It would seem that my little theatre fire is a much bigger attracion than mere puppet shows. Nearly every day I find someone wandering round outside the theatre taking photographs, or posing for “selfies” with the theatre as a background. Sometimes I pop out and ask if they need any help. Usually they just say that they have heard about the fire and are so sorry etc.
What puzzles me is that they are people who have never been to the theatre, nor usually even heard of it. Just a few minutes ago there were a couple, late middle aged, wandering around outside the foyer, the man shooting off a series of photographs just through the widows of the foyer. There’s nothing to see except for piles of boxes and and cases which I’ve moved from backstage to store in the only clean area, the foyer, and then there’s a mass of cleaning equipment, a small stove, and me sat at my laptop – certainly nothing very photogenic and nothing suggesting a fire. In fact there is nothing at all of the fire damage which is visible from the outside.
After they’d been there a few minutes and him still clicking away I could not resist going out to have a word. They had seen the notice at the gate that shows were cancelled due to fire restoration work so they’d come to have a look round. Had they ever been to the theatre? No. Had they any interest in puppetry? No. Were they local to the area? No, they were on holiday from the Stoke. Did they come here regularly? No, this was their first time.
So I explained that I was sorry but there was nothing to see – that the fire damage had been inside the theatre itself, and nothing out here. During this exchange the man hung back, letting his wife do the talking, but when I said goodbye and returned inside he lingered taking several more photos through the plate glass windows of either the piles of boxes or perhaps me sitting at my laptop? Presumably these were to enhance his holiday memories of his visit to North Wales. Now mountains and seascapes I can understand but ……