Down The Rabbit Hole – Behind The Scenes

After the performances of Down the Rabbit Hole, we held 15-minute open discussions with the students, where they could ask questions about the storybook opera and working in the theatre industry. It was terrific that some of their questions focused on behind-the-scenes work in the Arts. With that in mind, I thought I would introduce you to some of the DTRH team who helped behind the scenes to make our opera magical and run smoothly.

Chloe Dodd worked as our Stage Manager. Chloe supported our team and helped to organise the day-to-day running of the team during rehearsals and on tour. During performances, she managed the props, costumes and putting up/striking of the set.

Organising these elements meant that each performance was consistent and the cast could perform to their optimal levels. Chloe was a huge help to me during the tour.

My mum, Tracy Hoather worked as a volunteer and took on multiple roles within the project both during the planning stages and during the tour. She helped me to bring my vision to life by creating a set design, on a very limited budget, where she re-purposed covid panels as wings, a covid hand sanitizer post as both a clock and a rose bush and shower curtains as scenic backdrops. I admire her creativity, drive and persistence to ensure that I could bring Wonderland alive.

My fabulous Dad, Gary Hoather drove the van which transported the set and costumes from School to School and helped with the publicity for the opera, the video editing and helped with understanding how to prepare my accounts.

My good friend Hilary Berkin helped as a volunteer to adapt a variety of shower curtains using her fabulous skills as a seamstress. The shower curtain curtains were used to change between scenes and her innovative solutions helped to enhance the production.

Gill Howard helped my mum to create pom-pom Hedgehogs for the children to use during the show. These were fantastic as it meant that children who couldn’t make them, could still participate.

To finish, I would love to share with you a link to a review written by Fiona Maddocks of the Guardian/Observer who came to watch our final performance at Frank Barnes School for Deaf.

43 thoughts on “Down The Rabbit Hole – Behind The Scenes

  1. Thank you for this information, Charlotte, the production had plenty of really good help! Your folks are are awesome people too. Happy Easter, guys! ❤️🙏🏻🇬🇧

    1. Thanks John, I forgot to mention my pilates friend Chiara who helped me to make the meditation game fun, she is fantastic at really getting her pupils to breathe properly and finds great cool down mediations after strenuous pilates lessons and I explained to her what I wanted and we worked together to formulate this little game. So many people just really wanting the show to go well.
      Best wishes

  2. The hearty support you have received, speaks volumes to the rightness of your project. What personal gratification everyone must feel. They obviously care a great deal about the benefits of the effort. And they care ever so much for YOU! As so many of us do, dear Charlotte!!

    1. So True Annette, my Mum was trying to make the pom-pom hedgehogs in her lunch breaks and Gill visited with her and offered to do them to help her out, I’m very grateful as they are quite fiddly but Gill does a lot of craft and her sister had a plastic pom-pom circle thing which was faster than using cardboard. My Mum suggested all the little foam faces and that worked really well, some of the children had stuck googly eyes on theirs and those looked great too. It seems a small thing but teaching children how to calm themselves down and do a little meditation before something they’re nervous about really does help.
      Best wishes

    1. I’ve been working flat out seven days per week, without them it would have overwhelmed me. When Hilary stepping in to do the stitching my Mum let out a big sigh of relief as she hasn’t sewn for a long time and couldn’t remember how to use her old sewing machine hehe, we even thought about glueing them together to save time.
      Best wishes

      1. Don’t forget about the handyman’s or handywoman’s secret weapon — Duck Tape.

      2. Hahaha we held the glockenspiel together with duck tape until my Dad soldered (is that the word?) it back together for us.

      3. Soldered is correct. Good for you dat. Duck Tape is great stuff. Have you seen the Red Green Show? He makes great use of Duck Tape. It’s an old Canadian comedy. If you need a break and a laugh look in up on YouTube if you haven’t seen it.

    1. Thank you John, I managed to invite Gill and Hilary to watch one of the performances as one of the schools allowed parents and a couple of my visitors to one of the shows. Hilary said it made her quite emotional and Gill just loved it.
      Best wishes

  3. Wow! Congratulations on the Guardian review! It’s great to see this project getting some attention. I so admire your enterprise and work ethic, and this project is especially inspiring. Now bring it to the US so I can see it and review it on my blog! 😉 Best wishes always, Charlotte, to you and your whole gang—family, co-workers—and the children that you have touched with your artistry.

