Intern

by Jessica Hodgson

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014

 Personally I’ve always loved theatre. Whether going to see shows with friends and family or participating in performances myself throughout my school years, it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I have never before had the opportunity to experience what makes it all work. Until now…Although my time so far as part of the Park Theatre family has been short, the small but extremely dedicated team has…

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MY FIRST BLOG

by JJ Almond

Friday, 15 November, 2013

Well this is my first Blog, so I am JJ, I am the interim Executive Director. Our Trustees (Management Committee) are currently in the process of recruiting a permanent Executive Producer to replace this role. My role is to oversee the organisation with Jez, Melli and Dorcas. The main focus is the money and how we use it as well as the nuts and bolts of how all the departments work. Last night was the Press Night for The Door, following hot on the tails of Press Night for The Dead Wait - two fabulous shows that everyone should see! Press nights are always fun, w…

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THE LACK OF OFFICE PARTY

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 18 December, 2012

With our over addiction to work we have pretty much forgotten to hold our office party. Well of course we also don't really have a physical office yet - it's ever changing and anyway office is a state of mind in our world. Nevertheless I managed to get some of the team together this Tuesday evening for some much needed Mexican and Margaritas. We can't help ourselves but chat about work. We tried talk…

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WINNERS AND LOSERS

by Park Theatre

Wednesday, 12 December, 2012

As ABBA has been telling us repeatedly since 1980, the winner, when all is said and done, takes it all.  We can surmise that it doesn’t matter what is taken, provided there’s nothing left for the person who hasn’t won.  This can be a hard slice of cake to swallow, which is why Benny and Björn's consoling lyrics and open vowels are as important today as they were back when Thai-dye short sleeved shirts were the done thing to we…

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MILESTONES

by Park Theatre

Friday, 14 September, 2012

Yesterday was my birthday and (as Jez mentioned in last night's blog) it also happened to be the day of the Park family dinner at the theatre's local restaurant, Season Kitchen. Milestones like this always prompt us (for good or ill) to project ourselves backwards and forwards in time.  Melli (Creative Director) and I will always remember the first time we celebrated my birthday together, during the run of a show called Independence back i…

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BREATHE

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

It seems a silly thing to need to remind oneself of - to breathe. But it can be such an important thing to do in our lives where stress makes you tight mouthed, and dry throated. In the world of building a small thing as a new theatre it can be - well a little stressful at times. Today I spent the entire day breathing. No not in a yoga studio (though I do love my yoga, as you regular readers with know). No today it was in a recording studio for the entertainment of others. Yes all day long I did variations on breathing, long breaths, short breaths, gasping, desperate, panic breathes and …

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PROPOSE TO ME

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 3 July, 2012

It isn't something I often ask of people but I will start to say this very soon over the coming weeks. Give me a proposal. Not for marriage - not to last a lifetime- but for something exciting and thrilling that would last about 4 weeks and then you can move on. Make it interesting, make me laugh so much I might wet myself. Make me fall in love, make me cry so hard I can't stop. I would like to feel something deeply. If you think you can do that for me then talk to me - send me a proposal. It doesn't have to be in a Tiffany's box this time. No, I'd actually prefer it …

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FILING

by Park Theatre

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

We’ve recently had a series of meetings about different ways of storing, tagging and sharing files.  I know, I know, we really put the roll back into rock at Park Theatre, and why stop the fun before you get to data management.  Unsurprisingly we solved one of the great itches of modern technology, but just as Jez was placing the deposit on a tropical island with the projected profit from his solution, we discovered that a few other people had already invented the same wheel.  To whoever you are, and wherever your tropical island happens to be, we salute you. 

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FAMILIES

by Park Theatre

Monday, 18 June, 2012

The last few months I’ve thought a lot about my family. This has much to do with the fact I’ve had few big changes in my life and they’ve been a fountain of support and advice. I’ve also thought about how their lives change and I see how it affects them, and in turn the affect it has on me. We are related so, certain life events become interrelated. Your family, in the traditional meaning, are partly what makes you who you are, whether you know them or not (I’m talking DNA) but they can be the people you surround yourself with and they in…

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MEGA RED

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 12 June, 2012

I'm taking these little supplements called Mega Red. They are supposed to give you clarity of mind and maybe give you a bit of extra strength. I think that its working pretty well. I've got a good vision of what the building will look like. I've got a clear picture of who we are as a company. The main focus for me at the moment is on raising funds, awareness and curating the space. We are about to launch a just giving page - and we hope you'll spread the word and also donate a little something. It's very easy really. We are also working on our Autumn Gala -…

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RAINING DOWN

by Park Theatre

Monday, 11 June, 2012

Everyone at Park is juggling a number of different projects and jobs all the time. I feel that we mention this fair a bit, but it does have a massive impact. There is a constant flow of things to do, people to meet, strategies to think about. I personally have at least 4 'to do' lists going on at any one time.  Hence, tonight is my shortest blog ever. I have an exam at the end of the week so that gets to the top of all the lists. Having said that, we, including some of our wonderful Helpers will be at Park tomorrow (weather permitting!) with an informatio…

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WHAT MAKES A GREAT SHOWCASE

by Park Theatre

Friday, 8 June, 2012

Attending the exceptional MonologueSlam at Rich Mix this week inspired me to think about the qualities of a successful performers' showcase (a very very hard thing to pull off).  Here are a few: 1. A great compere who keeps the energy up, inspires confidence in the event (nerves, on the part of the participants and infecting the audience, can kill a showcase) and keeps the whole show flowing.  I had my doubts about the idea of having a compere at all, thinking it could make the evening feel more…

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NEW WEBSITE A MATTER OF DAYS AWAY

by Jez Bond

Friday, 18 November, 2011

Exciting times. New website days away. Development pack the same. A private launch to our board on Monday evening and then the public unveiling to follow shortly after.

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NEW WEBSITE A MATTER OF DAYS AWAY

by Jez Bond

Friday, 18 November, 2011

Exciting times. New website days away. Development pack the same. A private launch to our board on Monday evening and then the public unveiling to follow shortly after. I’ve just learned to scan on the new printer. Forgot it could do that. Took a while to figure it out but now extremely helpful – no longer the need to rush over to Dave’s and ask for a favour! The frustrating thing was that it ran out of ink earlier – both black and colour – so I had to rush down to PC world (I made it just before they closed at 8pm). The printer cost around £…

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OFFICE PARTY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 November, 2011

If you’re expecting a night out sitting in an auditorium watching a play on stage and you’re not able to adapt your expectations then Office Party at the Pleasance just isn’t for you. If, however, you fancy a non-traditional theatrical experience, a few drinks, some laughs and perhaps the opportunity to make some friends then this is just the ticket! I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it but suffice to say it’s enormous fun, full of surprises and I highly recommend it.

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OFFICE PARTY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 November, 2011

 If you’re expecting a night out sitting in an auditorium watching a play on stage and you’re not able to adapt your expectations then Office Party at the Pleasance just isn’t for you. If, however, you fancy a non-traditional theatrical experience, a few drinks, some laughs and perhaps the opportunity to make some friends then this is just the ticket! I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it but suffice to say it’s enormous fun, full of surprises and I highly recommend it. Great to see two known faces in the ‘show’…

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BIT BY BIT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Bit by bit today things have been getting closer to the finish line. On site I witnessed the fitting of some of the steel that had been delivered by the crane yesterday. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle it’s all starting to take shape. The hoarding at the front has received its first coat of red and a new ramp has been erected inside, to take the new steels up half a storey to the back of the building on the upper ground floor.

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BIT BY BIT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Bit by bit today things have been getting closer to the finish line. On site I witnessed the fitting of some of the steel that had been delivered by the crane yesterday. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle it’s all starting to take shape. The hoarding at the front has received its first coat of red and a new ramp has been erected inside, to take the new steels up half a storey to the back of the building on the upper ground floor. We had a good meeting with Charles from Hall Stage and started to chat about how and when we would go about the install of his kit – t…

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THE CRANE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

The road was closed and the crane arrived…. Wow! Sadly I did not make it to site today, with so much happening ‘back at the base’. Such a shame as I would have liked to video some of the manoeuvres. At least Jordan kindly emailed through some pictures.

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THE CRANE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

The road was closed and the crane arrived…. Wow! Sadly I did not make it to site today, with so much happening ‘back at the base’. Such a shame as I would have liked to video some of the manoeuvres. At least Jordan kindly emailed through some pictures. The crane delivered the largest steels to the front of the building. It also delivered the steels for the cantilevered bay window which have been installed. It’s great to see some of these large elements take shape. I’m on site tomorrow in meetings for most of the day – and look fo…

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THE CRANE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

The road was closed and the crane arrived…. Wow! Sadly I did not make it to site today, with so much happening ‘back at the base’. Such a shame as I would have liked to video some of the manoeuvres. At least Jordan kindly emailed through some pictures. The crane delivered the largest steels to the front of the building. It also delivered the steels for the cantilevered bay window which have been installed. It’s great to see some of these large elements take shape. I’m on site tomorrow in meetings for most of the day – and look fo…

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NO TRUTH BENDING REQUIRED

by Jez Bond

Monday, 14 November, 2011

A lot of work spent on grant applications for the Education Floor today. We are about to submit our second and, hopefully, as the week continues more will flow… It’s taken so long getting to the first one but that is apparently just the way it as; as the initial stages involve the most work – in our case re-drafting the business plan, creating a Case for Support and preparing answers for the array of questions that funders can ask.

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NO TRUTH BENDING REQUIRED

by Jez Bond

Monday, 14 November, 2011

A lot of work spent on grant applications for the Education Floor today. We are about to submit our second and, hopefully, as the week continues more will flow… It’s taken so long getting to the first one but that is apparently just the way it as; as the initial stages involve the most work – in our case re-drafting the business plan, creating a Case for Support and preparing answers for the array of questions that funders can ask. Having been through this process I am now feeling even more confident. I suppose because so many people end up needin…

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FRIDAY FINISH LINE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 11 November, 2011

It’s a race to the finish line and I’m racing against the clock. It’s 19.39 as I type this and I’d love to close the laptop lid by 20.00. Hope everyone’s enjoying a relaxing Friday night….!

