Tue 05 Jun
To celebrate Volunteers Week 2018 and the Rose's 10th Anniversary, we asked some of our amazing volunteers to share their memories of the Rose both 'In the Raw' and in its first ten years.
‘Memories are mades of this...’
'I first started as a volunteer for one day a week in in 2002 in the newly-formed Kingston Theatre Friends’ office, answering an advert for someone capable of using a computer. We worked alongside the Kingston Theatre Trust professionals, thus giving me a real taste of the world of theatre. I was swiftly roped in to joining the other Friends in publicising the existence of the theatre, being dressed up as Mozart (ish) and handing out leaflets around town and in Bentalls and John Lewis, with other similarly dressed baroque style lady Friends.'
'I was one of the several people, some still ushers today, who attended exciting planning meetings when the building was only a concrete shell. Then, in preparation for the "In the Raw" season, we were trained for our shifts in a theatre which would still be a building site with various health and safety issues. Because we would have to patrol throughout, the training included a tour of the building. We used our imagination to blot out the row of portaloos and picture in their place a bar and a foyer, with dressing rooms and offices above.'
'Some of us can tell you what it was like in the "In the Raw" season when the theatre wasn't finished and the fire alarm system hadn't been installed. There was a fire officer who had to patrol outside the auditorium, front and back stage, to make sure there were no fires and one of the ushers was also tasked with that. It was quite fascinating seeing the cast doing their "warm ups" as we had to patrol the changing rooms!'
'Before the theatre floor was laid, people were asked to write or sign on the screeding for posterity. A large area underneath the floorboards is filled with graffiti!'
'A big turning point for the Rose was A Midsummer Night's Dream. That was a sell-out and really put the Rose on the map. Judi [Dench] generously supplied champagne to the ushers afterwards - a truly kind gesture.'
'A strange experience for me was to have my nose tweaked by Brian Blessed when he came to see Snow Gorilla. Another time I had my photograph taken by Gyles Brandreth, which he then tweeted. His grandson had left his school book bag in the cafe during the interval of the Christmas show, and I located it for him.'
We're always interested in hearing from new people who want to volunteer at the Rose so if it's something that interests you then please get in touch. For more information, click here.