The Sounds of Backstage: Beth Goulstone turns up the volume for us

In the dressing room

“Brrr! Brrr! Brrr!”

“Does anyone have a bobby pin?”

“Remember to sign in when you enter the theatre!”


Welcome to the weird and wonderful sounds of the pre-show dressing room: vocal warm-ups, greetings, reminders, and more warm-ups. Constant doors and footsteps, as people rush to check costumes, set props, look for that water bottle that has to be around here somewhere. There’s lots of chatter- sometimes nervous, often hilarious – always excited.

1st and 2nd Ladies, Beth Goulstone (left) and Julia Moss-Pearson (right)
1st and 2nd Ladies…or Charlie’s Angels?

The orchestra can be heard warming up in the pit – the cast goes through hair and makeup right next door in the assembly area. During the interval, it will be stocked with tea and coffee, and maybe even cake (thanks Papageno)!

“Overture and beginners!” That’s the call – time to head on up, treading as quietly as possible on the concrete steps. Once backstage it’s whispers only, as noise from the wings will distract from the world we’re creating on stage. We can hear the audience talking and laughing as they settle into their seats. It’s fun to know that people are out there, and to wonder ‘was that my mum?’

As the house lights dim, all of the noise dies down and finally there is silence. These last quiet moments are always a good time to take a deep breath and ready yourself, or (if you’re me) to grin around excitedly at everyone you can see. The wait always seems unbearably long – we just want to get out there!

And then all of a sudden the silence is broken. We hear the first bars of the overture, and whisssk the curtain is rising, and we step out of the wings and into the world of The Magic Flute – Tamino, get ready for the fright of your life!

Clockwise from centre: Beth Goulstone (Second Lady), Nikita Crosby (Second Guide), Calla Knudson-Hollebon (Third Guide), Robert Lindsay (Sarastro), Alexandra Clearwater (Papagena) and Julia Moss-Pearson (First Lady)

Photos courtesy of Beth Goulstone.

Post by Beth Goulstone, Second Lady 

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