Candide in Cornwall

July 22, 2018 — 46 Comments

Bright and early Saturday morning on 14th July I met up with my friend and fellow cast member Rosie Clifford before embarking on a road trip down St Levan in Cornwall. The time flew by and after 5 hours we arrived at The Land’s End Vineries which was to become our home from home for the upcoming week. We shared our chalet with two orchestral members Lily Beatrice Cooper and Bjorn Kleiman, who were both delightful and charming housemates. The chalet that we stayed in took me back to a world without WiFi and little mobile signal, we even had to put a pound coin in the electricity meter. I quite enjoyed this weird aspect and will remember playfully working out how to use the meter with Rosie.

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Because we only had intermittent mobile service the four of us talked, laughed and bonded over great food, skilfully cooked for us by Bjorn who quickly became head chef of chalet 20. I was very happy to wash dishes, provide supplies and eat! It was during these periods of break (between and after the performances) that I learned that Bjorn organises a concert series in Sweden, Lidköping Music Festival which will have performances 5th-8th August. Lily will be playing cello and he will play violin there with other musicians. It sounded delightful and I wish I could be there to enjoy what I’m sure will be beautiful music.

The first day was long and tiring but the great atmosphere from the full cast, creative team and orchestra meant that we had a lot of fun. We began with a tech rehearsal in the morning at 10:00 then onto a dress rehearsal run at 2pm with me and then another dress rehearsal at 8pm with Lizzie. In the morning and afternoon, the sun was out and blazed during the rehearsals. This made the view of the Minack Theatre outstanding and rather breathtaking, with the crystal clear blue sea stretching as far as the eye could see behind the main stage. During the week we saw lots of wildlife such as seals enjoying the beautiful weather and even some fishermen and sun seekers.

However, this weather can cause a few issues to a performer, such as heat exhaustion and dehydration. Surrey Opera was at hand and offered wonderful advice throughout this process. We were encouraged to wear a lot of sun lotion, wear hats, shade bathe 😅 whenever off stage and drink plenty of water. It was quite tricky to get used to but by mid-week,  I started building up stamina for this style of weather.

We opened the show on Monday night which was a roaring success, and as the week progressed gags got lengthened and we crafted the action to suit the audience that we had in, for example, if they particularly enjoyed the slapstick comedy moments we would play these moments for longer and with greater enjoyment. Giles Davies was a real pro at this and taught me a lot about comic timing. I was so impressed that by the end of the run he could get two raucous rounds of applause for his comic death scene! I was really blessed to share the stage with such wonderful colleagues, everyone brought something extra special to the performance and it reminded me how important it is to treasure our individuality. Joanna Gamble, Tom Kennedy, Giles Davies, Brian Smith Walters, Rosie Clifford, Callum Speed, Tim Baldwin, and Lizzie Holmes.

With a special thank you to Stephen Anthony Brown who played the role of Candide so effortlessly, it was a sheer delight to perform alongside him.

Lastly, I must mention the amazing 18 strong chorus who put so much energy into each performance and huge respect to each of the 29 members of the orchestra who played with such emotion and skill.

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I enjoyed working with the fantastic Jonathan Butcher who directed the production as well as conducting it, a real multi-talented artist.

You can read a review of the opening night performance on the Minack Theatre website ( Link )

I was also very lucky to have my family travel down from Cheshire, Stoke On Trent, Glasgow, and London to come and support me. My parents, brothers, grandparents and future brother-in-law. Their support never ceases to amaze me and meant that my downtime felt like a holiday!

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46 responses to Candide in Cornwall

  1. 

    Looks like you had tremendous fun!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      It’s a real fun production, very fast paced and full of energy, my Dad took the photos when they came to watch the show on Monday night.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. 

    Hi Charlotte, looks like a lot of costume changes too. Besides looking like so much fun!
    Have a great week Charlotte!! You deserve it, Darlene

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      Great costumes all around to ramp up the hilarious plot, it was so hot during matinees my eye lash glue and sun cream melted on the first day.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Yikes, hope that you hydrated too. Sun cream and glue in the eyes, not good! Hope that it was cooler during the week!

