Open Air Theatre
Sun 08 May 2016
Carl writes …
For six evenings each summer, the usual peace and tranquillity of Sheldon is set aside as our open-air theatre plays host to hundreds of people who come to enjoy a variety of music under stars. This is the 39th year of events in our theatre and preparations are well underway for the 2016 concerts. Much has changed in the world of the theatre over the years – there is now LED lighting and digital sound, and we have just acquired some wireless remote controlled lights – but the setting and the ambience of the Sheldon Open Air Theatre remains constant.
Kerry is currently busy with promotions and arranging sponsors while her husband, Max, who looks after technical matters on concert evenings, has been spending time renovating the woodwork for the control box. Ticket sales are going well and the reception team are dealing with despatch of tickets and keeping an eye on numbers. The grass in the theatre is full of wild flowers (mainly primroses and early purple orchids) at the moment but once these have gone over, the estate team will be cutting the grass and starting to tidy up the whole area. A replacement bridge needs to be constructed to the side of the stage, the stage itself will be pressure washed, lights hung, the canopy erected and Hillary’s team will clean and prepare the burger bar. Then at the beginning of July, signs will go up and hurdles erected in an attempt (often in vain!) to keep pedestrians and cars separate.
This year’s programme is a mix of regular favourites and some new (to Sheldon) acts. We will be welcoming back Paul Metcalfe as Rod Stewart (hopefully with better weather this year), Abba Magic, local favourites Joey the Lips, and Kiss This (with the drumming cathedral canon!). For the first time, we are welcoming Police Dog Hogan (whose lead singer, James Studholme, has strong local connections) and Totally Tina (an all-singing, all-dancing tribute to the queen of rock ‘n’ roll).
Proceeds from the concerts go directly to help fund Sheldon’s core work and we are immensely grateful to all our volunteers who act as stewards, car park attendants, burger bar cooks, etc for those six nights. Many of those who come to the concerts comment on the friendliness and helpfulness of the team (and also the cleanliness of the toilets!). There are also a number of opportunities to chat about Sheldon and its work as the question “So what exactly is this place?” is regularly asked by people as they wait in the queue for the ‘doors’ to open (or for the toilets!).
So if you haven’t already booked your tickets head over to the theatre website to find out more and to take advantage of our ‘early bird’ discounts (for bookings before the end of June).