28 Aug 2009

Have you ever been to the theatre alone?

Last Friday I went to the cinema on my own. It's something I do every now and again - especially when my husband isn't up for viewing the latest "chick flick" (this time it was Coco Before Chanel). I must say I quite enjoy going solo - you can sit wherever you want (my preference is always in the middle and slighly right of screen) and you don't have to share the popcorn.

Whilst waiting for the movie to start I was reminded of the SATC episode when Charlotte exclaims in horror "...but you can't go to the movies alone on date night" in response to Carrie's admission that she'd been to the movies on her own. Of course you can and many people do. Indeed I wasn't the only person there flying solo that night.

And so I got to thinking, would I ever go to the theatre on my own? I've never done so up until now. But why is that? Why is it any different to going to the movies sans friends? Is it because I feel that somehow theatre is more deserved of a bigger audience (and by that I mean myself and at least a plus one) or do I revel too much in the obligatory post show debate with friends?

It's ironic perhaps that for someone in marketing who is responsible for audience development that I can't even explain the logic (or lack there of) behind my own behaviour as a consumer. I guess that's is why major corporations pay the big bucks for extensive research into this very thing. So without a definative answer I think I will end this blog with the very question that inspired it... have you ever gone to the theatre alone?

By Gemma

17 Aug 2009

People are "dying" to get their show noticed at the Fringe

I spent alot of time on the Royal Mile while up in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. Like its name suggests, this is a pedestrian street exactly one mile long and at the heart of the Edinburgh Fringe.

At all times of the day it is absolutely heaving with people promoting their shows; they cajole, coax, bribe, plead and beg people to come and see their show in favour of one of the other 2089 on offer at this years Festival.

People will do just about anything to get noticed. I've stepped over people playing dead in the middle of the street, had to duck under a clothes line lined with ladies underwear, and then there are the costumes...

It's fair to say that pretty much anything goes at the Edinburgh Fringe. I've even been told about a bar where people can plug their show to punters for free - just as long as they do it in the nude - and I hear there have been no shortage of people willing to do just that!!!

By Gemma

12 Aug 2009


I was excited and somewhat bemused to discover yesterday that Lola has been given a "karma" rating of 68 - indeed the top "karma" score for a physical and dance theatre show at the Edinburgh Fringe. Ironic really given that the woman herself didn't have the cleanest of conscience.

This "karma" rating comes courtesy of EdTwinge, "a real-time, Twitter-based review service". The site collects all the zillions of tweets sent about the festival and reveals who is getting the most "noise" on Twitter. It then generates a "karma" rating for each show ranking them in order of positivity.

The site states that it believes that lots of people saying the same thing is much more meaningful than just one or two. Indeed EdTwinge claims to let you "put your trust in the wisdom on the many" - the topic of much discussion yesterday with articles in both The Guardian and The Stage commenting on the ploriferation of audience based reviews as a direct result of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Mark Shenton from The Stage stated in his blog "it will shortly be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff". He does have a point of course but I for one am all for audience based reviews (probably because I write them). Although like every professional critics review they should be used as a guide only and read in conjunction with other commentary. But at the end of the day isn't it what you, the individual audience member, thinks of the show that really counts?

Alas our "karma" rating has taken a bit of a nose dive today with a rating of 49 (down to 6th spot). Come on Edinburgh - make some "noise" for Lola!!

By Gemma

10 Aug 2009

Celebrity Spot (Part 1)

Two celebrity spots today at the Edinburgh Fringe although one was arguably more exciting and slightly more credible than the other.

Spot 1: The gorgeous Lauren Laverne filming for The Culture Show in the Pleasance Courtyard.

Spot 2: The actor that played the gay priest in Hollyoaks who recently died at the hands of the evil Nile (Myra McQueen's illigitimate son, not the river) queuing for tickets outside the Assembly Dome.

Speaking of celebrities, the infamous Spanish dancer and courtesan, Lola Montez, took to the stage for the first time last night at the New Town Theatre (Fringe Venue 7). It was a great show and the people of Edinburgh came out in their droves to see the most famous woman in the world tell the truth about her many lives and loves. Don't miss your chance to see the lady who shocked Europe! Until 30 August, 6.45pm, New Town Theatre, 96 George Street, Edinburgh

By Gemma

9 Aug 2009

Tonight's the Night

The heavens have opened here in Edinburgh but nothing is going to dampen our spirits. Lola opens tonight at New Town Theatre (Fringe Venue 7) and we are champing at the bit to officially start our 2009 Edinburgh Fringe adventure. Preview ticket prices are available for tonight and tomorrow night's performances - tickets just £7 and available through www.edfringe.com, www.univeralartsfestival.com or at the door.