  3. 

    Great photos

  4. 

    Bright, colorful and in spite of the drawbacks, what a fabulous time you must have had! <3

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Too many positives for me to concentrate on instead of drawbacks, the cliff edge setting is just stunning, being able to see the audience sat on carved out seats in turfed terraces was an amazing sight. We had an 8pm start time in the later performances so the temperature then was just lovely. There was even a little rain shower just before the Monday performance which gave a magnificent rainbow as our backdrop. We improvised a little turban style washer woman hat for me in the ‘We are Women’ number.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. 
    Peter Alexander July 23, 2018 at 12:16 am

    What an absolutely spectacular location! I looked it up and was just blown away by photos of the location. What a wonderful experience to perform there. How I would love to see a show there! Your command of the role must have been exceptional—what a great review! To do so well in such a demanding role at this stage in your career is a great testament to your work, your teachers, and the support you have gotten on the way. Congratulations, Charlotte! I can hardly wait until the next episode in your oh-so-exciting professional life.

    In the meantime, I have managed to control my jealousy of your audiences in Cornwall, since I will be seeing Candide in another beautiful theater in a little more than week, at the Santa Fe Opera. Best wishes, always!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      It is absolutely spectacular Peter, Porthcurno Beach at the base of the cliffs is an area of natural beauty with soft creamy golden sand it’s won loads of awards, the sea was so clear. I read the theatre holds up to around 800 people and the roads to get there are an adventure in themselves.

      I’ve really had the most fabulous teachers and coaches this past couple of years I’m going to miss lots of them although I’m trying to organise as many lessons as I can this year.
      It’s a fabulous role and I can’t thank Surrey Opera and the audition panel enough for such a wonderful opportunity, I really did put in a lot of work and rehearsal on the role, she is very challenging and singing whilst putting on and taking off jewelry in time with the music is a new trick I don’t think I will forget in a hurry.

      I’d love to visit Santa Fe Opera it looks truly awesome with a couple of thousand in the audience that must be quite a spectacle with still an open-air feel.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  6. 

    It looks like a spectacular performance, Charlotte. You must have had a wonderful time. You look lovely in al the costumes. Congrats on the successful show. Hugs xx

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Singing high above the Atlantic Ocean on a cliff edge was incomparable with anything I’ve done before, performing outside in the open was a whole new and exciting experience. I’m so pleased you got to see some of the photographs.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. 

    Beautiful costumes! Beautiful venue! Congratulations on such a wonderful show! I would love to have been there!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks Maria, I wish you could have all been there too. My family loved it and my brother Matt was humming the tunes all week. Tom didn’t know what to expect and thought it was the zaniest plot ever. Alex got called back into work and could only see the dress rehearsal on Sunday afternoon whilst we worked through the final staging with the orchestra. My Nan and Grandad got birds eye seats right at the top of the theatre because they didn’t fancy all the steps down to the bottom but they said the sound was amazing.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  8. 

    What fun! (And what a view!) Sounds like a great time was had by all.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      One lady saw me in the Eden Project on my day off with my family and said how much she’d enjoyed the production, it really was full of fun, tragedy and great satire. I learnt so much.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    Wow! The pictures are amazing, it sounds like you had a lot of fun. Thank you for sharing your experience and the pictures.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Thank you, Colin you’re welcome, Surrey Opera call it a ‘madcap opera’ and it’s certainly that. Full of optimism we had a fabulous time.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Dear Charlotte,
    I am glad you had your family there to watch you perform and very humble of you to wash the dishes. May the Lord bless you richly my beloved.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      I’ve picked up a few cooking tips too Rev.Tim. My stage washing up skills are in a great number called ‘We are Women’ I loved performing that with the superb Joanna Gamble, I even got a washer woman hat in the second evening performance when it started to rain a little, it soon blew over so all was well.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. 