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SEASON KITCHEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 November, 2011

This evening four of us went to Season Kitchen for, shamefully, the first time. The restaurant opened earlier this year and, judging by reviews online and by the fact that it was full tonight (luckily we had booked), seems to be doing incredibly well. And so it should be – the food was delicious, the service was great, the atmosphere was just right and the bill was very reasonable (we could have well spent double in a lesser restaurant in the centre of town. A great little find – I shall certainly be spreading the word.

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SEASON KITCHEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 November, 2011

This evening four of us went to Season Kitchen for, shamefully, the first time. The restaurant opened earlier this year and, judging by reviews online and by the fact that it was full tonight (luckily we had booked), seems to be doing incredibly well. And so it should be – the food was delicious, the service was great, the atmosphere was just right and the bill was very reasonable (we could have well spent double in a lesser restaurant in the centre of town. A great little find – I shall certainly be spreading the word. If it wasn’t for all that delicious Pro…

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VAT DOESN\'T HAVE TO BE BORING!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 9 November, 2011

What a great night! It was the annual fundraiser for the Charity Finance Directors’ Group and I was kindly invited by SOC VAT, our VAT consultants. Socrates, who runs the company, is that rare thing – a true expert and someone who can translate complex matters into layman’s terms. If ever anyone needs VAT advice – he specialises in Charities and has some great theatres on his books – then he is your man. Check them out: www.socvat.com Tom, his colleague, who runs a firm that provides business advice – and again has an impressive c…

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OTHELLO

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 8 November, 2011

Been working with Charlie for the most part today. Excited to have him on board. Now he has loads to do – and is making good headway! We saw a very good production of Othello tonight – very pleased we went. Great performance from Iago. Short blog as tired and still so much work to do (yes typical I know). More tomorrow…

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KITCHEN SINK DRAMA

by Jez Bond

Monday, 7 November, 2011

We watched Wesker’s ‘The Kitchen’ at the NT tonight – a play I, and I think most people, hadn’t seen since Daldry’s production many years ago. After a drink and catch up with three fellow ex-Hull University members who were in the show, we are heading back home to complete some final emails before bed. It’s been a full day – Dave Hughes had some strong words to our contractors about the delay in the steelwork on site, Melli booked in a load more industry tours (two slots now fully booked) and I – amongst many other things – faci…

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SPARK AND TINGLE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 4 November, 2011

With now hundreds of emails flying in and out of my Mac I feel a quiet buzz of satisfaction this lovely Friday. I think the small firework display was really apt for me as I went into the Pleasance to see ‘Madeline On Toes’ presented by Hitgelamp Theatre Co. The small display reminded me of my own personal mini triumph over pain. No not the pain and stress you might think from creating a theatre but from a very old dance injury. I have started acupuncture and massage and with the wise Chinese natural wellness I am actually starting to feel relief. A tingle in my leg is a wond…

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FLATS FOR SALE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 November, 2011

We’ve just put our flats on the market today – not through an estate agent but through personal emails to a number of people who expressed an interest in purchasing the properties, potentially ‘off plan’. Next week the steel for the third and fourth floors gets craned on and things will start to move quickly. As we currently stand the completion date for the four one bedroom flats and one two bedroom penthouse is likely to be April 2012. Anyone interested should send an email to our [email protected] address so that we can send you some more information……

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DEGREES OF FAMILIARITY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

On my way to Islington Arts Factory for our 33rd tour of a fellow venue. I haven’t been there for years and am keen to take a look inside. Later we’re returning to Teatro Technis where we saw a production just a month ago. In the middle it’s meetings on site and a review of the hoarding panels which have arrived. Hooray!

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PETER BROOK EMPTY SPACE AWARDS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 1 November, 2011

Today Melli and I were invited to the Annual Peter Brook Empty Space Awards. This is a ceremony that recognises innovation, creativity and excellence in smaller off West End, Fringe and Studio theatres across the UK. The event took place in the National Theatre Studio on The Cut and was attended by nearly 200 people made up in the most part by artistic directors, producers and critics. The ceremony was chaired, as it was organised, by the renowned theatre critic and real character, Blanche Marvin. It was our first trip to the awards and wonderful to be part of such an importan…

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HALLOWEEN

by Jez Bond

Monday, 31 October, 2011

The weekend was as busy as ever and towards the end of Sunday I flopped down on the sofa limbs weak, head gently aching – not enough to be ill but just to subtly taunt me – and eyes sore. I felt like the whole of the last few months had caught up with me. After an extended sleep and some food which was far better for the soul than it was for the waistline, I’m feeling a little more powered – apart from my painful neck which I feel like I want to rip off it’s so aggravating. Perhaps I just should as it’s Halloween today – I could be the headless m…

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PHONE MEETINGS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 28 October, 2011

Working from home all day with a number of phone meetings booked in. A much more efficient way of doing things as it cuts down on all the travel time. Face to face is always good – and crucial for certain scenarios – but for today’s subjects of discussion voice alone will suffice.

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TOP TABLES IN SOHO

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 27 October, 2011

A meeting with a young theatre company, Sheer Drop, in the Curzon bar followed by a rehearsed reading of a new play at the Leicester Square Theatre, followed by a fantastic lunch meeting over Dim Sum and eventually ending with a trip to see Top Girls at the Trafalgar Studios. Fantastic performances from the entire cast. A drink in the pub afterwards and lovely chat with the delightful Olivia Poulet. Off home to eat dinner. Concise but accurate account of the day. Note to self: small glass of wine, mini tube of Pringles and programme: £11. For some things in life there&rs…

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COLCHESTER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

It’s late and we’ve just returned from Colchester seeing a very original, sometimes witty and very thought-provoking piece of theatre called ‘Wretch’. Earlier, despite much of the day being taken up with travelling (3.5 hours to get there –thankfully we allowed for 4 on a supposed 2 hour journey), we managed to send out our Autumn newsletter to our mailing list, through Feast’s mailer – which is a powerful tool and much easier than our old way. Since then we’ve been tackling a flood of emails from local residents wishi…

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ISLE OF DOGS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011

We’ve just returned from the Isle of Dogs where we attended a fun performance of Kid Arthur – a very modern retelling of the classic King story – at The Space. The seven strong ensemble did a great job with an original script, and were directed to deliver a wonderful energy throughout. Refreshing also to see a Fringe show in-the-round – a configuration that will be available in both Park 90 and Park 200. With a lovely high vaulted ceiling and exposed timber beams the venue had far more atmosphere than the oddly ghost-like surroundings of Mudchute. A sha…

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RAT IN A BAG

by Jez Bond

Monday, 24 October, 2011

We saw the Rat today – we were on a tour of the theatre with the Old Vic crew and Mr Rat decided to make an appearance. He’s not the same rat that was previously resident – we know this as the last one ended up in a body bag. We’ll just have to lay some more traps. I think it’s the new trenches that have been dug. As soon as the site’s cleared out and we’re water tight again they’ll be gone – and we’ll rat-proof like mad. Talking of being water tight, as I write this it’s pouring with rain – the first in a…

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STEEL DATES AND MORE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 21 October, 2011

Very exciting. It’s gone 8pm on a Friday night and an email has recently arrived in my inbox from the steel fabricators. Lots of dates over the coming weeks for RSJs to arrive and cranes to lift the third and fourth floor steels in place! At least I’m not the only one working late – good job, Nick. Melli meanwhile is at the Arcola seeing Phaedra’s Love which I had to miss given…. all these emails. Lots done today. We’ve proofed the text for the development pack, we’ve sent the hoarding panels to print, we’ve built a database for…

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HOW COULD I FORGET

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 20 October, 2011

Oh I didn’t really forget, I just had too much to do. Naughty naughty. I did end up watching Holy Flying Circus which was amusing and distracted me as the midnight hour flew by. Love those Pythons. A very rare backdated blog. It’s tomorrow now! Sorry.

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FIRST MISSED SHOW

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 19 October, 2011

In the last 30 days I’ve been to: 24 shows (2 of them rehearsed readings), 2 workshops and 2 rehearsals Tonight I was due to head to the Tristan Bates Theatre but after a long day, and early start, it proved impossible to get there on time and I sent an apologetic email to the director explaining that I couldn’t be there. Crucially I had seen the director’s work before so, much that I’d have liked to go, it’s some consolation. Lucky that I did remain though as I haven’t stopped typing on the laptop for a moment. It&rsqu…

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GLOBE TROTTING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 18 October, 2011

I visited Shakespeare’s Globe this afternoon and had a great meeting with Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, who was extremely friendly and supportive about Park Theatre. He lives very close to the area and on his return from the states at the end of November is going to come and take a look around the site and find out more about what we’re doing… Meanwhile back in the office, we’d come to realise that hand painted info on the hoarding is going to be very tough in order to achieve the right look. So Simon from Feast has come up with a good solution …

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TEMERATURES RISING...

by Jez Bond

Monday, 17 October, 2011

Cooling, heating and ventilation – how many units, what power, where will they be located and where do the ducts go? In the interests of saving money on the M&E these questions have been re-examined over the past twenty four hours. Peter from Airworks has been working with Dave – and they have both been aided by the extremely knowledagble and helpful David ‘The Big’ Apple. We’ve made some headway and final diagrams are being drawn up.

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503

by Jez Bond

Friday, 14 October, 2011

How quickly another week has gone by. Christina came over today, after a long break away (she had been back home to Greece to do a show). It was useful to have her help in completing more databases of contacts. A great night tonight with a very strong piece of theatre at the 503 – two one act comedies about Internet dating which whilst sounds done to death was remarkably well observed, original and highly engaging. Tomorrow lots to do – and of course plenty of shows over the upcoming ‘weekend’…

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MORE TO DO...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 13 October, 2011

Tired. Weepy eyes. Yawning. Longing for bed. Returning home from an altogether engaging show at Greenwich Playhouse tonight – which was an accomplishment given it was 1hr 45mins with no interval in not the most comfortable of theatres. A well handled production in the capable hands of director Joss Bennathan. Earlier today on site Danielle Tarento (of whom you will hear more in the coming weeks) gave us some great advice with regards the bar and cafe offering. More work needs to be done on this, particularly decisions regarding the design of the bar layouts. Although muc…

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DASHING OUT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 12 October, 2011

Off to the theatre (of course!) – to see a show at the Courtyard. It’s so gloomy and pitch black outside and it’s only just gone half past six. I feel like having a bath and a bowl of soup. No no, no rest – a quick shower at best and then it’s out the door. Today has been great, lots of work done, Melli and I have just finished the first draft of our ‘development pack’. Soon you, our avid readers, will be able to read a little brochure about how you can support us by buying a seat, becoming a member and other exciting things…..!

