Jabbering Journo column: The one where I fell over a fake leg

The magic of the theatre
The magic of the theatre

Theatres are magical places and news that Preston’s Charter Theatre is (hopefully temporarily) closed has made me nostalgic for the good times.

It’s far from the only theatre I have happy memories of, mind you, and I’m not talking about the many gigs and shows.

Despite possessing few luvvie tendencies , I have found myself backstage on numerous occasions, usually to conduct interviews, or tours of the stage or because I’m waiting to give a speech.

This includes Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, where I was ushered in - wearing an elegant dress and heels - through the stage door and into the wings before prat-falling over an artifical leg prop, watched by a sniggering stage hand who I’m pretty sure got flash of my undercrackers.

In a previous incarnation as editor in Lancaster and Morecambe I was lucky enough to be introduced to the famous dilapidated Winter Garden Theatre on Morecambe’s prom by the late Evelyn Archer - a lifelong guardian of the theatre.

I’m not saying she was given to the dramatic but she asked me to walk on stage and throw my arms in the manner of a camp panto dame and shout across the empty auditorium, to hear the perfect acoustics and - as she put it - the ghosts of famous acts.

Pretty sure I heard Thora Hird.

I was lucky enough to go backstage at Wicked in London (Apollo Theatre), just before it made its touring debut in Manchester many years ago.

I and other journalists traipsed through the dressing room and some of us were painted green prompting the wag in charge of stage makeup to say we didn’t need much as we already looked like witches.

She then pulled out a costume to show us, attached to which was a pair of distinctly used looking underwear.

Needless to say none of us tried it on. Meanwhile Preston Guild Hall and Charter Theatre has been the scene of many a misadventure, including my colleague and I drinking tea and giggling with Andy and Vince of Erasure in a tiny cupboard of a dressing room before a show.

Then there were the many speeches at our education awards and the time I was in a show.

Less said about that the better.

GUILD HALL CLOSES: What has happened?