Rob, together with his wife Mary Halliday (props supervisor on shows including An American in Paris and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), spent the weekend in Batley, near Leeds, running workshops on lighting, props and life backstage as part of the audition and interview day for the creation of the Batley & Spen Youth Theatre and their first production, the Les Miserables School Edition.
The production is being staged to commemorate the life of local MP Jo Cox, the area’s local MP until her tragic death; Les Miserables was her favourite musical.
The day saw local young people interested in working backstage on the show learning about light, lighting and its power to shape performance from Rob, including an interactive session experimenting with hand-held lights and colour to see this in action live, and then learning about scenery, props and how in theatre even the most obvious things are often not quite what they actually seem from Mary. A sugar-glass bottle gave a dramatic example of this...
“I grew up in a youth theatre, and went on to spend number of years working on production of Les Mis around the world,” comments Rob. “This weekend was a perfect combination of those two worlds, and it was great to be there with a bunch of people interested, excited and hugely enthusiastic about spending their summer creating a show.”
The Batley & Spen Youth Theatre’s production of Les Miserables will run during August 2017.