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BENTLEY\'S OYSTER BAR AND GRILL

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

Yummy. Nothing wrong with that three hour lunch – although my brain got very confused after about twenty five minutes as to why it wasn’t at work. Oh well… Another one of those pomegranate vodka cocktail things please, waiter! John and David at Forgewood are about to take over the management of the construction and Jordan, our project manager, will (certainly in the immediate future) be retained. Great result and a strong team… No I’m not back home having another vodka. I’m catching up on work!

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THE MODERN WORKER

by Jez Bond

Monday, 10 October, 2011

Melli and I are at the stage where we are almost emailing each other over the breakfast table to ask for the salt. Not that we don’t talk to each other, quite the contrary – simply that  our laptops are open pretty much 24/7 and, not wanting to disturb each other during a potential moment of high concentration, emailing is often the most efficient way of sending through a request so that it can be dealt with at an appropriate time. “Thanks” I type back, knowing she’s in the middle of coordinating diary dates… And so our days…

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WE (MAY) NEED A BIGGER BOAT

by Jez Bond

Friday, 7 October, 2011

It’s been a tough week as in the background of all the various events of which we have been vigourously blogging, there has been some serious discussion as to the best way forward with the project in terms of managing all the various contracts. Our current Project Manager has been extremely proactive in engaging team members and vetting the various tender returns, however it’s apparent that he’s wearing too many hats (metaphorically). We are making the final decision this weekend as to whether we should employ a Management Contractor from now on – as this approach…

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PANTS POWER

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 6 October, 2011

Its blackened crispy marshmallowy texture makes me want to bite into it. Not destroyed but altered. Changed and given a new name and a new life; maybe a hundred times larger than its former self. Once it was a simple toy, now it has grown up –  it has become art. This was one of the many pieces at the exhibition of designer and photographer duo ‘Two Shoes’ which launched tonight in Soho – the designer being Simon Williams of Feast Creative. Rewind to this morning….and I started my day as I often do, focusing on breathing in and ou…

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FORMS FORMS FORMS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 5 October, 2011

HMRC have recently changed the requirements regarding registering for Gift Aid. As such all the paperwork I sent off had been returned and we required three, not just one, ‘responsible people’ (one of whom will be the ‘authorised person’) to fill in and sign sections of the form. I am therefore dashing around London today to collect relevant signatures. Oh the joy! Meanwhile on site a letter from HMRC arrived about a different matter – the VAT group registration for which we had applied. This letter was a refusal on grounds that they had misunders…

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PRECISION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 4 October, 2011

A clandestine meeting with a producer, a posh fish finger sandwich and an energy bar that can only be described as tasting like a combination of marzipan and dog food (the marzipan bit’s not a problem, but I could have done without the insight into the diet of man’s best friend). Around these key events (!) lots of conversations with the architects about the best way to move forward, given some emerging coordination issues on site. Our project manager, Jordan (of latest video fame), has been doing a sterling job but it’s becoming clear that he’s wearing…

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GHOST TOWN

by Jez Bond

Monday, 3 October, 2011

I arose afresh to a warm Monday morning. Whilst I’ve been working 6.5 days a week somehow yesterday evening’s tranquil BBQ and beer in the garden enabled a rare weekend feeling in me. As such I arose with a ‘start to the week’ mentality, read a chapter of Celia’s autobiography, showered and headed out to my first meeting on site. On arrival I was struck by the sound of silence. Not a body was to be seen and, descending the building in its semi demolished state, I had a sudden feeling that I was on the set of a post apocalyptic drama (or, worse, in one for re…

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OCTOBER AIR CON

by Jez Bond

Friday, 30 September, 2011

In very unBritish fashion I have neglected commenting on the weather recently. So now I will. It has been thirty degrees for the past few days and today was no exception – a real scorcher. At 10pm we found ourselves at the Kings Head, for a late night show, where momentary bursts of air conditioning were much appreciated. After midnight now and heading home for a weekend full of theatre – two shows tomorrow and one on Sunday. Let’s hope that the others on the journey will provide a cool environment. It’s officially October 1st, who would have thought it!

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ROUND AFTER ROUND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 29 September, 2011

Today was the last in the current rounds of tours – and it ended with a round… of applause. A response to the discussion of our Open Book policy*, the enthusiastic clapping from the twenty or so theatre companies, directors and producers sitting together in the site office was a  lovely finish to the last two weeks. We urged everyone to keep in touch and to spread the word. Spread across eight sessions we had met with around 120 people. I have a feeling that we’re going to be needing to see even more than 7 shows a week soon, so perhaps we’ll need to start s…

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15 SHOWS IN 14 DAYS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 28 September, 2011

I’ve been accustomed to going to the theatre regularly for most of my life. But following our recent site tours (2 more tomorrow) things have really picked up. In order to ensure that both theatres are curated with excellent work – that is to say for the weeks of the year when we aren’t producing in-house- we are committed to seeing as much work from both emerging and established companies, directors and producers as possible. Over the next 14 days I am seeing 15 shows and haven’t had a schedule more hectic than that since my last Edinburgh trip. Today marked the …

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MORE GREAT TOURS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

Wow. Another fantastic day of tours with some more really exciting theatre companies, producers and directors. The feedback has been great from all quarters and everyone is helping to spread the word. I can’t wait to get back together with people in a few months and start booking in some dates!

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EPISODE THREE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 26 September, 2011

This weekend I completed the edit of ‘How To Build a Theatre: Episode Three‘. It’s a fairly succinct look at the current state of building works, with an introduction to our project manager, the man on site every day coordinating works, Jordan Russell. If you haven’t yet seen it, then do take a peek. As things are now changing regularly, we will probably end up releasing the next episode in a couple of months. The steel starts arriving today and there is much heavy work to happen over the next few weeks, including road closures for cranes, additional st…

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POSITIVE VIBES

by Jez Bond

Friday, 23 September, 2011

The business plan has been through a major rewrite in the last ten days – and I am just finishing it off. Sections have been moved, deleted, reworded, added… all in all it’s a lot more thorough and gives a very clear idea of our markets, targets and strategies. In summary it made me feel even more positive about the project. There are now additional reasons and further supporting evidence as to why this is truly going to be an amazing project. A nice way to enter the weekend, though of course I’m continuing my 6.5 day weeks so there’s still no re…

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WORKING, YOGA AND WALKING THE DOG

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 22 September, 2011

It’s very exciting and there’s lots going on. This morning, after some invigorating yoga, I dealt with the various emails that had recently arrived by more theatre companies, producers and directors wanting to book tours. I had been fitting everyone in to our four slots next week – most of which are getting very booked up. In the afternoon I continued to sort out emails and had a meeting with Jez about the priorities for the next few weeks. We left the house early meetings prior to seeing a show at Jermyn Street. Jez met producer/director/friend Joe Fredericks, who had …

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TOUR DE FORCE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 21 September, 2011

After showing around some very lovely people this week I am super buzzed. I am so pleased to have shown around brilliant theatre companies, directors, producers and actors. The weather has been lovely today and with sunshine on our now roofless building everyone got to take in the space at a truly unusual time. We had some lovely feedback, great questions and enthusiasm from our guests. We are keen to nurture and develop these relationships and are thrilled and thankful to all who came and tweeted or facebooked post tour. Thanks indeed because we must spread the word for the good of ever…

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SLOWLY BUT SURELY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 20 September, 2011

The day began with an edit of the previous two day’s site footage. But before I could get it finished I hurried off to site for a meeting with Martin, our fundraiser. We are making headway with things but it’s a laborious process, and actually importantly so when you only really have one shot at the approach to funders. A contractors’ site meeting had then been cancelled so I continued to work from the site office – pausing just for ten minutes when I nipped over to the trusty bagel shop on Seven Sisters Road. The architects then paid us (the royal we, …

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POWER!

by Jez Bond

Monday, 19 September, 2011

After two industry tours with over thirty people between them I was quite exhausted. Not as exhausted of course as I would have been if I had shown all thirty people round separately – hence the new regime of group tours, which is nicer actually as it starts to cultivate an atmosphere of community. Hard hats, high vis and hard soled shoes to the ready we kitted everyone out in the site office and talked about the architecture before traversing the building in a constantly reshaping mass of PPE yellow. Ending up back at the site office for details of the artistic policy and plenty o…

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7...2...1...

by Jez Bond

Friday, 16 September, 2011

A great day which I had long awaited as it involved a crucial meeting with an experienced theatre producer, board member and executive director who had so kindly offered me his time. 7 hours of analyising the staffing structure, the budgets and the business plan. 2 bottles of fizz.  1 bedtime story (for his gorgeous little girl). A highly productive day. Such valuable advice and insight. Now lots of homework…!

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ROGER LLOYD PACK

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 15 September, 2011

The roof is off, completely off, the building naked, exposed to the late summer sun. Work continues in all fields and I am most excited today to announce a new Ambassador for the theatre. Roger Lloyd Pack, who lives nearby, joins Celia Imrie as a stalwart supporter of the Park. A few days ago I showed him round and we discussed his involvement. We’re very excited to have him join the team and looking forward to developing our relationship together. Roger writes: “I am genuinely thrilled about the prospect of an exciting new theatre in North London in an area that&r…

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IDLER ACADEMY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 14 September, 2011

I just spent a lovely evening at the Idler Academy, where Melli hosted a discussion between Sir Timothy Ackroyd and journalist / BBC foreign correspondent Frank Gardner. It was a fascinating event, with many stories of travel and politics. From German backpackers and trains from Cairo to the current situation in the middle east. Some distinguished guests. Very funny when I started telling Penelope Wilton about the theatre and she replied “is that the one in Finsbury Park?” Odd pizza afterwards – corn dough – tasted more like pastry. Heavy as anything bu…

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BREATH OF FRESH AIR

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 13 September, 2011

Something happened last week. Three things actually. And when they did they collided so perfectly that their union opened up a door and let in a breath of fresh air. It was almost as if I hadn’t realised the immense pressure I had been under for the past eighteen months until the audible sigh of relief with which I surprised myself. So whilst the way forward may be as complex and hard to tread as before I continue afresh, with a renewed energy. A realisation crossed my mind last week. It was the fact that I had been writing this blog for over a year – in fact neare…

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REMEMBER THE VIDEO

by Jez Bond

Monday, 12 September, 2011

The site is changing daily and today I took the camera to 11-13 Clifton Terrace in order to continue documenting the progress. All sorts going on behind the facade of scaffolding and hoarding. Roof coming off. Rubble piling up waiting for the skips. Padstones being created ready for the steels to arrive. Episode 3 of How To Build A Theatre coming soon to a screen near you…

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THE POWER OF THE BROKK

by Jez Bond

Friday, 9 September, 2011

On site today the Brokk remote controlled digger has been ripping through the concrete in order to form the trench for our substation. Meanwhile I have been riffling through a mountain of assorted tasks, working from home – which, due to 50% of the theatre currently being exposed to the elements, is a far more comfortable environment from which to conduct business. I usually work on Saturday and a half day Sunday but it looks like all work and no play’s just going to have make Jack a dull boy this weekend.

