Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Above The Stag

Today was another scramble, essentially to achieve very little. I seem to be spending all my time at the moment jumping on tubes and heading to meetings and appointments which are nowhere near Highgate. There's a huge amount to achieve before rehearsals for Brass begin on Friday, but, for some reason, I'm spending all my time editing the Pepys Motet film, which, of course, has to be done, but does it need to take this long to do it? As of this evening, however, I'm relieved to report that my work on the project is almost done. I've even given the film a little grade, upping the contrast in some of the shots, and making others a little lighter. The only problem is that I'm waiting for Carmen in the US to film and send me her little segment, which she's going to do with her fiancé. As soon as I have that, I can get the film online, tell everyone about it, and forget all about it. Until then, I'll feel the project hanging over me like a rotten vine. I find it quite difficult to move onto pastures new whilst the fields behind me haven't yet been harvested!

I went for osteopathy this afternoon, and stayed in town to meet Nathan and Carey for lunch. We sat in the churchyard behind Central St Giles, an incredibly peaceful spot which very few people appear to use. The others ate food from a rather fancy place called Pod, where I could find nothing which didn't either come with lashings of coriander or have the calorific content of air. I just can't be doing with the whole wheat-free, carb-free, sodium-free, fat-free, taste-free vibe.

This evening we came to Above The Stag in Vauxhall, which is London's only LGBT theatre. I'd never been there before. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I didn't even know it existed. I'm told it used to operate above the pub next to the Victoria Palace Theatre until the whole area was knocked down, I think, for Cross Rail. Vauxhall is, of course, after the death of Soho, London's only gay district, so it made sense to relocate the theatre there.

I like Vauxhall. I don't know it at all well, but it's got a really nice, quite American vibe. It's a district where old and new rub shoulders rather convincingly. There are countless, somewhat dingy, Victorian railway arches, but look up and you'll see a plethora of shiny chrome skyscrapers. Much of the gay scene is situated within the darkened, twisting warrens of former railway-owned property. There are gay bars, saunas, shops, cafes as well as the theatre, and on a summer evening, like tonight, it buzzes like a district of Miami, with fabulous bears spilling out onto the streets!

We were at the theatre to see the handiwork of photographer, Gaz Sherwood, who'd taken pictures of us singing as part of his "Sing Out" project, which focusses on LGBT people working in the musical theatre industry. His latest set of portraits are being displayed on the walls of the theatre bar, and tonight was a sort of launch event. I'll be honest and say I felt rather proud to have my portrait hanging on the wall of a theatre. I'm sure it's a pretty common experience for an actor, but it's very exciting new ground for me, which instantly took me back to myself as an eight-year old, staring longingly at the glamorous head shots of actors working in Northampton's Royal Theatre.

Gaz is a wonderful photographer. His work is incredibly detailed and the pictures are crystal clear. He presented us with a pair of prints of the images he'd chosen which were printed on water colour paper, which looked fabulous. I wish I could have used mine for my driving license!

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