body to the State Funeral.

Still Life

Both shows went really well. I find it interesting how different audiences can be. Friday they seem dot enjoy but were very quiet where as Saturday night they seemed more engaged with the show. I have noticed this before in previous plays that you never get the same type of audience. When performing and you feel that connection with the audience it improves your performance. That’s what happened on Saturday night. I can’t describe exactly how it felt the closest I could come was electric. There was something special that night and it worked really well. I am sad that the show is over as I have loved being involved with the show. I was working with a very talented cast (some of them don’t even realise how good they actually are) and also great direction and support off stage.Still Life cast picture Thanks guys for making it a great experience. I would love to do it again if the opportunity arises. Also thank you to everyone who came to see it and to the National Railway Museum at Shildon for being a great venue and looking after us.

Performing in the museum was a real privilege and it also meant before the show we had the museum to ourselves. It was nice to walk around before the play. It helped calm me down and enjoy looking at the trains. Museums though are spooky though at night and on the Saturday night while packing away the staff of the museum switched off all the lights. It was a very odd experience and I was glad they came back on soon after.

With all this talk of acting going on last week it might seem as if I didn’t do much else. I was of course at work during the week and on Saturday I joined hundreds of other people for a protest in Darlington against cuts to the library service in the town.

Now I don’t normally do protests. In fact this was my first protest.  I decided to support this one because it means a lot to me and I have a duty to my profession to support it. All my life Darlington Library has been there at key points in my life. I have happy memories of going to the library for the first time with my nanna to get books out for the first time I even bought a rubber (an eraser to my international readers) although I don’t think I have it anymore. I went there to research coursework for my G.C.S.E’s , I revised there, and even got a summer job there just before starting university and getting my results and after my first year at university. To think it won’t be there is terrible. I know the council say are moving it in to the leisure centre but it is will be a heavily reduced service and mainly self-service and all at a cost of over a million pounds which the council is to borrow. It is scandalous that this is even being considered and I hope another way is found to save it.

As well as these happy memories I have a duty as library professional to fight to save library services. Libraries are more than just books on shelves and full of librarians telling you to be quiet. They are open to all are a safe place to go. Public libraries offer more than just books. To that elderly visitor the librarian that they have a 10 minute chat to is sometimes the only person they speak to that day or even week. A self-service machine can’t do that. They offer access to the internet so people who are struggling financially and can;t afford internet access at home can go to  the library and get help using the computer to apply for jobs and support. Darlington library is also home to many of the artefacts from the town’s heritage especially after the council closed the museum.

library protest

What struck me attending the protest was the huge support and love for the building the service. I expected people to turn up but not in the numbers they did and talking to people it was clear how much they care and love the service. I hope the council do genuinely listen and work with the people of the town and Darlington For Culture and find a solution to keep this service in Crown Street Library. If you haven’t already done so please sign this petition against the cuts that are happening in the town.

So that was my week last week. I hope to get back to blogging sooner than Wednesday very soon. Thank you for being patient and talking the time to read this post. I will be back next week with another weekly round-up and personal musings. So until then bye for now.

Top Programme of the Week – Cuckoo

Top Song of the Week – Holly Johnson – Ascension

Book I Am Currently Reading – Hamlet by William Shakespeare