    What a fun week. I actually remember putting a shilling in the meter – it was common in the old days and of course the wifi didn’t work so well then either. I don’t think I’d fancy putting on heavy costumes in such heat. Bravo to all the performers.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      The meter made me appreciate how much electricity we use on a daily basis, paying shared monthly bills just didn’t register as a daily cost if you know what I mean, whereas putting an actual £1 in the meter made me more frugal.

      They were such fabulous costumes one dress was slightly too big and I had to tuck a scarf it in to use as a blindfold in the scene with the Governor and one night it fell straight through unnoticed backstage and I had to improvise with Brian’s cravat to get an eye covering in time, thank goodness for ten years of stagecoach training when I was little.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 

    Absolutely stunning Charlotte, it looks like a fantastic time was had by all. You are amazing and I’m told your performance was stupendous, well done. 😘

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      I really wish you could have been there Gill, you’d have loved the setting, costumes and the music. Hope to see you again soon.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    I have also recently been in Cornwall and have just started a series of blog posts about that visit.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather July 23, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      I’ll check them out Thomas, it’s a beautiful part of England, further away from London than I thought, my brother paid as much for a rail ticket from London as he would for a flight to Spain! I was really happy Thomas came down all the way from Glasgow too, they went exploring when I was working and went to Land’s End and St Ives which they said was beautiful and quaint.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  14. 

    Such a lovely setting for the performance, but my first thought was this summer heat – and then I read your thought about heat exhaustion and was glad to see you kept hydrated! Congratulations!!

    • 

      I drink lots of water anyway but I’ve never experienced anything like this and I was glad of the people around me with the experience. After the third day I bought some rehydrating sports drink which worked a treat.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  15. 

    Charlotte,
    It was amazing, we really enjoyed the opera .you were fabulous on the first night.
    The costumes were lovely such vibrant colours, everyone looked amazing…
    Thoroughly enjoyed the whole performance, cannot wait for the next adventure.🤗🤗🤗😘

    • 

      I’m so happy the rain held off for you and that kind lady shared her blanket with you near the end of the performance. Thank you both for coming such a long way. I hope you enjoyed your holiday.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. 

    Sounds like an amazing opera and a fun time, even if it was in the hot weather. Very cool that the review singled out your performance!

    • 

      It’s a great role with a fabulous aria but I really was honoured to work with such a great experienced cast and the orchestra was brilliant it’s a shame they couldn’t risk being out in the open but it was just too hot and sunny and too exposed to be out of their marquee for three hours.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    This looks utterly delightful. Oh how I wish it were Cambridgeshire Opera… The review is all could could ask for, well done!

  18. 

    I was just thinking about you. I visited the Minack theatre in 2009. You look like you had a ball during the opera, and what amazing scenery too. Perhaps one day I will see you perform life. All the best for your forthcoming events. x

  19. 

    Was this your first time performing at this venue? The photos you saw before-hand don’t do it justice? I’m happy you were able to adjust to the heat. I also imagine your voice may carry differently outside opposed to indoors.

    • 

      Yes and it was a magnificent venue, you would just love the photograph opportunities and light down in Cornwall. I’m a Northerner who spent four years in Glasgow so I’m just not used to the level of heat we’ve had in this unusual summer this year, everything is parched and the grass is yellow! My grandparent sat at the very top of the theatre and said the sound was fabulous. I’ve sung outside before at Gawsworth Hall and their open air theatre but they had an open side marquee.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    What a wonderful experience for you! You look fabulous in your costume.

    • 

      Thank you, the dresses were the most magnificent I’ve worn to date. Some of my fellow cast members had three roles and lots of changes, and great wigs.
      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  21. 

    I apologise for being so late with my comments. Congratulations, Charlotte! The review is wonderful and I would love to have seen you in this fantastic performance. Thank you for providing so many glorious photos!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather August 7, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      No problem Clare I know you must be busy, hope all your family are well and you’re having a super summer. Best wishes Charlotte

  22. 

    Looks so much fun. So glad you drunk so much water.

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