Last week was the first week of the Partner Theatre Festivals for Connections 2012 and what a week it was! This year we have 20 Partner Theatres who are doing a fantastic job at hosting festivals for companies in their region and Chichester Festival Theatre, Bristol Old Vic and the Lyric Hammersmith got us off to an amazing start.
This time of year is always a mad scramble for us as we need to get all of the final bits and pieces from Home Performances tied up and then to get out and see what's going on at our Partner Theatres. I love a challenge... and I certainly got one as guess who has to book all of the trains and hotels!
Last week I went along to Chichester Festival Theatre and loved the buzz that was filling the Minerva Theatre. I met up with the Chichester team in their bar where they'd organised an amazing acoustic double act to perform some cover songs. Apparently, they'd seen them busking in Chichester a few weeks before... nice way to be spotted! Our Connections Director, Laura, was also doing a great job looking after the companies as they transferred their performances into the new venue.
This week I've been to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and as I write this I'm sat on a train at a platform in Birmingham New Street station on my way up to visit Northern Stage in Newcastle with Rob (Connections Producer). Tomorrow I go to Sheffield. It's the glamorous jet-set life I always dreamed of!
This got me thinking - we need to chart the journeys we make for Connections as it is a truly nationwide project. Everyone who's part of it is joining in with something that spans from Plymouth to Aberdeen and Belfast to Norwich... we have to show just how big this is!
So I created the twitter hashtag #NTContour. I think this really is harnessing the power of Twitter. Search this hashtag and you will get the low down on the latest from the Partner Theatre Festivals that we’re visiting as well as some pictures of stations near Bristol, compliments on the quality of hotels and even lessons that every theatre-going traveller should learn... like don't have a meeting about a musical in the quiet carriage. That lady was not impressed.
As we pull out of Birmingham on the happy trail to the North East, I'll leave you with an image that sums up this week. Even though we're travelling, we're still working hard. Rob's working so hard in fact, that he needs a phone and a laptop at the same time... madness!