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FAMOUS LAST WORDS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

Okay so that note earlier in the week about having some time to read plays….. yeah right! Loads has happened in the last 48hours. There is enormous time pressure on the submission of funding applications for the education studio – and so much paperwork has to be prepared, redrafted, checked and double checked. That’s going to be the focus of the next few days. That and a million and one other things! As for today:  design team / contractor meeting followed by a tour and meeting with a fellow artistic director… and another… and then a catch…

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PROGRESSIONS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 7 September, 2011

This afternoon we had another meeting at Feast to develop the brand. We’re really excited at what we’ve arrived at and are now looking at the progressions of the sub-brands and the design of all stationery. Soon we’ll have the grand unveiling! I had hoped to add some text and graphics to the hoarding sooner but, whilst I’m always eager to do do do, there’s no need not rush things. On site things have changed. The concrete panels are coming off the front and the roof is being stripped off the back of the building. Let’s hope the rain stays aw…

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INDUSTRY TOURS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 6 September, 2011

Yesterday and today we sent out details of our industry tours, which we are hosting on various dates throughout September, and have had a great response back so far. If anybody is reading this blog and has not been notified directly, please let us know so that we can ensure you are on the specific industry mailing list. You can see the available dates and info on how to book here: http://www.parktheatre.co.uk/get-involved/tour-the-site/ To all our loyal local residents, please note that we will certainly be arranging more tours towards the end of the year. This indu…

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MORE MUSICALS, MORE SCRIPTS

by Jez Bond

Monday, 5 September, 2011

More CDs of musicals through the door (not more CD’s as EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE SAYING LATELY – sorry, little outburst from the grammar police!) More scripts too… so a heap of things to be read and heard. Earlier I had tea with Celia and she also passed me a script – she’s soon to be in a show at the Finborough,  I’m looking forward to that. And so to prioritise the various scripts I need to read. Generally I decide on the basis of which script comes in first. The only ones that break the rule are usually redrafts of scripts I am developi…

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DECISIONS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 2 September, 2011

Melli landed at Heathrow at 7am, came straight home, showered and then left with me to meet Feast Creative. It seems (he says cautiously) that we have reached a decision on the logo. Dum dum dum…….. A little too early for the unveiling but more on this to come… On site we looked at the programme of works and got our head round some key decisions that needed to be made over the course of the next few months. Back home now and suddenly it’s 6pm. Decisions now – food!

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THEATRE HOPPING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 1 September, 2011

Two evenings of great musicals. Last night I attended a marvellous and very funny production of Crazy For You in the open air at Regent’s Park. Tonight I returned (for the 7th show this year?) to the Southwark Playhouse where a terrific, powerful production of Parade is currently playing. Lovely to see the producers, Joe and Danielle, and to hook up, albeit briefly, with actor Philip Rham who I hadn’t seen for a few years. Earlier this afternoon, while Melli packed her bags to fly home from New York (where she has been for the past week) I stepped into the offices …

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UP AND RUNNING AGAIN

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 31 AUGUST, 2011

Apologies to those of you who logged in and saw odd things, wrong images, missing links etc over the past 24 hours. In the end it took some time iron out all the kinks after the havoc caused by those weird terrorist hackers. It’s all sorted now! Last night was intense. I had a ten hour writing session on the Panto 2012 which ended in the early hours of the morning. Loads of great original ideas and a strong structure emerging. These discussions will continue soon and we hope to have a script by early next year. In fact the way we’re going we’ll probably have …

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DAN THE MAN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 30 August, 2011

Yesterday we were hacked by some organisation that posted a very odd message with a flag of Kosovo. Not much use to those who wanted to find out the progress of the Park Theatre. When we tried to log in we were denied access as the hackers had actually changed all the passwords. However thanks to the marvellous Dan at Feast he salvaged everything and reconfigured the site on the Feast servers. It’s still temporary – as Dan will soon be building. Cheers Dan! Just got to figure out what’s happened to some of the photos that have disappeared…

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HACK HOLIDAY MONDAY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 29 August, 2011

Today we were hacked – hence not posting a blog. Read about it on tomorrow’s blog…

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WINDY ON SITE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 26 August, 2011

It’s freezing on site and it’s only the end of August. Standing on the ground, first or second floors you can look out to the world through an opening where the windows used to be. An odd feeling with the wind whistling straight past you. How quickly the end of this week came and after getting up at 6.30am to start meetings on site at 8am the rare ‘Friday feeling’ is welcome – for tomorrow I’m off to a friend’s country retreat. How civilised! Unfortunately it is without Melli as she is working all weekend. More of this anon…

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SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 24 August, 2011

A long day of script developments today. A few hours spent on Act 2 of the new musical I am developing – which is going really well – and then a discussion late into the night about the Christmas show I am co-writing. Buzzing with ideas, inspiration and creative energy! It’s 2am…. time for bed. Tomorrow we continue to build the theatre in which all these ideas will soon be realised. That’s the dream, that’s what we’re fighting for…

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SHORT ONE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 23 August, 2011

Rainy day, slow day, difficult morning, nice afternoon. Short blog.

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FIRST WEEK OF CONSTRUCTION ENDS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 19 August, 2011

Noise, dust, skips, timber, a hole in the floor and a discarded high vis jacket lying on the balustrade. The workers have gone home for the weekend and week one is complete. Next week promises to have even more in store – hoarding, more demo and a crazy director walking around with a video camera.

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BLOG 300

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 18 August, 2011

It’s a rainy grey day – one of those English afternoons where the rain just keeps pouring solidly well into the evening. One of those rain storms that are so severe they make you question the repairs to the roof that were done the previous year. But that’s at home. On site, it’s a different story – the roof does leak, quite admirably, and there are no plans to patch it up for it’s a moot point – soon they’ll be no roof at all. Whilst it’s not doing an entirely sterling job at the moment it is, today, luckily still in existence –…

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HARD HATS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 17 August, 2011

They’re not comfortable or attractive fashion accessories but much needed safety wear for a construction site. I’ve just ordered a load of hard hats, high-vis jackets and a selection of steel toe capped shoes for visitors to site. We’ll be conducting more tours over the coming months. I did take the liberty of choosing something a little different for myself.

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20/10 - 2012

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 16 August, 2011

A month or so after my operation and I have 20/10 vision. What a result. 20/20 would have been pretty good, so this is just fantastic! With my new hawk-like sight I’ll be keeping an eagle eye on proceedings at the Park. Next week we’re back at Feast to develop the brand further and hopefully begin building the website. Meanwhile on site today work is truly picking up in pace and more contractors are coming through the doors. 20/10 and ready for 2012!

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PPE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 15 August, 2011

Scaffolding has been erected to the inside of the building and also to the facade. The drainage for the toilets at lower ground floor level has almost been completed. The substation now has clear dates for installation and the steels are with the fabricators. We’re in PPE mode now (Personal Protection Equipment) – meaning that hard hats, steel toe capped boots and high vis jackets need to be worn at all times on site. Time to order a supply of appropriate footwear and additional hard hats for potential visitors – and to get the camera out again before too much more happ…

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EMOTIONS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Like a child in the back of a car Are we there yet? Like a crew of a boat under fire Canons to the ready! Like waiting for exam results That one phone call That ultimate word Like standing in an empty building and imagining what will be…

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A WORD FROM CELIA IMRIE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 11 August, 2011

HOORAY, A spanking new Theatre in town, how refreshing. There is nowhere like it, or near it. Jez Bond, the artistic director, is full of integrity and energy and is beyond excited. I wholeheartedly back his enthusiasm, and innovation. As  a proud ambassador for this important, brand new theatre. I urge you all to jump on board and be part of this new theatrical dawn. Celia Imrie

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NUDGEMINDER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 10 August, 2011

If people keep you waiting and you don’t know why, nine times out of ten it’s because they’ve forgotten or don’t realise the urgency required. Sometimes they may just need a nudgeminder. That’s my little word for the day. Thought I’d share…

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RUNNING RIOT

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 9 August, 2011

The past 72 hours have been shocking – what began as a peaceful demonstration in Tottenham has turned into rioting in multiple areas across London – from Clapham to Hackney, from Peckham to Notting Hill and also over in Birmingham. As we are preparing for the scaffolders to come to site we are keeping an eagle eye on the situation. If the troubles continue to spread then Finsbury Park could easily flare up next. Meanwhile Downing Street are currently meeting to discuss the situation. More doom and gloom in the news too as announcements of a double dip recession pour in.

