The Final Bow
On the eve of departure, the past was honoured in a theatrical ‘goodbye’ to all the memories associated with the Hale Street La Boite theatre and also, for some older members, memories of the original La Boite in the Sexton Street timber cottage. Under the leadership of Rosemary Walker and Jim Vilé, and stage managed by Annette Kerwitz, this ‘goodbye’ was a celebration – a two night sold-out season of theatrical memories called The Final Bow, created and presented by former and present La Boite theatre makers representing each of the decades since the 1960s. This was a celebration, in Artistic Director Sean Mee’s words, of “a unique form of theatre-making, defined by the closeness, the dynamic interaction between audience and actor, the intensity of emotion and the sense of adventure that the space inspires.”[i] A highlight of the event was Kaye Stevenson’s personal reminiscences about major events in La Boite’s ‘life’ in the Hale Street precinct; as her involvement began in 1968 and included performances in twenty-three productions, she had much to recount. Let her final words on that historic occasion end this part of the story: [ii]
Here we are 31 years later saying farewell to this wonderful place which holds so many memories for so many people. So much joy, excitement, expectation, terror, sweat, laughter and tears held in the memory of these bricks, out here in this arena – and boy, if those tunnels could talk.
Many, many actors, designers, stage managers and writers learned their craft here, and many a theatre-goer discovered, or re-discovered the thrill of live theatre in this intimate space, and the even more intimate space that preceded it.
So, as we leave, and close the doors for the last time, don’t forget where we came from, and the people who went before us and gave us the opportunity to keep forging ahead.
Let us take out memories with us, so that the ghosts that inhabit this warm and welcoming space, might come with us to our new home, and encourage us to go on to even greater glories.
Thank you to this dear, dear place.
Writer: Christine Comans