Community centre

The Cuttleslowe Community Centre is our home base, but it’s a well used building. We have to be pretty adaptable in our pre-show state. Right now there’s a dance class going on in the gym, the room we usually change in is full of young’uns, and the office, where we overspill in such circumstances, has got somebody on a Zoom meeting. There is a vegetable puppeteer coming, they have bug hunting expeditions, drama classes, cooking… It’s busy.

Some of us are sitting silently here, conserving energy before a show with a zoom meeting in full swing that includes my cousin outlaw. I’ve just put my socks on while she’s been saying something. If the weather was better we’d be outside. But it’s raining.

The break between shows went quicker than usual today as there’s another company in town, and their piece was running at the perfect time for us to catch it as we ate our lunch. It’s another show for the small humans, called Bicycle Boy. Two young scots in the pouring rain playing precious easily damaged instruments in the wet, while fraught looking men and women in hi-vis try to get the cables to the amp to connect safely in the wet, and rescue the instruments at every opportunity. A gaggle of us stood at the back of a very enthusiastic Oxford audience enjoying the energy we were receiving from that stage area, and we were secretly grateful that it wasn’t us up there as the rain came down. I was wrapped in a blanket from my car,a feeling slightly sheepish about the fact that I’d driven five minutes to get there in the rain, considering the subject matter was mostly “2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad”. I was happy to have caught it. A charming piece and two actors working beautifully with one another. Chemistry is always invigorating to witness. That was my recharge…

Before long I’ll be going out there in the rain. And it’s cold again. I wish it would make up its mind. I’ve only got one pair of socks on. I think when we are done tonight that I’m gonna go immediately home, have a hot shower and go to bed.

I can’t even find my flask to make a cup of tea, because after each show all six of us have to put everything we have into a room that’s not much bigger than a cupboard. My boots are in there somewhere too. It’ll all become apparent in the few minutes before we all go back outside, when we all individually remove the ridiculous objects we all need to make this thing happen.

It’s that time… Off into the rain. Once I find my boots.


It was lovely again. Of course. And now I’m halfway through the week and off to sleep and I’m still thoroughly enjoying myself and Badger is getting bossier and bossier but it’s all in the name of fun. And I’m tired. I’ve got to remember to budget my noise. I’m always trying to pick up the energy and keep it high as my audience comes towards me, so I don’t have to gee them up from zero. But they start at the other end of a field from me, and if it’s raining I can probably speed them up by about .05 of an mph and that’s after running my voice ragged. They’ll just lump their way to me, even if every single child sprints. Grownups are lazy. Lazy lazy lazy. Stop it. Connect with the version of you that would sprint for a bearded fool in a badger costume. That version of you could still see the colours. It is SO HARD to see the colours after a while. But it’s still possible. You just have to work hard at it.

Three more days. That’s it…

I’m off to bed.

Bicycle Boy.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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