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NEW LOOK

by Jez Bond

Monday, 8 August, 2011

By Friday the scaffolding will be up on the front of the building. On Monday the hoarding will be erected and painted. Next week the facade will look decidedly different. On Tuesday more demolition will take place inside and things will kick up a gear. We had a good meeting on site with one of our contractors and they should be providing us with a date for the steel arrival within the next 24 hours. Meanwhile we’re still looking at logos and chatting with Feast about ideas for the new brand. It would be a dream to get the new images on the hoarding, but then of course we mustn&rsqu…

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COMPLEX INTERLINKED

by Jez Bond

Friday, 5 August, 2011

Complex interlinked issues are the hardest to solve and the most crucial as they affect so many elements. After days of questions concerning fundraising structure, box offices software, bar software, epos hardware, customer relationship databases, VAT legislation, accounting practices; of speaking to HMRC, Companies House, the Charity Commission, a VAT expert, software developers and web developers; of hours on the phone, face-to-face meetings and numerous emails… suddenly at noon today we cracked it! We are incredibly excited with the decisions we have reach…

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WHERE ON THE HILL

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 4 August, 2011

For two years we’ve been working away, struggling against the odds to deliver a theatre of exceptional quality within an incredibly tight budget. We’ve had our highs and low and the only constant has been the need to work hard, long hours without respite. As the building work is gently picking up on site and things are starting to move up a gear, I ponder the words of those who say that things are now going to get easier. But I’m not sure that things will calm down, that we’re reaching the top of the metaphorical hill. So far each week of the…

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LATE AGAIN

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 3 August, 2011

Delicious home cooked meal to break up the evening’s work. Still at it (work that is – not the mint and chilli chicken) and just finished rebuilding the business plan with accurate figures for utility bills, waste collection and many other previously less known aspects of the operation. Nearly at a place where I can turn off and zone out for a few minutes before bed. Hazel, our theatre dog to be, is accustomed to our routine of watching a little TV or listening to a little music before we sleep. After such busy days no-one can really settle for the night until we’ve ach…

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LARGE COMPANY SYNDROME

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 2 August, 2011

Ooh… these people at utility companies… One would have thought that getting figures for standing charges and unit prices per kwh of electricity would be a relatively painless process. “Ooh no, Sir, no – we couldn’t possibly give you a quote now. Call us back when the meter is installed. We couldn’t possibly tell you now, Sir. There are no indicative prices, it really depends on so many things. Ooh no it’s no good you giving us the info now, Sir, our prices change in a daily basis. We couldn’t possibly say what the prices will b…

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BUSINESS PLANNING

by Jez Bond

Monday, 1 August, 2011

Hours and hours spent in Excel – not literally in excel, I’m not trapped inside the computer…. but it feels a little like it. On Excel…? With Excel…. Oh dear, so tired. When you look at figures for too long you start to question yourself. Why is that not adding up? Did I add National Insurance? Did I make that same mistake on everything I did for the last few hours….? No. You’re tired. Go to bed. And so…. Good Night!

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LATE END TO THE WEEK

by Jez Bond

Friday, 29 July, 2011

Friday night. Busy day. Box office meetings, bar layout meetings and decisions on bin storage made. Amending the door schedules postponed for another day. Late now but faithfully posting for my loyal followers. Best wishes for a great weekend to all!

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THE TROUBLE WITH REACHING HIGH

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 July, 2011

Building with big ambition can sometimes be a curse. Confidence and positivity can come across as stubbornness or, more dangerously, can instil a feeling of ‘money is no object’ amongst potential contractors. Somehow I think the ‘this is a privately funded project, we have very little money and no public subsidy’ line would work better if I spoke more quietly, looked down at the floor occasionally and skipped the morning shower. Some people get it and some don’t. Some come up with solutions and options, others can’t think outside the box. It’s a …

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MULTIFACETED

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 27 July, 2011

One of the many discussions in what has already been a multifaceted day has concerned the erection of temporary hoarding to the front of the property. This is the cladding, in plywood, of the outer face of the external scaffolding that enables contractors to safely undertake works to the outside of the building (for example creating our bay window). Without it there are health and safety issues as it would be very difficult to inhibit the release of dust or debris onto passers by. We were chatting about the size and shape of our hoarding and about the location of access doors within in. …

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ALBANY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 26 July, 2011

I started the day with a trip to the Albany Theatre in Deptford, which at six minutes from London Bridge by train is surprisingly easy to get to. Gavin showed me round and we chatted about potential linkups. Like me, he’s not a ‘this is my castle’ type of guy – and we discussed the importance of theatres across London collaborating with each other. Later I headed to site for more IT and box office meetings. As an afternoon wave of tiredness came over me, I was left yawning with my head spinning and a show to see at the White Bear. Where’s that clo…

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THE RECIPE FOR DRAMA

by Jez Bond

Monday, 25 July, 2011

Another week of theatre every night begins… This evening I headed to the studio at Hampstead Theatre to see Pentabus’ ‘For Once’ which was a well staged powerful drama about the fractured relationship between three characters – mother, father and son. There’s no perfect recipe for drama but there are a few favourites. Many will have heard me say that I love a piece of theatre that can make you laugh and make you cry – and that if it can do both in the same evening that’s great. Well, whilst tonight didn’t make me well up, it was a ve…

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CONCRETE IS TOUGH

by Jez Bond

Friday, 22 July, 2011

Two days the workmen have been attacking the ground floor slab with their power tools and diamond saws and the trenches for the drainage are now starting to take shape. These will connect all of the back of house drains (sinks, toilets, washing machine waste etc) with the rest of the system that currently enters from the street to serve the front of the building. These are some of the crucial things that aren’t hugely exciting to talk about but important to get right – once done the pipes will be buried back underneath newly poured concrete. Not easy or cheap to rectify any m…

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FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 21 July, 2011

With the temporary three phase power now installed on site, the concrete slab being cut out at ground floor for the drainage and the scaffolding company waiting in the wings it’s getting to the stage where we need to finalise our air conditioning. It’s the final piece of the puzzle, in terms of the fact that all the other contractors have been chosen. The reason we’re behind on our selection for the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) is that the quotes have been phenomenally higher than our budget and the scheme needs some value engineering. The theatres a…

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THE MORNING AFTER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

I woke up this morning with a great feeling. Yesterday we overcame what I hope will be the final hurdle in terms of council approval (planning/licensing). Over the past 24 hours messages of congratulations have been pouring in. Local residents are thrilled that they’ll have a facility that will open later in the evening, providing a bright street frontage and illuminating the passage from Wells Terrace exit of the station along Clifton Terrace. Earlier yesterday we had toured round the new Platform at the old Hornsey Road Baths. What a fantastic facility for young people…

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WE GOT IT!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

At 6pm this evening Dave Hughes, Melli Bond and I walked into the council chambers for the licensing committee hearing….. We had over 80 letters in support and no objections from local residents. Only the police had raised a concern over the late hours – and were due to be represented by a key superintendent on the force. Despite much council support, including from the current mayor, the MP for North Islington and all the local ward councillors, we needed to present effectively and demonstrate clearly how this would be a safe and well run establishment – wh…

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PREPARING FOR THE SHOW-DOWN

by Jez Bond

Monday, 18 July, 2011

Lots of meetings on site including interesting discussions with a literary agent and, in a different meeting, a playwright. With our licensing committee hearing tomorrow however, the focus of the late afternoon has been on research and meetings with other neighbouring bars and shops. Tonight we need to work on our speech, making sure that we cover all the vital points and are ready to tackle any questions. Tomorrow’s blog will tell a tale, I’m hopeful that it will be a good one – but then let’s not count our chickens until they’ve hatched!

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HEATING UP

by Jez Bond

Friday, 15 July, 2011

Finally feels like summer today and normal work has resumed for the once “4 eyed” associate director. Now feeling almost fully restored -like a cybernetic organism in Terminator- I’m back! Lots of really interesting plays from New York that have wetted my appetite are whirling around in my brain. Also today I received details from newly named Firework Theatre based in New York City. Well done Ben and Mike (co-artisitic directors). Their new production The Pillow Book is due to open soon at E59E – a very cool theatre with a fantastic ethos. Very exciting…

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NO PEEKING UNDER THE BED

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 14 July, 2011

Today we had a look around the Arcola’s new venue. I was familiar with it having seen a show in Studio 2 a few weeks ago (at which time I popped my head in to the Studio 1). We have done nearly thirty theatre visits now and it was great to get another ‘access all areas’ tour. I loved Studio 1; the height, the circle and stalls (though this will change for the next show), the thrust stage, the intimacy. No surprise really that those are the very attributes of our main house. On to the offices of Feast Creative next for our much anticipated branding meeting wit…

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LIBERTY AND GIRAFFE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 13 July, 2011

Working constantly, glued to the computer, read more scripts, sent more emails, prepared more budgets, I can’t ever finish when all is done as it’s endless…. Starting to get better at finding a natural break so that by 10pm I can power down for a couple of hours before bed (usually). What do Liberty, Urban Outfitters, Nandos and Giraffe have in common….? Tomorrow this will be discussed! Cryptic? Well, it’s good to be sometimes.

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MASSIVE DAY OUT

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

A great meeting with Marcus at the Roundhouse this morning – as well as a tour of the fantastic building it was great to get some insight from him on a number of levels. Following that Dave and I went to the offices of Feast Creative – useful as it will be beneficial for Dave (Hjf) and Simon (Feast) to start a relationship with a view to discussing how the brand is integrated with the feel of the building and vice versa (signage, colour palette etc). Then on site a meeting with the structural engineers followed. Both Dave and I picked up on things that h…

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SHOWS SHOWS SHOWS

by Jez Bond

Monday, 11 July, 2011

The most common question people ask is ‘What’s your first show going to be?’ Well I’m excited to announce that it will be…………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………&hel…

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SALT PINCHES

by Jez Bond

Friday, 8 July, 2011

Friday, end of the week for some. For mechanical contractors who promised tenders in by the close of play today. It remains to be seen as to whether they will keep their word. So often is it quite the opposite that I have learned to consider dates with a large pinch or salt. Jordan will doubtless be haranguing them as I write this. The last person we spoke to had intimated that they would be able to work within our budgets. Will this be the case once the numbers are crunched or will it involve significant changes to the design? As I often say, watch this space…!

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TIRESIAS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 July, 2011

This is my first blog since my eyes have been lasered – a self treat, as you may have read a week ago, prior to opening the theatre. The last few days’ offerings have been penned by Melli or, at any rate, dictated to her through somewhat blurry eyes and (in the case of the first day) gritted teeth. Tomorrow she undergoes the same procedure and the roles will reverse as patient becomes carer and vice versa. Melli is always reading meaning into the everyday, translating symbols and analysing circumstances with precision. This skill is definitely something that has ru…

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FEAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 6 July, 2011

We are very excited today to announce that we will be working with Feast Creative to develop our brand and website. Feast have an excellent track record, their clients include The Royal Court, The Unicorn, and a host of other big names.  We are confident that together we will come up with something great. Work begins next week with an initial briefing discussion at their offices in Chalk Farm. We can’t wait to get stuck in!

