Beverley Coleclough was part of the Little Angel Theatre Company, and toured extensively with John Wright and her fellow company members. Here Beverely takes a look back at a Scottish Tour during the winter – not the best conditions for puppeteers, but certainly memorable it would appear.
Beverley worked for many years as a teacher of art, but now concentrates on her own work as an artist. Visit her website here.
This is part of the 50th Memories series.
Scotland Tour 1966
It started snowing the day we arrived and only stopped the day we left. Mary (Kenny) and I shared a double bed and when we woke up the first morning there was frost on the top of the blanket on our bed.
We were invited for tea at a large house in Edinburgh where the house was filled with museum sized glass cases of stuffed animals everywhere. When we walked into the sitting-room there was a live owl, which had been injured, perched on the back of a chair.
On the Isle of Skye part of the tour … locals hid behind the tabs at the back of the stage peering at us from the dark whilst we set up stage.
Another time one local lad burst through the door, whilst we were resting before the show in the back room. He stood still for a good five minutes without saying moving or saying anything …. he suddenly turned around on his heels and shot out the door and disappeared as fast as he came in …… we were none the wiser.
One place we performed in was a tiny village hall on a small peninsula in the middle of an area of water and surrounded by snow. It was so cold that we couldn’t feel our fingers whilst we were setting up the stage. When I asked one of the organisers why they had only put the wall heaters on for one half of the hall …. the reply was that the hall was only going to be half full! It was a marionette show so we couldn’t operate the puppets with gloves on!
The snow was so thick that John had put chains on the tyres as it was pretty treacherous driving up and down the steep slopes … to keep ourselves warm Mary and I were both knitting extra long ‘Doctor Who’ style scarves. Mary’s was for Graham, and mine was for Chris Leith (who went on to become artistic director of the Little Angel). They were a blessing as they kept our knees and legs warm the faster we knitted them.
Miles from anywhere John stopped the van as we wanted a ‘relief’ stop. Girls to the left of the vehicle and boys to the right….. I nipped behind a very large pile of snowdrift and was just about to pull my pants up when I heard heavy breathing behind me …… as I cautiously looked behind me I saw a giant moose with massive antlers. When I got back to the vehicle one of the lads had gone off to find a sheltered spot and was casually walking back towards us when suddenly his left leg disappeared down into a deep ditch and we couldn’t help him out for laughing.
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