Stage one complete

The cleaners have finished the basic cleaning of the theatre. They sign off tomorrow morning. Then early January the scaffolding (which fills the auditorium giving access to walls and ceiling) will be removed and hopefully the firm who are to clean the seats will be able to give me a slot. I know that they are busy with work on Anglesey cleanng up after flooding, but if they can manage to get to me by late January there is a good chance I can be open for the February half term.

The curtains have been cleaned and so can be re-hung. The doors need finishing and there’s quite a bit of electrical work, but it all seems more possible now that the main cleaning has been achieved. The only problem could be the seat cleaning, but the firm have promised to do their utmost to get to me sometime in January.

I am feeling much more optimistic, partly because of the possibility of a theatre re-opening in sight, but also because this week I have been busy with Christmas shows in Nurseries and Primary Schools and the the children’s excitement is infectious. It’s one of the joys a children’s performer shares with the parents of the  young,  to be able to enjoy Christmas through the eyes of the children.

Next day, Friday

The cleaners were back this morning and we had a walk round inspecting what had been done. It really is impressive what they have achieved in a couple of days. The auditorium is much brighter for not only have the smoke webs and soot stains been removed, but also the discolouration of the years of nicotine contamination. Smoking was allowed, and normal, in the early days of the theatre.

Even backstage where access was very limited due to the clutter they have achieved marvels.

I can’t post any pictures of their work because the scaffolding is still in situ – but I’m impressed.

The cleaning team as well as being obviously experienced and hard working were all, without exception, nice lads and obviously cared about the work they were doing. They’ve certainly given me a nice Christmas present in that I can now see a bit of light.

In case I don’t add anything in the next few days I will wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2018.

We are on our way!

The cleaning company arrived today, a new team this time from Liverpool. No messing about, they got on with the job and although they’ve only been here half a day I am getting the feeling that they know what they are doing and that there is and end in sight. In fact they hope to be finished by Friday of this week. I am confident enough to be actually planning the show for February Half Term. Whoopee!

You couldn’t make it up.

Last Wednesday the cleaning company telephoned to ask if they could send a cleaning team next Tuesday to Friday. Ironically, this being the last week of the Christmas term it is a week when I am busy travelling to school shows and having kept me waiting since August this is the week they choose. Of course I agreed!

An hour later they rang to confirm.

An hour later they rang to ask if they could come earlier – Friday. Although this only gave me a day’s notice I agreed.

Each of these calls was by the same girl yet she had to go through the same list of security questions each time, and each time had to ask if I had suffered a fire or a flood.

So the team arrived today. The nice guy in charge explained that he was standing at the last minute in for the chap who should have been doing my job (again).

I showed him the scaffolding in the auditorium erected on their instructions and for their use. He explained that they couldn’t work in the auditorium, they couldn’t go on the scaffolding until they had the OK from their health and safety officer. They first thought it was an asbestos issue, but a dozen phone calls later it turned out to be a scaffolding issue. Someone apparently has to give them the go ahead to mount the scaffold and the person involved wasn’t available. Nothing  had not been arranged. All they could do was work in the foyer.

Now in order for them to work in the auditorium a great deal of stuff normally stored there had all been transferred into the foyer and piled up there, as had been arranged. The idea being that when the auditorium was cleaned this would be moved back to give them access to clean the foyer. They did what they could but that was limited.

They are coming back on Tuesday – but it will probably not be all the same team. So although we talked about what they might need and how they might tackle the job there’s no certainty of continuity. I also have no confidence that they will have sorted out the their health and safety issues when they come back next week.

The team who came were very pleasant, and what they could do they did well,  and it was perfectly obvious that none of this was their fault. But apart from the frustration I am feeling I also think of the cost of all this bungling. No wonder insurance is so costly.

Still I’ve a couple of Christmas Party Shows over the weekend to keep me cheerful and, not being a multi-million global company, I suppose I’ll have to arrive on the right day, in the right place and at the right time and deliver the performance they have been promised. I’d be mortified if I did otherwise.

Jack Ketch would have been proud.

The scaffolders arrive 8.30am and pulled out all the stops. They were finished before 4pm having scaffolded over the whole auditotrium and cabaret rostrum – quite a feat on a raked floor. Now I must see if at last the cleaners will do their job – an enormous task I realise – but until they have done their work the seats cannot be cleaned nor the new electrcal wiring be installed, nor the curtains (cleaned months ago) be re-fitted.