Huge apologies for the radio silence, everyone! We've been busy, busy, busy since our pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, finished in February. Normal service will now be resumed!
Sleeping Beauty was a massive success - we packed Medina Theatre, selling out four of the five performances, with ticket sales overall up on last year's pantomime. The lead-up was...a little stressful. Two days before the show, we found ourselves without a drummer and the call to arms went up. We had to find help, and we were on borrowed time.
Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming response we received that day. Nothing makes you feel so loved as when people rise to help you in a crisis!
So thank-you to everyone who sent out messages on Facebook and Twitter, and to everyone who got in touch with us to hand over names of potential drummers, and to everyone who offered their services in any way, but particularly to the following we must extend a huge thank-you:
The Isle of Wight County Press - Never have I known such a supportive working environment. Not only did they allow me to spend my afternoon drummer-hunting, my colleagues also used their personal Twitter and Facebook accounts to join the appeal, for which I know the Strollers were all grateful.
Rob da Bank - With over 50,000 followers, and hundreds of people requesting retweets, he was under no obligation to help us. But help us he did, by sending out a message to all those thousands of followers and prompting a flood of help and no small amount of sympathy for our plight...thanks, Rob!
The cast and crew of Sleeping Beauty, their families and friends - Some of our own, and those that knew them, leapt into action the moment the call went up and came up with a number of names and contacts to try. This, I realise, is no mean feat - many of our members work full time, so for them to use their lunch breaks, tea breaks, and working contacts to help us meant a lot.
And finally, one thank-you that cannot be overlooked...
Simon Keates. Our saviour. The man with the sticks, who knows how to use them! As I climbed into my car, my head thunking onto the steering wheel, all but giving up on finding a drummer that could commit at such short notice, my phone rang.
"I hear you're looking for a drummer," said the mysterious voice on the other end. "I think I can help you."
And help us he did! Simon stepped in at the eleventh hour, and gave us better bashing, crashing and tinkles that we could ever have hoped for. Thank-you, Simon, truly, and we're thrilled to be welcoming you back as our drummer for 2013/14.
The show itself ran like a dream and, as the curtain fell each night, we were inundated with excellent feedback; it was so lovely, in fact, that we'd like to share some of it!
"Thank-you for a brilliant afternoon's entertainment, and see you next year!"
Caroline Seaward, 6th Newport Cubs
"Excellent show. Well done, everyone. Not one thing on my snagging list! We all thoroughly enjoyed it."
"More than worth going to see. Excellent."
"My first ever panto...it was great, and great to see the money raised going to great causes. Well done, The Wight Strollers."
Gray - Wight Time
"Fabulous show, well done Strollers!"
Bayliss and Booth
"Brilliant show last night, well done to all the cast and everyone involved. We had a really enjoyable night."
"Another wonderful show...loved it! Well done!"
"Brilliant. Never stopped laughing! Thank-you, Strollers, for making me laugh so much."
"Saw the evening show, superb in every aspect of the production. Haven't laughed like that for a while."
"Layla's Trust went to see The Wight Strollers yesterday at the Medina Theatre, and had a fabulous time! Thanks to all the players, production team, volunteers and everyone behind the scenes that put on a magnificent show."
"It was fab. My little boy loved it. Sat through the whole thing, joined in with the clapping and booing, loved the bits he could dance to. Wonder if he was your youngest audience member. Well done. Great show as usual."
With such incredible feedback pouring in from the audiences, with many saying it was our best pantomime yet, there was one question on the lips of all the cast: what would the review be like...?
End of Part One.