I have discovered – sort of – the answer to my failure to understand why child actors have to be off-stage and out of sight by 10pm but Wimbledon’s wonderful ball boys and ball girls were able to remain on show and on duty until Andy Murray and Stanslas Wawrinka had finally settled their differences at 10.45pm.
I was no nearer enlightenment, as I reported last week, after telephoning the Department for Children. But then, too late for me to tell you, the department rang back 24 hours later to explain that the entertainment industry has more strict rules than other industries – which did not actually get me anywhere, as it was because I had realised the existence of that difference that I had been prompted to enquire in the first place.
Most theatre groups that have suffered the frustrations of sometimes pushy and generally unnecessary chaperones and their attendant licensing regulations in the familiar surroundings of a village hall would probably still like to know why the difference in rules has come about. After all, however different the rules, the common factor is the children.
Chaperones are either necessary or they are not. Theatre managed without them for hundreds of years, and if Wimbledon does not need them when its children are on show to millions in the watching world, then neither does the local community centre.
* While the talented troupe of Crescent Theatre players continue their annual outdoor tour of Shakespeare – it’s The Taming of the Shrew this year and the next stop is Harvington Hall, near Kidderminster, from Friday to Sunday – members of youth group Stage 2 are planning to move into the Crescent with a shot of Shakespeare of their own.
The youngsters will present their highly-populated version of Twelfth Night in Brindleyplace from December 16-19. It will be set in the Victorian era and as it will be the group’s 100th major production it is promising festive treats and special surprises.
Before then, however, opening next Wednesday, Stage 2 takes on a very different challenge with David Hare’s The Permanent Way, examining the issues arising from the spate of train crashes that began to scar the national consciousness in the 1990s.
* From Thursday to Saturday next week, Highbury Theatre Centre is reviving its production of The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband – at the Old Joint Stock, in Temple Row.
Highbury’s studio theatre in Sutton Coldfield was unable to cope with the demand for seats in February.
* The Taming of the Shrew: Crescent Players, (Harvington Hall, near Kidderminster (July 17-19);
* Dad’s Army: Oldbury Repertory Players, Barlow Theatre, Langley (July 11-15);
* The Memory of Water: Hall Green Little Theatre (July 13-18).