Backstage pass to theatre

The Kings Theatre is holding an open day.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (100227-050)
The Kings Theatre is holding an open day.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (100227-050)
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Anyone who has ever sat in the audience at a theatre and wondered what’s going on behind the scenes, or what it feels like to be on the stage, can find out this weekend when the Kings Theatre at Southsea holds its fifth annual open day.

At the event, from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, visitors can also find out all about the historic theatre’s story and its role in the community.

Attractions include history tours, technical tours and trips to the fly floor.

There are workshops for all ages too, covering everything from circus skills, stage combat, drumming, physical theatre, vocals and bhangra dancing to stage design, stage make-up and lighting.

Visitors can also dress-up in stage costumes, take part in craft activities, learn about the history of panto at the Kings and meet the team and trust members.

At the end of the day there will be showcases from the various workshops, including a multilingual mini-play by children aged four to seven.

Organisations attending include the Kings Youth Theatre, Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth Music Service, University of Portsmouth and Guildford School of Acting.

Plus, the Heart FM mobile studio will be on site and a famous face from children’s TV favourite Milkshake! will be making an appearance and meeting youngsters.

There will be two film crews on hand to interview visitors about their memories of the Kings. Their footage will be added to the theatre’s video archive.

The event’s organiser and Kings education coordinator, Sonia Vidal, says: ‘We want people to learn to love their local theatre because the theatre wouldn’t be here without the community.

‘We want to show visitors why we’re here, how we’ve changed over the years and all the shows they can watch.

‘But the main aim is just to have fun. ’

Sonia is encouraging visitors to bring along their smartphones to take photos of the event and post them on Facebook or tweet them with the hashtag #KingsOpen13, for the chance to win two free tickets to a show.

‘That’s a nice sign of how the theatre’s changed over the years,’ she adds. ‘We have doors used in 1907, but people are also coming to us via social media.’

Tickets cost £2.50 in advance or £4 on the day. A family ticket for four costs £8 in advance or £12 on the day.