I want to step out of chronological order for a while to recognise the help and support I have had along this project. To begin with I probably would not have started, or returned to the idea, without the original gift of this book from my sister, between having it sat on my shelf looking at me and her routine prompting to put on a play, any play, even when it was the last thing I wanted to hear, I suppose this was going to happen sooner or later. I also owe more than I can say to her constant support since embarking on this project. The same goes for my parents and all my sisters who have listened to months of me working through everything from the big decisions of venue and time to the tiny detail of how a sock might become a bird, without ever looking like it wasn't a sock?! They have listened, they have encouraged, they have been talked at and asked for opinions that have been ignored, entertained then dismissed, or eagerly absorbed by this process without further thanks or credit. Extra thanks must also go to my mum who has gone above and beyond producing our 'puppets'; bespoke dolls that one of our characters, 'Mary', has packed when she ran away from home and a beautiful addition for a moment of storytelling. Mum also worked valiantly this week to alter our costumes, including heroically restoring a Victorian traveling cloak, which arrived full of holes and covered in feathers and is now ready for its second life on the stage.
I have to thank Danny, my life and work partner of five years and my husband as of this May. He has been endlessly patient and supportive and someone I could turn to whenever I felt it was all too much for a hug, an affirmation and a reminder to get back to the work. It is Dan that helped make my ideas reality when it has come to our posters and the set, tasks he has embraced with his habitual skill and commitment to quality.
There is thanks due to anyone I have ever talked to about this project, you have all helped me sound out the ideas that have fed the final result, but particular thanks goes to those who have been more involved: Louise Pearson, I knew if ever I made theatre I would be lucky to have you on hand and your steady and thoughtful advice throughout has been endlessly helpful; Elliott Wallis, I have been able to entrust the sound design completely to your skills and am so excited to hear the end result this weekend; Charlotte Harris, thank you for stepping up to help us polish what we had blocked in the last round of rehearsal and Lily Howkins, I'm so excited to have you coming in this week to help us polish our movement before the preview.
The point of all this thanks is that, with a week till our first preview and three weeks until we open in Edinburgh I have just packed the bags of all our props and costumes and as I packed it all I realised that, with a little help from our friends, we are almost there. Now it is time for rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal and we can hardly do enough over the next few weeks to make sure this story is ready for you all to enjoy.