Showzam! Stageworks Backstage Tour

Originally formed in the early 80s by Amanda Thompson, the Stageworks Worldwide Production business has built from small beginnings to the entity it is today. Stageworks provide the whole package, from costumes and performers to sound, lighting and venues.

The backstage tour, hosted by Creative Director Antony Johns, gave an insight into just what it takes to put on shows like the world famous Hot Ice, the fantasy world of Eclipse and the magical mystery of Mystique. From the costume designers and creators, to the lighting and sound technicians, who work tirelessly through the night in order to make sure everything is just right, to the performers making sure they hit their marks with a beaming smile every time, no matter how early rehearsals start!  And let’s not forget the choreographers and their constant battle to make sure the shows look fresh, modern and, well, simply perfect.

The tour started out with a brief word from our host, explaining what we would be looking at, before moving into one of the largest permanent tented structures in the UK; the Globe. Introductions to the lighting and sound team were followed by an amazing light show just to give an example of what can be done. Unfortunately, I missed the picture opportunity of the fire cannons at the end, but at £300 a shot I didn’t think it appropriate to ask them to do it again!

A wander up onto the stage and back behind the curtain showed a view that few people get to see, unless you are dressed in Lycra and sequins, along with a chance to get a closer look at the mannequin’s headdress, that dates back to 1935!

Moving on from there, we made our way through Blackpool Pleasure Beach to the Stageworks Stores, a structure built for the treasure trove of cables, lights, rigging, racking, harnesses…I could go on but it is safe to say that if it was not in there you don’t need it! Every item is catalogued, registered and inspected both in and out of the department to ensure it is in tiptop condition at all times.

The lift up to wardrobe was an interesting experience, two dozen people and still room to spare! And when you arrive you understand why. Wardrobe provide costumes, not only for the shows at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but also for events all over the country resulting in a store that has over ten thousand items ready to go at a moment’s notice. Such is the reputation of this small team, many shows have bespoke costumes designed and made by the team here. The quality of the work is amazing, and the cost is enough to make any accountant weep!

Over next to the Arena, the location for the amazing Hot Ice shows for over 70 years.  Just like the Globe, it is kitted out with a top quality lighting and sound system that takes days to program exactly as required but then runs from a single desk when the time comes for the lights
to dim and the curtain to rise.  All in all, it was a truly enlightening tour, given by an individual who is clearly passionate about what he does.

Follow Stageworks on Twitter: @Stageworks_WWP or on their website.

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