The big tidy up

Hello friends! Happy Sunday afternoon – we hope you are all keeping well, staying safe and finding things to fill your time. We thought it was time we came back with a big roundup of what’s happening at the Theatre Upstairs, so pop the kettle on, make a brew and settle down for a good old catch up.

As with all good catch ups, it’s best to start at the beginning so let’s take it back to March. We went dark, as the theatre lingo goes, as soon as lockdown began and for a long time our lovely theatre stood empty and alone, with nothing but the last set to keep her company. People popped in and made sure everything was okay, to check that there were no leaks or burst pipe surprises, but thankfully all stayed well throughout. Our Tuesday work crew was disbanded at the same time to keep all our volunteers safe. For some, who have been going to Tuesday work night for longer than they can remember, the change was abrupt and a real shock to the system. But the Tuesday crew are a tough lot and so we battled it out! The good news is that all of our crew are safe, keeping well and continue to remain in good spirits, despite the lockdown challenges.

As we kept a vigilant eye on the news and guidelines, the theatre committee jumped on the Zoom bandwagon and we had a few meetings via everyone’s favourite lockdown app. Some of us might even have had a cheeky glass of vino while we were taking notes… A positive spirit was the name of the game as we all tried to keep buoyant and hope that we would be able to get back to our theatre life soon and, most importantly, that we would come back bigger and stronger. Despite the setbacks, the ever-changing guidelines and the uncertainty, we are delighted to let you know that we’ve kept our heads above water.

We definitely have Thelma to thank for this who has become a mask-making queen! Her fab, homemade masks have been going down a storm, receiving high praise from all and must now have been seen all over Teesside! If you haven’t got one yet, you should definitely place an order, and all proceeds are going to the theatre. If you would like to find out more information or place an order, drop us a message on our Facebook page and Thelma will be in touch.

In the last month or so we have ventured back in to the theatre as a small, socially-distanced crew. We’ve been working up a storm and can now proudly say that we’ve seen more of our floors in the props loft and old stage than we even knew existed! Highlights include Jo getting wiggy with it and sorting through and combing almost 100 wigs! We have more chairs than we know what to do with and the skip pile is growing daily. We’re aiming for a Bank Holiday weekend skip party (socially distanced of course!) and whatever we can’t skip will be recycled, go to a good home, be Freecycled or possibly end up in Wendie’s back garden!

Throughout the big tidy up, we’ve also formed a new collective called Create Tees Valley. It’s very early days in this new venture and we’ve got a long journey ahead of us, but our hope is that we can only be even stronger as a group – we’re ready to take on the world (well, the Tees Valley) and we can’t wait for what is to come. Be sure to give us a follow so that you can find out what happens next.

Finally, from the bottom of our hearts we would like to say a huge thank you to YOU! Whoever you are, however you support us, your likes, loves, comments, messages, laughter and joy help us to keep on keeping on. We cannot WAIT for the day when we can let you know that we’re putting on our first show.

We will be back. And we very much look forward to seeing you there x