Performing at the Barbican had been in all of our minds for so long it was hardly to believe we were actually about to do it. And writing this during the first week of the run, it has just been a magical experience. The administrative and technical staff are a wonderful combination of charming and down to earth. It is a big theatre, but it really has the feel of a small team, much like the Malthouse back in Melbourne.

We have all been so chuffed with our accommodation, just a short walk from the theatre, and I feel so lucky to be going to work in the creative hub that is the Barbican centre.



Still, there was nervousness as we approached the first performances. The dirt was different from what we had used in previous performances. It was much more like clay. Some changes were made that much improved it, but we all noticed how much more tightly it packed down than other dirt we had used. The main difference for me is when I am building the city of “Surupak”, which gets destroyed by “the mighty flood”. This happens unbeknownst to most of the audience because it is during Kath and Rich’s “Siduri” scene, and there is a sheet across the front of the stage (though the audience at the sides can see me, if they feel so inclined to look.) With the dirt very packed down but this late stage in the audience it became almost impossible to get any of the toys to stand upright in the soil. So I have a few frantic minutes battling the clock trying to get it ready before I move to the front for my next scene. On the opening 2 nights I was quite disappointed with how the city looked but I think we’ve come up with a good solution now.

We had spent quite a lot of time as a group deciding on the process of what happens when in the hours before performance. Many decisions are made by committee with Uncle Semolina. While this can be frustrating at times, I like the flat structure and it means everyone can feel like they are responsible for the decisions. I think it cuts down on “bitching” – things get thrashed out at the time, and for me I find it much easier to stick to a rule if I know I’ve had my input into how it was created. And as nerves and anxieties inevitably increase towards opening night, an agreed sequence of events - notes, then warmup, then set up, then quiet time, then on stage – acts as a comfort to me, and quietens my mind.