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Wellies or Flip Flops

It’s the summer festival season and right now the only thing going through my mind as I watch the weather report is which is worse? Stinking hot humidity or mud? The forecast is changing every day in the lead up to our weekend performances at Guilfest and I’m thinking about how best to transport our props, cast and crew onto the site with the ever variable conditions.

In the past we’ve had mud – lots of mud – and all that comes with it from mucky props to sodden cast members. We’ve also had heat. But perhaps the most over-riding memory, regardless of the weather, is we’ve also had FUN!

Friday arrives and it’s hot. No, scrap that – it’s HOOOOTTTTTT! Humid and muggy and the sort of weather the Brits travel abroad for, but are not equipped for ‘back home’!

Today’s cast are all from the Action Replay drama group. A company of adults with learning disabilities who have been working together for over 5 years and who are no stranger to Guilfest. We make our way to the Theatre Tent and (as in past years) our wonderful host Paul, from the Man In The Moon Theatre Company welcomes us with open arms.

We arrive at 12.30pm and get in a quick rehearsal on the stage before the scheduled programme of events, and then it’s time to enjoy the festival for a couple of hours before our show.

We try on festival hats, eat lunch, enjoy some music and then head backstage to perform our shortened version of The Great Train Robbery.

As Paul tweeted later, “We’re back – with buns!”

Saturday was the turn of the SAVVY Young Company and despite some spectacular overnight thunderstorms, the site was still relatively dry – and (thankfully) a bit cooler – especially important as this group were performing in full-face masks (which are sweaty at the best of times)!

No rehearsal needed this time as the group had recently performed the piece at the Surrey Youth Drama Festival, so for those that had been to the festival before, they broke into groups and took the ‘newbies’ around the site.

3 hours of fun later and it was show time, but not before enjoying the act on before us – you can’t beat a bunch of nuns singing Madonna!!

When the Young Company’s performance of 500 Miles was finished, some sad farewells were said. For a few of our long-standing company members it was their final show with us as they move onto college and other things, but (as is the SAVVY way) they never really leave and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them all again very soon as our new programme of events starts again in the Autumn.

SAVVY (like most theatres) goes dark in August, but we love going to Guilfest. It’s the perfect end to our busy year and kick-starts the summer fun! Thanks again to Paul and the theatre tent crew and we look forward to seeing you next year!!

 “Guilfest for me was such a great experience. It was a great atmosphere and had lots of interesting stalls and activities including the main stage. Each tent had great performances and definitely made the day for me. Would definitely recommend families to attend next year! Great fun for the kids.”


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