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GETTING CLOSER TO THE ACTION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 5 July, 2011

The now monthly N4 Stories is really taking shape in a very exciting way. With the talented bunch of actors and Writer in Residence, Sarah Rutherford, fresh from her adventures in Turkey, the action is bold, brave and moving to brilliant themes and composition. The most exciting element is that these scenes, characters and plot points are woven from the real life stories of our very own Finsbury Park residents. Yes you have already began to give to The Park Theatre, and we are getting close to the action of giving back. [Melli Bond, Associate Director]

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BRANDING/FUNDRAISING

by Jez Bond

Monday, 4 July, 2011

A very busy Monday today with full on meetings back to back throughout the day meant I ate very little but yet the mental feast was full on. And yes we met with some great people – leaving us the very difficult task of choosing people to help with our branding and fundraising (of course not the same people to do both jobs – that could be madness!). Both of these key needed roles are so close to being filled now…. [Melli Bond, Associate Director]

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BLIND FOR A DAY

by Jez Bond

Friday, 1 July, 2011

Gone are the days of glasses. Gone are the days of contact lenses. The price includes a day of blindness and pain, but it will be worth it in the end. The next time I see the site it will be with 20/20 vision (or better). [This blog was dictated by Jez Bond]

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FOUR EYES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 30 June, 2011

It’s my last day wearing glasses (or contact lenses) ever… if all goes well (until I’m much older and need reading glasses at any rate). Tomorrow I am having LASEK surgery – and Melli is having the same procedure next week. It’s a treat to ourselves pre-opening. We have been talking about it for years and finally decided to do it so that we’d have our ‘new eyes’ by the time we launched. As such tonight’s theatre trip was the last for a little while. We went to see the Ugly Sisters’ collection of new short plays at th…

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LUNCHEON

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 29 June, 2011

A very civilised lunch in Chelsea today with director Bill Alexander and his agent Lynda Ronan. Some exciting ideas about projects and contacts over cray fish cocktail and organic chicken with thyme sauce. I wish every meeting could be like this! Lots to follow up on now so better dash….

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INTERIORS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 28 June, 2011

After meeting a fundraiser this morning, we headed to the offices of our dream facilitators ‘Hughes Jones Farrell’. Dave and his team presented a fantastic 45 minutes on the interior design of the building. We looked at everything from floor and wall surfaces to furnishings, trying to determine an agreed ‘theme’ that we could adhere to moving forward. As Dave explained, one can easily continue and choose a light fitting in six months that looks great, a bar counter in a eight months that is beautiful and meanwhile the contractors have laid down a floor that we wow…

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THE HEAT IS ON

by Jez Bond

Monday, 27 June, 2011

Sweltering in the heat as I journey what should be twenty minutes across town. It takes almost half an hour of walking just to find a cab and then it’s another half an hour driving in it – a closed bridge, fallen scaffolding in the road and an accident all in one area are not a good accompaniment to the usual London traffic in South London during Wimbledon fortnight. Back at home the tennis plays in the background. Murray goes through and the Williams Sisters are both defeated. It must be burning hot on court but of course the players are used to playing all around…

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SARAH RETURNS TO THE UK

by Jez Bond

Friday, 24 June, 2011

What a terrific week of blogs from Sarah, who returned yesterday from her research trip in Turkey. I look forward to hearing the finer details from her when we catch up in person imminently. It’s been a busy week here too. After the Wray Crescent festival on Saturday I conducted tours of the building. Two more slots were available on Tuesday and, all in all, we had about 75 people. It was such fun taking round local residents and vital to start building that sense of ownership at this early stage. As I said to them all, “it’s your theatre, you are the ones wh…

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TURKEY, DAY 4

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 23 June, 2011

Sarah Rutherford, our writer in residence, has been developing a play inspired by some of the stories of Finsbury Park residents. Under the project title ‘N4 Stories’, she has been working with a group of (predominantly) local actors, interviewing people from the N4 area over the past four months. The actors have then brought these real characters and stories to life inside the rehearsal room where they have been hot-seated by Sarah and put into groups in order to improvise scenes. For the past three days Sarah has blogged from Turkey, where she is on a research tr…

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TURKEY, DAY 3

by Jez Bond

Friday, 22 June, 2011

Sarah Rutherford, our writer in residence, has been developing a play inspired by some of the stories of Finsbury Park residents. Under the project title ‘N4 Stories’, she has been working with a group of (predominantly) local actors, interviewing people from the N4 area over the past four months. The actors have then brought these real characters and stories to life inside the rehearsal room where they have been hot-seated by Sarah and put into groups in order to improvise scenes. For the past three days Sarah has blogged from Turkey, where she is on a research tr…

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TURKEY, DAY 2

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 June, 2011

Sarah Rutherford, our writer in residence, has been developing a play inspired by some of the stories of Finsbury Park residents. Under the project title ‘N4 Stories’, she has been working with a group of (predominantly) local actors, interviewing people from the N4 area over the past four months. The actors have then brought these real characters and stories to life inside the rehearsal room where they have been hot-seated by Sarah and put into groups in order to improvise scenes. Sarah now writes from Turkey, on her second day of a research trip… …

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TURKEY, DAY 1

by Jez Bond

Monday, 20 June, 2011

Sarah Rutherford, our writer in residence, has been developing a play inspired by some of the stories of Finsbury Park residents. Under the project title ‘N4 Stories’, she has been working with a group of (predominantly) local actors, interviewing people from the N4 area over the past four months. The actors have then brought these real characters and stories to life inside the rehearsal room where they have been hot-seated by Sarah and put into groups in order to improvise scenes. As Sarah herself explains, below, through her research she now finds herself in Turk…

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BRING ME SUNSHINE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 17 June, 2011

We’ve got the props, the costumes, the script and the passion – now give us the sunshine (or at least hold off the rain)! Tomorrow at 1pm it’s the Wray Crescent Park Festival. Hope to see lots of faces both new and familiar.

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SUMMER PANTO

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 June, 2011

“It’s behind you!” you cry… But it’s far too early for Panto, surely? Well, actually this Saturday we are performing in the Wray Crescent Park festival. We have four fantastic actors lined up to play the Prince, Princess, Fairy and Dame in a number of scenes performed roaming around the park. It’s The Park Theatre’s first public outing – and we’re keeping fingers crossed for the weather. We bought the sweeties for the sweetie throwing sequence, ingredients for a custard pie and sponges for the stocks. Oh yes we …

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ABTT TRADE SHOW 2011

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 June, 2011

Another year on and, following the Theatres Trust conference, familiar faces returned to the Royal Horticultural halls for the annual ABTT trade show. It was a much quicker visit than last year – although my planned one hour quickly turned into well over two. Dave and I zipped round chatting with Steeldeck, Maltbury staging, Orbital, Hall Stage and others. Given that most of us in the industry are kids at heart and remembering how we all started experimenting with puppets, sheets and desk lamps, this place is like a giant playground. My earliest memory of homemade theatr…

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THEATRES TRUST CONFERENCE 2011

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 June, 2011

“Hi. My name’s Jez and I’m a maniac” began my speech to the Pleasance auditorium filled with the illuminati of the theatre design world. I had stood up to the lectern following Dave’s initial presentation, which ended with our rendition of Mr Henslowe and Fennyman’s dialogue on theatre from Shakespeare In Love: - Mr Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. - So what do we do? - Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.

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SPEECHES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 13 June, 2011

This weekend I gave a presentation to the North London Equity branch. They were extremely enthused about the project and the room was buzzing with questions. I stayed during the course of their ten minutes break (before ‘other business’)  in order to speak to a number of people one-on-one. We are planning to arrange an Equity branch tour for the members, who were very keen to look around. It was an utter joy to talk in front of the members and I received the warmest of hands. On the way home they played Ave Maria from the bus. “Is this a new thing they d…

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THE BIG 250

by Jez Bond

Friday, 10 June, 2011

Yesterday we hit the big 250 – that’s 250 blogs from The Park Theatre! Happy Anniversary to our faithful followers. Please raise a glass for us. Here’s to the next 250 – by which time we should have a finished theatre! For now though the work continues. Jordan has been on the phone all day chasing final tenders – and it’s really just the air conditioning that’s left. We’re behind on this due to a number of companies dropping out and others taking too long to get back to us. It’s another usually busy weekend comin…

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M&S CUSTOMS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 June, 2011

We landed a few minutes ahead of schedule this morning and promptly proceeded to customs and immigration before collecting our bags. Melli always travels back on her British passport in order that we can both pass through quickly. The queues for non-EU passports were long, it seemed that most people on our flight were American. We headed to the EU section and were presented with an sign for biometric passports. Taking it we immediately came upon a self serve gate – we scanned our passport, looked into the camera and went through the gates that promptly opened. Very effic…

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FLYIN\' EAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 June, 2011

It’s 1pm here, 6pm in London, and this evening we are returning home from Philadelphia to Heathrow. It’s an overnight flight that arrives early in the morning. Never pleasant but as I need to head to site tomorrow to sort out some things it’s a necessary evil. The weather here is glorious. It has been super hot the whole time – though, sitting inside on the laptop, I have hardly got to enjoy it. We hear that since we left the temperatures in the UK have dropped. Let’s hope we bring the sun back with us. Finished my speech for the Theatres Trust Co…

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NEARLY CAST

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 7 June, 2011

Nearly cast (three out of four actors confirmed) for our first public outing – Panto in the Park… Melli has been working on some mini scripted scenes and next week we’ll costume our actors. Meanwhile we’re nearly all cast for the building works too – just stuck on the M&E contractors. Heading back to the UK tomorrow and loads to do, so just a short one today!

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THE HANGOVER

by Jez Bond

Monday, 6 June, 2011

No it’s not a blog about getting drunk and feeling bad the next day – that’s a very rare occurrence here, too much work to do… This weekend Melli and I attended a beautiful wedding in a peaceful woodland setting in Pennsylvania. Yesterday we had a post wedding BBQ with some close friends and family and today we went, with the bride and groom, to see a film about a wedding that had rather a rockier start – The Hangover 2. Very funny indeed! Congratulations Jim and Tara…!

