Where? Richmond Theatre, Little Green, Richmond TW9 1QJ
When? Currently running Saturday mornings 9 January – 23 April 2016.
What was on? Cinderella – it was panto season!
How? You can check times and book on their website
Cost? Adult tickets are £8, ATG card holders £7 and Concessions are £5
Duration? About 90 minutes
Richmond Theatre is a beautiful Frank Matcham building and also a busy receiving house now owned by ATG. Although they ran tours several years ago, there haven’t been any for a long while so I’m delighted they’ve started again and definitely didn’t want to miss this opportunity. I’ve been a reasonably regular visitor to Richmond Theatre over the years and it’s a lovely space to be an audience member, with really good sightlines and an interesting and varied programme.
But how do things look from the other side of the curtain?
We started outside and heard about the history of theatre in Richmond and how this building fits in which gave us a good context before heading inside, and backstage.
Because the tour focussed very much on the current production (the very last of the pantomime season!) this is a tour you could do again and again. I especially enjoyed hearing all about the stories from the pantomime – Cinderella’s amazing transforming dress, the (real!) minature Shetland ponies – just to name a couple! Best of all, it was clear throughout that our guide loved the theatre and was so full of enthusiasm to tell us all about it and make us love it too.
We were able to stand on the stage, which is always a highlight, and we spent a good amount of time there too, looking at the set, peering up into the flies and out into the auditorium while our guide explained how everything worked and answered all of our questions.
Everything always feels a lot smaller from the stage, so it was great fun to go into the circle after and see how the false perspective made everything looks so much bigger and grander.
Richmond is quick and easy to reach from central London by underground or National Rail and the theatre is just a short walk from the station. It’s also a pleasant place to spend a day. You could start with a backstage tour, have a bit of a mosey round the attractive town centre or walk up Richmond Hill, and finish off with a matinee performance, still giving you time to head home before a Saturday night out! Or for a real theatre fan, why not start at Richmond for a tour then head back into London for a tour of one of the big modern spaces like the Barbican or the National Theatre as the contrast is fascinating.
For more backstage tour information visit backstagetheatretours.com