John Slim reveals what is going on where in the world of amateur dramatics
Director Wiley Bowkett has made a trifling adjustment to the usual behind-the-scenes arrangements for Highbury Little Theatre's opening production of the forthcoming season: he's brought them into the spotlight.
Trivial Pursuits, by Frank Vickery, is a comedy concerning an amateur operatic society's backgarden barbecue, with four different women promised the leading role in four different productions and all sorts of backbiting between the bangers and beans.
It is going to be an impressive set, all constructed by the volunteers of the Sutton Coldfield venue's workshop. There will be a patio, pool, fountain, flower beds, arches and a lawn, with steps coming down into the auditorium, to make audience members feel as if they really are part of the festivities.
On one side of the garden is a wall and on the other a fence - and it is here that the wily Wiley has taken inventiveness a stage further, by having the prompt playing the part of the next-door neighbour, sitting in a deckchair on the other side of the fence, in full view of the audience.
The idea is that anybody lost for words will lean over the fence and be reminded - which means that things are certainly going to be different from any company's norm of frantically-whispered lines when crises arise.
Whether it turns out to be a good idea remains to be seen. It will involve thrusting the mechanics of the production into the faces of the patrons - who may or may not be comfortable with it.
I can't help hoping that the neighbour in the deckchair manages to remain undisturbed throughout the run of the production, which opens on September 20.