My week with Gecko took place in Manchester on their tour to HOME, after having seen Gecko’s performances before and being a big fan of their work I was excited to be able to spend a week fully immersed in their touring process.
The week started with a busy flurry of activity unloading lorries and piecing together the massive puzzle of a set during the get in. The production team were a friendly and open group who knew each other well and were very welcoming. It was a joy to watch and be part of transforming a bare stage into the mysterious world of Institute, and in such a short amount of time. It amazed me to see the production manager and technical manager sanding and grinding down parts of the drawers to fit the new set hours before the first show was due to start, and then to watch the show run seamlessly that evening. It’s goes as a testament to how experienced the team at Gecko are.
It was great to meet the producer at Gecko and understand the process of getting programmes and flyers ready for the tour, and to meet the front of house team from HOME. It was particularly interesting to learn that counsellors from the local mental health organisation, Manchester Self Help Services were going to be there at each show to offer support to the audience post show. This acted as a lovely transition to bring us into the workshop and post show discussions held over the next few days, and was particularly interesting to meet them and hear their thoughts after the shows.
As the week progressed I sat in on rehearsals with the cast, which was very generous, and gave me a sneak peek on how even in a show that has been running for over a year there is room for changes and perfecting moments. I was also able to watch the show every night, from back stage, from the auditorium and from the LX and sound booth-which has been a privilege and has given me a well-rounded knowledge of all aspects of how the show is run. Being able to sit down with the LX re-lighter and talk through more specialized questions I had, was a valuable addition to the week. My schedule as a whole was very generous and tailored giving me a jam-packed and really insightful week in touring a production from the get in to the get out, and everything in between.
From the cast and production team at Gecko to the staff at HOME I was welcomed with open arms and free to question anything I was curious about. It was a wonderful experience and I hope to take everything I learnt with me through my career and keep in touch!