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A slightly later start today meant there was time for the Company to visit a few sights or do a little shopping before class. The Forbidden City and Summer Palace were popular destinations as well as the Silk Market where incredible bargains are said to be had! The NCPA is situated just off Tiananmen Square so we have had great views of the Great Hall of the People and the Forbidden City on our doorstep.
Today, class was a little later but with more work to do to prepare a further cast of Romeo & Juliet plus two new casts for Madame Butterfly, the company were busy all day. This has been the busiest year in recent history for the Company with regards to the numbers of productions we have had in repertoire.
A brief spell of company partying last night was succeeded by a busy day of preparations for our opening night of Romeo & Juliet. The Technicians were back on stage at 9am finding ways to adapt the requirements of the production to the availability of local equipment. In the UK we tour our own lighting which is always in perfect working order but the logistics of overseas touring, particularly to the Far East, means that there is insufficient shipping time between the end of the UK tour and the date it is required overseas.
The BA flight from Manchester to Heathrow was an hour late departing but only reduced the time to wait for the Beijing flight so did not create any problems. We can now stop worrying about the weather for a week until it is time to return home on 6 January! Almost as soon as check in was complete at the hotel, it was time for the Press Conference.
We have set off on our third international tour of the year. This time to Beijing where we will be giving three performances of Romeo & Juliet and two performances of Madame Butterfly in the state of the art National Centre for Performing Arts. As always the Technical Department has gone one day in advance to start the fit up. All went well with the flights and despite the recent bad weather the flights from Manchester to Amsterdam and then onwards to Beijing were close to the scheduled times.
It is always a challenge working in venues overseas with language barriers and unfamiliar equipment. Though staff here are very willing tasks take longer than usual and the crew continued well into the night, focusing the lights.The stage of the Cultural Centre is very large and Christmas Carol, designed for all our touring venues in the UK, will look a little small but the energy from the dancers will make it look huge!
The Company is giving two performances of A Christmas Carol at the Bangkok International Festival of Music and Dance on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September. This is a very prestigious festival and we are delighted to be back having performed Peter Pan here in 2005.