    1. Thank you Peter, I was a. Thrilled that she accepted my invitation to watch the show, I’d sent so many out without hearing anything back, and b. That Fiona Maddocks got what we were trying to achieve, that we were able to show just how able and capable we are and that we could make a fully inclusive show for a range of hearing audience with the audience fully participating. I’d love to bring it to the States, I understand that Zoe has several multi-lingual sign language capabilities.
      Best wishes

    1. Thank you Maria for your encouragement, I’d like to take it further but as I’ve found out it is very expensive to produce a show like this and having to raise sufficient funds to do so and some people think its quite niche when it really isn’t and could be more widely seen by families even. It’s got legs we just need to figure out a way to raise awareness to take it further.
      Best wishes

      1. You can launch a Youtube channel with international streaming, dear Charlotte. I can help you with quality trandlation in Italian & Russian. As I know, if you get a big audience there, the Youtube pays you back.

      2. Thats very interesting Maria I didn’t know that, You Tube isn’t a high pay back here.

      3. Well…I don’t know the worldwide situation, but the fact that you can create a stable audience you need badly is a good clue for you. Your project fits for all the ages, besides the plot is well-known. It could work out. I hope so much! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      4. Look at the Tico Parrot project, by the way. The one I share in my blog with my stories. Frank & the company did not expect him to become a Youtube star. Besides, if you use streaming, you will easily get how to improve your project for it to become more mature. You never know what expects you behind a new corner. 🙂

      5. I can immagine how expensive these things are! I have written a book sone years ago &still have no necessary amount to pay the piblishing. Covid had a negative impact on the affairs.

      6. Yes covid was difficult in many ways, without it however, I would not have had time to start the learning I required so every cloud ☁️….

    1. It made me so happy I nearly cried! She got it, the reason for the show, the thought behind what we were trying to create for a diverse audience, we had the added benefits of increasing deaf awareness in the hearing schools, the children really did ask the most aware questions and wanted to know more about BSL and hearing loss.
      Best wishes

  4. You parents have always been very supportive of their children – no wonder you all have your individual successes!!

    1. My volunteers all knew I felt passionate about this show. My parents read and re-read my applications for funding and encouraged me every step of the way. My brother Matt watched Mum and I colouring in the drawings we’d done for the booklet with pro-markers which was quite difficult with some of the fine line drawings and we were contemplating using pencil crayons instead and said, “why don’t you scan them and colour them on your iPad”, he taught us the basics of how to do it over his Christmas holiday which was great and allowed us to change colours. I’m sure you’d be just as supportive of your children 😊.
      Best wishes

  5. So great, Charlotte, that you recognize and praise the people behind the scenes.
    And isn’t it great to work with your family. I loved working with my sons and nephews. Very often there was my 5 sons and my 5 nephews on the same time.

    1. I couldn’t have pulled it off without my family volunteering for free to help out Don. I can’t really call it ‘work’ because it was done for love 💕. My youngest brother Tom read and re-read my educational booklet, my eldest brother helped me to make props, I’ve detailed my parents and friends help above but there is so much more than I ever imagined that goes on behind a performance. It has been fabulous working and touring with George rather than just being ships that pass in the night which would have happened had he not been fully immersed in the rehearsals and tour with me. My parents even put us all up during the tour and became like tour parents hehe, they told me that they really did enjoy this and getting to know everyone and enjoy the after show buzz.
      Best wishes

  6. What a fantastic team! Congratulations to you all for the success of this tour but especially to you, Charlotte. I am sure you must be very pleased with that excellent review in the Guardian – no less than you deserved! Well done!

  7. Charlotte, it is so great that you share credits.
    Many are required to make a show happen.
    I am impressed, in particular with your parents. Their support ever since I met you has been more than obvious. The world could use more parents like yours.

    OMG! I read the review. LSO/Noseda – 4 stars &. DTRH – 5 stars.
    Way to go Charlotte!

    So, I have put in only a small amount of time on your Art Gown’s tail since last we chat.
    I’ve also started the hem on the lavender underskirt.
    The Art Gown going to the Gala in NYC has been a lot of work, in spite of the fact it was already made.
    My Judy is size 6 US/10UK and for someone about 5’6″.

    The woman wearing “Belle Grace” to the Gala is 5’9″ tall and a size 12 US/16 UK.
    I turned the tail into a stole.
    Anyway, I’m almost finished, and the gown is leaving Monday night! YAY!!!

    All my sewing time will then be dedicated to “Charlotte’s Song” (working name).
    Plus, my taxes are finished. Funny how my mind gets bogged during taxes.

    I look forward to seeing what you are up to next!


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