August did flash by, as I fully expected it would. The month was totally dominated by rehearsals for 19 new children who will join the tour for the next six months or so. They have been rehearsing since June in London and joined us at the beginning of August to acquaint themselves with the technicalities of the show proper, including all of its moving parts and the various adults that make appearances during the performance!
Our two new Matildas, Sophia & Scarlett, have excelled already high expectation and their first performances were an absolute triumph this week. The rest of the young ensemble have been inspirational in their devotion & focus towards a stunning debut performance, honestly making the whole rehearsal process overall easier than I was expecting it to be! They are joining a fantastic company making it even more so, and I can't recommend enough that you get yourself to Manchester & Cardiff in these next few months to see them in action.
The existing company, both on stage, backstage, creatively and administratively, have stepped up to the plate admirably and, pulling 12 hour days back-to-back for almost a month, somehow kept spirits high to ensure the new children are well-rehearsed and prepared. We officially ended cast change last night with a "Sports Day" front of house (adults only!) which involved Scoot-offs, newt-chucking & hockey limbo. Far too much fun, but well deserved after a long week of dress rehearsals!
It was, of course, goodbye to our first cast of children - my first cast. We have been through A LOT together since all beginning our journey with the show back in mid-December last year, and it was especially poignant to me to say farewell to two Matildas, Poppy & Lara. I look forward to seeing every single on of them further their theatrical careers a little further down the line. For now, get back to school!
Ten weeks in Birmingham are almost up, amazingly. Later this month (after an extremely well-earned break) we sit down for another ten weeks in the city I grew up in: Manchester. I have a long history with the Palace Theatre, having seen many of my first musicals there with my mum, and taking part in a couple of shows with my dad there, too. I haven't really worked there enough in my career, yet, as this will only be the 4th show I've done, but this extended stay will more than make up for that. I'm looking forward to lots of old friends & family swinging by to see our amazing show.
Family matters took an unfortunate precedent for a time this month, in fact, as my grandad (on my mother's side) passed away. The last surviving grandparent, always proudly supportive of my endeavours, it was an emotional send-off to a great man who joins his wife to carry on their adventures elsewhere. Rest In Peace, Grandad.