If Lola whets your appetite for more flamenco beats, stick around to see our good friend Ricardo Garcia in Flamenco Jazz Late Night also at the New Town Theatre every night throughout the festival at 11.10pm.

We hope to see you there!

By Gemma

8 Aug 2009

A very good start to the day...

We were very excited this morning to read over our breakfasts that Lola has been recommended by ThreeWeeks as one of the their top three physical theatre shows at this years Edinburgh Fringe. Hoorah!!!

I'm taking 'Lola' to the Meet the Media event later this afternoon. I must admit I do fear for their safety... this is the woman who once horse whipped a journalist who dared publish a bad review of her famous spider dance. Edinburgh critics beware - Lola Montez has a whip and she ain't afraid to use it!

Don't miss your chance to meet 'the most famous woman in the world'. Lola: The Life of Lola Montez opens tomorrow at New Town Theatre (Fringe Venue 7). 9 - 30 Aug, 6.45pm. Box Office: 0844 477 1000.

By Gemma

7 Aug 2009

Let the show begin...

We've arrived in Edinburgh for the Fringe and the sun is shining down on us; a good omen surely especially as we've heard it's bucketing down in London (who would have thought you had to come to Scotland for the good weather)!!

Our brand new tour van departed St Albans at 11am yesterday after much hilarity trying to fit everything in and only an hour behind schedule. After one false start having realised 5 minutes into our journey that we'd left a prop behind, we turned onto the M1 and there we stayed for the next 9 hours and 38 minutes.

Natalie our Administrative Producer took the helm behind the wheel with Emily (Artistic Director) and Fi (Miss Eliza Gilbert) up front and our lovely General Assistant Sam sandwiched between Georgie (the one and only Lola Montez) and I (Marketing Manager) in the back. A couple of pit stops and countless jelly babies later we made it to Edinburgh just before the sun set. After a quick run through with Neil our tech guru and with our bellies full of yummy pasta (thanks Nat!) we all stumbled into bed about midnight.

And so it is day 1 one of our Edinburgh adventure. Let the mayhem and madness of the Fringe begin...

By Gemma

4 Aug 2009

Lola Montez continues to cause a scandal!

If you’ve seen the papers over the past few days, you’re likely to have come across the story of Madonna’s latest indiscretion. As featured in The Guardian - http://tiny.cc/ii3jF - love letters between Madonna and an old boyfriend have surfaced and are up for auction. What caught our attention here at Trestle is that Madonna used the pseudonym "Lola Montez" – the infamous 19th century dancer and courtesan and the subject of our latest production – Lola: The Life of Lola Montez.

Ironically our Artistic Director, Emily Gray, has often referred to Lola as the Madonna of her age. Like Madonna she was the queen of reinvention, someone who practised sexual liberation and created public dramas.

Lola Montez was one of the most infamous and mysterious figures of the 19th century. Born into humble Irish beginnings, Eliza Rosanna Gilbert spent her childhood in India but her “spoilt and half-wild ways” saw her sent back to Britain to boarding school. At 16 she eloped with her mother’s lover but soon divorced him and set her ambitions on a life upon the stage.

Reinventing herself as the Spanish dancer Lola Montez, she travelled the world performing her famous spider dance and seducing many powerful and influential men along the way. At times she was the most famous woman in the world: just as much for her personal antics as those on stage. This is the woman who once brought her pet bear to a court case, horse-whipped a journalist for writing a less than complimentary review of her show, and held the first ever press conference. And then there were her many ‘conquests’ - French novelist Alexandre Dumas, Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt and King Ludwig I of Bavaria, just to name a few. Lola died of syphilis in her late 30s, penniless and alone. Quite possibly the original tabloid celebrity you might say?

And so back to Madonna and her love letters. While Madonna might not be too pleased that she finds herself the centre of attention, we at Trestle are all secretly chuffed that Lola can continue to cause a scandal, even from the grave!!!

Don’t miss Lola at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 9 – 30 August at the New Town Theatre (Venue 7), Freemasons’ Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3DH. Box office: 0844 477 1000 or www.universalartsfestival.com.

By Gemma