The world behind the curtain…

Lowry - Backstage at the Lowry 23-06-16What an audience sees from their seats in a theatre can be magical, but often we forget about the world behind curtains and the glamour. The world of BACKSTAGE!

Our backstage staff work tirelessly to bring the magic of live theatre to life for the thousands of audience’s members that walk through our doors every day.

Our Lyric theatre, holds a massive 1756 at full capacity, this theatre backs onto our Quays theatre holding 450 people, separated only by our scene dock. Fun fact number 1 – When Jason Manford starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 2016, he would run from the Lyric theatre across the scene dock to perform a set with his comedian buddy Rich Hall on the Quays theatre then back into the Lyric for his big musical numbers.

We’re lucky enough to have one of the best loading bays in the country, as our building is only a young 20 years old, we’re fortunate to have a modern building to help us get set in and out in the quickest possible way. A bay can hold 3x 40ft 45 tonne trucks at any one time, these three bays are used for all three of our theatres and our galleries, so they see a lot of movement from day to day.

The Lyric is the biggest stage outside of London (except for The Millennium Centre in Wales, but let’s keep it England for now…) and takes 6 pots of 1.2 litre of matt black paint to do just one coat of the stage. Hanging right above the stage are 79 fly bars, where all the scenery and set make the stage look as magical as you see from the auditorium. These 79 fly bars can each hold the weight of 5 pandas! FIVE cute (heavy) cuddly panda’s!

Check out the video with our Technical Manager David Clare (many members of our tech team are called Dave, it’s very confusing…) for an insight into the lives of the tech team, who spend their days sometimes 23 meters above the stage! –

The first professional company to perform on this stage was the Paris Opera Ballet in April 2000, since then we’ve hosted over 300 Performances on this stage each year! Including TV favourites, Britain’s Got Talent and The Royal Variety, which, fun fact number 2; had 31x 45ft trucks to carry the stage and set, (That’s a lot of set).

Our technical team work all day and sometimes all night to build and take down set so the actors can take to the stage and do what they do best, perform for our lovely audiences. The average ‘get out’ (theatre talk for taking the set down) takes 4 to 6 hours, and is most often done following the final performance of their run, which as you can imagine will mean working late into the night. Fun fact number 3, for those of you who saw Magic Goes Wrong in 2019, this get out took 9.5 hours! Lots of coffee was drunk this night.

We’ve seen some massive stars come and go on our stages over the last 20 years; with thunderous applauds from audiences, this time let’s give the backstage crew a round of applause of their own!

Think you’ve got what it takes to become a technical team member, check out one of our other Dave’s telling you about his daily duties. –