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PHILADELPHIA

by Jez Bond

Friday, 3 June, 2011

A little cooler in the USA today and we’re in Philadelphia for a family wedding. Got the morning to spend dealing with emails and liaising with Jordan about the final tender returns – due in by the close of play today. I hate it when hotels charge for internet access – but we’re not in the centre of the city so, unlike in NY, we can’t just pop across to the nearest internet cafe. Therefore I am resigned to pay. Grrr…

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SPEECH WRITING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 June, 2011

Most of today has been spent writing my speech for the upcoming Theatres Trust Conference on ‘Converting Spaces’. There are a number of sessions planned for the event and Dave and I are on the panel in one called ‘The Architect of the found space’ along with members of the design teams at the BAC and Arcola. My second draft was nearly ten minutes – I need to cut down to seven. Also it sounds very much like something to be read rather than spoken – a result of all these months blogging perhaps? Here goes draft number three…

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BROADWAY PART TWO

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 June, 2011

I don’t know exactly how hot it was today but we just came out of our evening show and it’s 86 degrees! Let’s rewind… After the show at the Public yesterday we returned to our hotel and met one of the actors and the staff director from the Donmar’s Lear, that is currently playing at BAM. Alec, who plays Edmund, is quite possibly our closest actor, about three streets away! He had always been excited about the theatre that was coming to Finsbury Park and, failing meeting up in London, we settled for Manhattan! This morning, on with the …

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BROADWAY PART ONE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 31 May, 2011

Our trip to the USA involves two days in New York – specifically to meet theatre companies, writers, literary managers, agents and, of course, see some shows. It was a hot day today – though a little cooler than the 94 degrees it had been yesterday and we drove into the city, parked the car and checked into our hotel on the next block. We had a meeting with Rafael, the literary manager of The Soho Rep – one of NY’s only dedicated new writing theatres. Rafael is a very interesting and knowledgeable guy who has lived and worked in London for seven years &…

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NEW YORK HERE WE COME...

by Jez Bond

Monday, 30 May, 2011

It’s nearly midnight in the UK, but just early evening here in the USA. Off to New York tomorrow. Very busy working today and writing my speech for the Theatres Trust Conference. Need to finish it, sort out some emails, read a lot of plays etc while we are out here. This is just  a quick email to keep in touch with all our followers back home. Will report more from the Big Apple…

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CONCRETE JUNGLE...

by Jez Bond

Friday, 27 May, 2011

…that dreams are made of. New York here we come…. and Philadelphia…. and Bear, Delaware…. nearly midnight. not yet packed. not finished emails. off to teach at 7.30am tomorrow and then heading straight to the airport from there – armed with laptops. much work to do….

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THIS COULD BE THE BEST YEAR...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 May, 2011

After a long day yesterday, Melli and I headed out for a meal (before returning to a couple of hours more work) for my birthday. At each major turning point – birthdays, 1st of January etc – we like to look to the year ahead and to predict what’s in store. The twelve months ahead of us now could easily be the best year yet. In May 2012 we’ll be in the building. I can’t think of anything more exciting! Today we submitted the licence application to the council (and other relevant authorities). The notice will also appear in tomorrow’s Islingto…

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THIS COULD BE THE BEST YEAR...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 May, 2011

After a long day yesterday, Melli and I headed out for a meal (before returning to a couple of hours more work) for my birthday. At each major turning point – birthdays, 1st of January etc – we like to look to the year ahead and to predict what’s in store. The twelve months ahead of us now could easily be the best year yet. In May 2012 we’ll be in the building. I can’t think of anything more exciting! Today we submitted the licence application to the council (and other relevant authorities). The notice will also appear in tomorrow’s Islingto…

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VAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 25 May, 2011

Just three days and we’ll be in the USA. Suddenly things are rushing ahead even more than before. Each day closer to that start on site date. It must sound to many like it’s never going to happen, like we’re always ‘about to start’ but in truth only really Jordan and I, who are working on this every single day, can really appreciate how every day brings us closer and closer. When I started this project I had no idea how vast it was. I remember writing an early blog about when we first started the project. It wouldn’t be stretching the truth to say that…

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UPDATED AND ADVANCING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 24 May, 2011

Website updated. That’s better. It’s been great to do as it has really made me focus on what’s important to us at The Park. I had researched the history of theatres in Finsbury Park many moons ago and it was fascinating to revisit that and to write up a short account. Very excited that we are bringing theatre back to Finsbury Park for the first time in over fifty years! Meanwhile on site Jordan has been knocking contractors down further on price, and we are getting ever closer to the budget. Slight pressure (not a bad thing) now of the window of summer &ndash…

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THINGS THAT BREAK

by Jez Bond

Monday, 23 May, 2011

It’s been a bit of a crazy few days, with things going wrong in and around the home – plus a few careless mistakes due to over tiredness and stress. At one point last night (yes a very hectic weekend as usual) I felt as though I shouldn’t hold a sharp knife for fear that something bad would happen. Yes – tiredness. So things that break include… well, me, I suppose. Note to self: take a rest. The fridge freezer is not looking healthy – the fridge is distinctly mild and, most likely (as the freezer works perfectly) we’ll have to replace…

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A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO LOTS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 20 May, 2011

Starting with 7am emails and document editing on the laptop before heading in to site. First meeting regarding funding, second regarding box office systems. Talking on the tube to a substation contractor on route and emailing Leon (in Barcelona) to arrange our next phone meeting to discuss the latest draft of the musical. Writing blog early as grabbing any available minute. Need to make a call about Saturday and another about the upcoming festival (to arrange costumes). Plus about three things that I have written down as i knew I would forget. Need to speak to Homes For Islington today b…

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BRIAN OVERLOAD

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 May, 2011

Argh… I seriously don’t have enough hours in the day and my head is about to explode. I have been talking to Melli for the last half an hour – as we have been travelling back from the theatre (Southwark Playhouse tonight for a strong production from the New Actors Company) – but we still haven’t started talking about the massive things we need to talk about, there’s just so much happening. So this has been a very quick blog while Melli responds now to an email about one of our upcoming meetings in New York. Done. Right…. PS: Yes it&r…

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SILENCE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 18 May, 2011

It’s pouring down with rain – and not only does the usual hole in the lower roof sprout water but puddles are also appearing in the upper floor below where we recently removed the water tank. Either we inadvertently ripped or damaged the membrane in the process or, possibly, the roofing top layers may have been installed around a pre-existing tank and we may have simply exposed the untreated roof below. It’s odd, and somehow amusing, to have something like this happen and it not be a problem - the reason being that it’s all getting ripped out soon anyway. Besides …

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THEATRE FOR DINNER

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 17 May, 2011

I’m out to the theatre every night this week. Tonight I’m seeing the new sell-out ‘London Road’ by Alecky Blythe. Tomorrow we’re at Hampstead for Filter’s new show – which I have been eagerly awaiting since seeing Water at the Tricycle. Then on Thursday it’s over to Southwark Playhouse for some Priestley in the vaults followed by a trip down to Brighton for Hydrocracker’s critically acclaimed take on Pinter on Friday. Hungry now, as come straight away from meeting after meeting. Perhaps there’ll be time to grab a snac…

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TOURS ARE BOOKING WELL...

by Jez Bond

Monday, 16 May, 2011

Four slots on offer and, all in all, about thirty people booked for the site tours now. Looking forward to showing people round and sharing our exciting plans. Aside from the mailing list I posted on some local online forums  - if I’ve left anything obvious out then I hope that someone will let me know. Big meeting about all the tenders tomorrow. (Ate far too much cheese today)

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FINGS AIN\'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 13 May, 2011

Today ended with Phil Wilmott’s production of Lionel Bart’s lesser performed Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be. Whilst it is clear why it rarely graces our stages – Charles Dickens wasn’t involved in the script for this one – it was an enjoyable night. An ensemble played the characters with panache, directed and designed smoothly by Wilmott and his team in the intimate setting of the Union Theatre.

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THE CORE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 12 May, 2011

As we analyse and refine our mission and objectives and finesse the wording, we distill things to their upmost honest core. What stands out – as soon you will see – is a commitment to drawing in new audiences (not exclusively young, but much of our education programme will lie there) and to nurturing that community. Earlier today we met with a company to go through their tender return and to knock down some sums. Just like working on our mission statement, this process of refining the budget, cost engineering and fine tooth combing is not a quick procedure – …

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WEBSITE REVAMPED

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 11 May, 2011

Well it’s not completed yet but the ‘architecture’ is now in place and over the next days the content will be updated – our refined mision and vision are on the way! Bearing in mind it’s still a slightly temporary website (we’ll get something brilliant purpose built a little further down the line!) I think it’s getting there…

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WHY DO I FEEL SO AT HOME...

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

…IN A WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE? There’s nothing like being someone you’re not. It’s more than escapism, more than mimicry. When you inhabit a character, once the initial playing has subsided and the character has been sustained a true understanding of the portrayed individual starts to develop. It’s intense social commentary, it’s making decisions and judgements (whether right or wrong) and ultimately it’s accessing your brain to pull  from information that you never knew existed. It’s enlightening, it’s stimulating, it&…

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PEOPLE GET READY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 9 May, 2011

Massive day yesterday working with the trustees on the brand, the USP, refining the mission. Feel absolutely brilliant today, loads to do but have a very clear idea of the direction towards which we are aiming. Big changes in the air… Hope to be back with you before the end of the night to share one…. Here it is (just gone midnight, but nevermind) the updated (though not completed) website… more to follow…

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A DEAD HORSE AND A LOAD OF HEALTHY FOALS

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 6 MAY, 2011

Okay so half of today has been spent flogging a dead horse. On one hand I am a realist but on the other there’s the little boy in me that believes in magic. Perhaps after multiple attempts at resuscitation, some major heart surgery, clinical trials of untested drugs, visits from witchdoctors, renegade doctors using advances in molecular technology and stem cell research, the horse may once more acquire a pulse. If not then at least I know I have exhausted all angles. On the flip side, the other half of the day has been extremely positive. We have made some excellent new …

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BAD ARCHITECTURE AND GOOD TICKETING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 5 May, 2011

This morning we were given a brutally honest and thorough tour of RichMix – the venue where s few weeks back I had enjoyed Custom Practice’s production of Macbeth. It was, as ever, extremely useful to see. Venues both good and bad in terms of their architecture can teach us a great deal as we move forward with our design. RichMix is a great venue for multiple purpose use and I am sure that the general user experience is positive, however it is evident that the staff – who have to operate the building – have a great number of concerns about the way everything has b…

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ALICE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 4 May, 2011

