I am not a huge fan of musicals. Other than those televised and very rare visits to Westend shows so also no expert. However, when I was asked to be official production photographer for a local production of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, I jumped at the opportunity!
It also gave me the opportunity to ‘road test’ my new pro camera and lens in a stage lit enviroment. The subject for another blog.
My role was not just limited to a final dress rehearsal stage shoot, I was asked if I would collate a photographic record of the journey to final production. Immersing myself into the world of amateur dramatics became compelling. I had a unique through the lens view but more than that I met a group of passionate and engaged people with a collective purpose. Outstanding talent in the room from; directors, choreography, players (some of which have never done anything on stage before), costume design, musicians and sound/lighting engineers.
The Wycombe Community Arts Centre theatre space was the chosen venue. The gothic internal structure of the deconsecrated Victorian church provided an atmospheric space made spectacular with Westend quality sound and lighting. I have been involved as a board member for the Arts Centre since 2011 and watched as it has grown to encompass a wide range of art forms, from exhibitions to performing arts and music. This year (2018) it was relaunched with exciting new branding. The Joseph production truly demonstrated the potential of the space and facilities, supported with four sell-out performances.
I watched as each of the musical numbers were directed from tentative beginnings to dress rehearsal show ready beautifully choreographed standards. Listened to the live band as they practiced each of the now well-known Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice songs. The lighting, set design and costumes added energy and vibrance. It was a pleasure to photograph.
As the photographer I was not technically part of the production, however, I felt like a part of the team. The final dress rehearsal really showed the dedication and professionalism of each and every one involved.
On the opening night I stood at the back without using my camera and watched the show as a member of the audience. The quality of the production was truly superb, and the reaction of the packed auditorium quickly became electric. I will admit that my pride in this fantastic achievement genuinely brought a lump to my throat. Although, I could not help but take a few images to capture the audience reaction and hopefully the atmosphere of the space.
What a journey!