The secret life of Shrek

backstage at shrek

COSTUMES and racks, shoes and dresses, shelves and hangers, and just some of the padding for Shrek, lie in just one small section backstage at the Hippodrome in the calm between shows but once the curtain goes up eleven dressers and a host of backstage crew are working flat out with lightning fast costume changes, scenery on and off and up and down in a whirl and around all that there is the small matter of maneuvering a dragon the size of a double decker bus around cast, pops, and technical desks backstage.

Faye Brookes, who plays Princess Fiona, likens it to a swan, sailing serenely by on he surface while out of site the feet are going like the clappers. In Shrek's case the serene part is on stage while backstage is controlled chaos.

A big touring show, such as Shrek, is a feat of logistics. The show ended its run in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Sunday, March 29. Less than 48 hours later it opened in Birmingham on March 31. It might only be a journey of four hours or so by car but then that doesn't include having  to load NINE articulated lorries at one theatre, drive more than 200 miles, and then unload them at anodragonther theatre, and then you have to make everything fit, set up sound, lighting, projector and everything else - the productions brings all its own technical equipment - and open on time.

Eyes glowing, the giant dragon waits in his lair, out of the way, as far as anything so large can be, at the back of backstage, waiting for his . . . or her chance to shine

And to manage that Shrek travels the countryside with a small village of people front and back stage.

Apart from the 27 cast there is a back stage army of technicians and stage hands.

Backstage in an Aladdin’s cave of props and magic, from a giant dragon in the corner, to the dressing up box of your dreams there are 11 local dressers who transform fairytale characters to guards, knights and whatever else is needed, and back again, and back again and so on in rapid succession.

Then there are six stage crew, three flymen, two follow spot operators, three electricians, three soundmen, three carpenters, four people dealing with wigs, four with make up and four in wardrobe, a stage electrician and five stage managers and 13 musicians.

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