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Tour Memories #2 - Birkenhead Priory

Tonight would have seen us heading to one of the Wirral's more historic sites, right next door to one of its most famous. Birkenhead Priory, set aside behind Cammell Laird's shipyard, is a venue that OTG have just kept coming back to, having been first added to our over 20 years ago. The coastal air and the dramatic priory backdrop have made it quite the touring favourite. Here are some of our casts favourite memories from Birkenhead Priory (as well as a couple from previous Birkenhead-based venues):

Connor W - Around the World in 80 Days

"I remember on the Around the World tour we ended up cancelling the show, unfortunately. It was a devastating loss to the schedule as we'd all been on such a high from the opening night. We waited for so long to see if the weather would pass, but I'm not sure I've ever seen rain like it in the summer. The staff waited with us right up until what would have been curtains up to ensure no audience were left out in the cold who might have bravely (or foolishly) come out anyway.

I remember the most endearing thing being that the venue staff were just as disappointed to see the show cancelled as we were. You can tell it really means something to everyone there."

Jess P - Sinbad

"I remember hiding inside the bushes not far from the stage, taking shelter from a tropical storm that had blown in over the last scene. We stayed in the bushes and didn't make it on for the finale..."

Connor W - Sinbad

"The Sinbad show was a glorious summer's evening and everything was going swimmingly. Then a storm rolled in and it was like nothing some of us had ever seen. There's a unique thing that happens in outdoor theatre when the rain starts to arrive in force, in that all the actors suddenly get much quicker and more efficient in their delivery. My standout memory from that night, however, was of the utter drama and stunning effect that the rolling, distant thunder gave the final battle of the play, with the epic backdrop of the priory tower."

Chloe H - A Midsummer Night's Dream

"I remember getting the worst, genuine giggles with Connor during the play within a play. It was the first time it happened, but it became a regular occurrence for the both of us throughout the tour!"

Jess P - Sinbad

"I think this was the venue where Joey, in character, on stage, made a reference to the reviewer being in that evening - the reviewer was not amused!"

Jordan C - A Misummer Night's Dream

"Ahhh the view of beautiful view of Liverpool, and also falling over the wooden pallets..."

Andy B - Much Ado About Nothing

"During Fran’s “funeral” in Much Ado About Nothing, Bill was singing a gorgeous goodbye tribute while we all held candles doing lots of 'being sad' acting. One scallywag on a bike just pipes up with “Christians!” and rode off. Brutal."*

* This may have taken place at Birkenhead Park, after much discussion, we remain uncertain.

Tomo - Zorro

"I'll never forget the Alfred Hitchcock moment of when we let the fire work off at the end of Zorro and the whole of the sky was filled with seagulls going nuts for about 10 minutes!"

Eleanor M - Zorro

"I remember getting a tour of the priory from the wonderful staff, and being allowed to try on period costumes with Ellie, Izzy and Billy - taking pictures of ourselves in silly poses!"***

Dan M - Various

"We first visited Birkenhead Priory over 20 years ago. In those days we didn’t have much in the way of set, normally just a bench that we would move from somewhere else in the venue, so once we had put that in place and set up the lights we spent our time exploring the site. For some reason I missed going up the tower so begged the staff at the end of the show to let me and a couple of others to go and have a look. The view from the top over Liverpool was spectacular and that night, after a great show at a new venue, it felt we had our own private, special treat."

*** We managed to find a picture of El trying on costumes with Ellie and Billy!


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