I’m late, I’m late for a very important date. It has been this way all day. Book meetings in one after the other and if one overruns then the whole day goes askew. Book them with oodles of time apart and you end up with awkward gaps which doesn’t prove to be the best use of time – even with the ability to check emails and work on the laptop in between. Some more helpful advice just in regarding the ‘S’ word (that of which we do not speak). I feel like I need to emerge from the rabbit hole at some stage, with a theatre to show for it. Maybe not, maybe t…

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A LONG DAY\'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 3 MAY, 2011

For those of you who did not see Dave Hughes’ excellent blog post yesterday then check it out here. A blog post on a bank holiday Monday!? Yes it’s back to 24/7/365 here at the Park so keep up! This morning we finalised our latest newsletter, which I shall be sending out imminently. It includes some dates for your diary – tours of the site. If you don’t receive this by the end of the week you are either not on our mailing list or we have an incorrect email for you – in either case please let us know by sending us an email at: info at pa…

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EDUCATING RITA (WELL, DAVE HUGHES) PART 2...

by Jez Bond

Monday, 2 May, 2011

Following in my education programme, we’ve had enough of the high faluting West End, the RST, the glamour, the glitz – we wanted some ‘Fringe’. Something cutting edge, something real man! So, last week Jez and I went to the Network Theatre, under Waterloo Station to see Stockholm by Bryony Lavery – 2 actors, 60 minutes, no interval, very uncomfortable seats. The play was okay, really nice set design, good performances, nice lighting design, lots of f’ing and c words from the female character – gives it a bit of edge, shows we’re not mainstr…

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STEALING TIME

by Jez Bond

Friday, 29 April, 2011

After watching The Royal Wedding (I think that deserves those caps, don’t you?) we proceeded to, well… proceed with Park business. Given the long weekend and the wait for final tender returns before any significant advances can be made regarding the building, we were able to turn our attention to a number of plays that needed reading and to various administrative tasks. Even though we continue to steal a few extra hours whilst others are working, it still feels like time is rushing ahead of us. So much to do, but – as ever – it’s all extremely positive and …

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BIG DAY FEVER

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

A good day on site today, beginning with meeting a new writer and ending on a meeting with Rose Fenton, the internationally respected theatre producer and arts advisor, who started the LIFT festival. In between these: lots of other business, including taking a celebratory card to Homes For Islington to thank them for their dealings in the fire escape matters that plagued us last year. Meanwhile Jordan has been on the phone chasing up some final tenders before the whole country closes for an extended royal wedding weekend. It’ll be the biggest day for the nation in a long time but I…

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TENDERS COMING BACK

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 27 April, 2011

Exciting day today as the tenders are starting to come back. The final big hitters will be in by the end of the week with the rest to follow the following week. The next stage will then be to sit down with the shortlisted companies for each package and to interview them to ensure they have allowed for everything in their pricing. Just off to a meeting now at IAMS to discuss our potential involvement with an upcoming festival in the park. More on this later…

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BACK WITH YOU

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 26 April, 2011

As the heatwave soared across the UK so it did across central and eastern Europe. In Budapest temperatures rose by more than ten degrees overnight and just a couple of hours of morning sun was enough to turn the car into a mobile oven. As we drove back to the UK through a desert of wifi hotspots (for which we were grateful) we passed through five countries, and enjoyed a two night stay in Munich to break up the journey. Back in the UK now, batteries are fully recharged and we’re ready for the many tasks ahead. Stay tuned, normal service resumes with daily blog…

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GONE FISHING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 12 April, 2011

Dear trusty followers, Accustomed though you have been to my daily reportage, I hope you will forgive me a brief repose for this will be my last blog for around two weeks. After eighteen months of planning, paperwork, design and demolition I am finally off on holiday. Armed with various portable communicative devices I shall no doubt be in touch with the mother ship on a daily basis – and rest assured that work continues with Jordan and Martin at the helm – but I have firmly decided that blogging should be left until after Easter. F…

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RETURNING TO PLACES FAMILIAR

by Jez Bond

Monday, 11 April, 2011

More tenders out today and a very supportive email from an Islington councillor assisting us with some ‘street’ issues – I refer to an older blog detailing the problems we have been facing with road markings and other street improvement plans. One month on but it looks as though we will finally get this still standing issue resolved. This evening I returned to a familiar venue as Martin and I attended the Southwark Playhouse for an very interesting adaptation of Louis De Bernieres’ ‘Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World’. On entering the…

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RUSH OF HEAT

by Jez Bond

Friday, 8 April, 2011

Crazy day when every meeting butted up against the next and there was no time for a minute’s breather let alone lunch! Funniest memory of the day: me writing an email on a laptop having said goodbye to one person and asked another (who had come in to ask a favour) to kindly wait two minutes while Jordan, talking to the insurers on my mobile (which I had just passed across) went downstairs to let in the next meeting. And so it continued. Got lots done! Last official meeting was with Joules, Roger, Theo and Dave – discussing hugely technical details of the…

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CINDERELLA

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 April, 2011

A ballet at the Royal Opera House – what a lovely way to end the day. The transformation from glamorous Cinders to Cinders-in-rags when the clock struck midnight was deftly done, seriously taking us to surprise. Regarding yesterday’s issues, we have begun to move forward in ‘investigation mode’. Fairly conscious that we need to make decisions before the clock’s bell tolls. But until such time as we smell the sweet smell of pumpkin stew, we’ll keep fighting on…

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ONE QUESTION CLOSES ANOTHER ONE OPENS...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 6 April, 2011

Despite having discussed substations for a matter of weeks over countless emails and phone calls with numerous companies and, in person with EDF Energy / UKPN, today when we met with a potential installer on site, some different options emerged. Sadly not options for eliminating the need for the High Voltage supply with associated transformer and switch gear – but different options for how and where some of these elements can be housed. I’m not talking different as in “you could go for the mauve or do that in lime green, Sir”. No, I’m talking diff…

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THE KINDNESS OF TECHNICAL STRANGERS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 5 April, 2011

We don’t really have a budget for video and sound system design… The video is a bit of a last minute realisation. That is to say that we always knew we wanted it but not to this extent. However following conversations we had with digital signage companies last week, who were unable to meet our requirements, we have delved deep into the world of screens, projectors and graphics cards and know that the age old adage applies: if you’re going to do something then do it properly. We had always allowed for sound but the design cost was factored in to th…

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RICH DAY MIXED DAY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 4 April, 2011

A great meeting this morning with Jane and Oliver from RichMix who, after touring our site, proceeded to impart a great deal of knowledge regarding everything from toilet handles and cleaning contracts to digital film projectors and artistic programming – just the sort of conversations we love! I am looking forward to touring their 50,000+ sq ft building at the beginning of May – and to asking even more questions and, importantly, discussing potential ways in which to link – something that given our current state and the priority of upcoming building works we completely…

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DON\'T SPEAK TOO SOON

by Jez Bond

Friday, 1 April, 2011

That was a very short view of the clearing (ref: post on 28th March), I fear I spoke too soon. Jon from 59 Productions made things easier on the digital signage / screens front today by telling us exactly how we should be doing things in the main house with regards video. However along with this, the digital signage, the sound/paging, the lighting, the IT and the telephony all require not just cabling but immense coordination. My brain is truly frazzled – but, nonetheless, I am very much looking forward to my meeting with the head of fundraising from the Royal Opera House tomorrow …

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CAT5 OR NOT CAT5

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 31 March, 2011

Cat5, Cat5a or Cat6e? That is the question. Which cable format do we install? It’s a question of cost versus futureproofability (bugger off Apple spellcheck, the Germans wouldn’t have any problem with that word!) As well as striving for quality and forward thinking approaches to all we do I am very conscious of not over spec’ing our building. We have to consider whether we are likely to ever require to do more than the lowest grade option can achieve. If the answer is yes we then have to ask ourselves whether by the time we do so the current infrastructure wo…

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ALMEIDA VISIT AND OTHER WONDROUS THINGS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 30 March, 2011

Meetings all day from 9am on site. Digital signage companies all seem to be saying different things, which is a real headache. Then Theo a freelance sound designer, who is very kindly designing our audio infrastructure with Orbital, had a look round and started chatting through the spec. Finally in the afternoon we visited some more venues. Our first stop was the new Caponata/Forge in Camden, a private scheme that combines a restaurant with a small performance venue, predominantly for live music. We then headed to Islington for the much anticipated tour of the Almei…

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N4 STORIES TEASER

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 29 March, 2011

This morning, following an interesting meeting with a couple of producers on site, I proceeded to Pooles Park Primary School, who for the past few months have very kindly been home to our N4 Stories workshops. Sarah, our writer in residence, had furiously worked for just two hours with a group of (now somewhat regular) actors to cobble together a mini ‘Best of N4 Stories’. I had seen a few hot seating sessions before and some improvised scenes and was eager to get a flavour of what promised to be a mixed platter. I was truly blown away by the work that had obviousl…

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A BREAK IN THE TREES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 28 March, 2011

It has been a hectic weekend and for the past few days I have been up at 7am and to bed at 2am. With the tender process ongoing and the vast amount of work needing to be done in developing the brand, the USP and the fundraising initiatives there has been little time for fun and frolics. Only today after days of furiously beavering away – and only enjoying the beautiful sunshine on walks to meetings – was I able to see a way out. Suddenly there appeared a break in the trees ahead, a glimmer of sunlight teasing its way through the branches. Beyond that no respite, bu…

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SUBSTATION SAGA ENDS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 25 March, 2011

I can’t really call it good news, or can I? I am loathe to call any news regarding the electrical kit we require to be ‘good’ but, being resigned to having the installation, I should rejoice in any small help. Edf today confirmed that the additional capacity on the high voltage network is available and that they would not increase their costs for the extra loading. This means that we will able to heat the flats electrically, which is more sustainable and very efficient and comfortable (under-floor throughout). It also means that we do not have to deal with an…

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DIGITAL MEDIA AND MORE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 March, 2011

This afternoon I met with David, the head of digital media at the Royal Opera House. He had very kindly spec’d all our digital media requirements, sent out a tender to ten companies and liaised with them regarding their quotes. As ever with the build, there is quite a range; from £28k to £62k. We have shortlisted three and will invite the companies to undertake a site survey and demo their products next week. I also got back in touch with Tom from Orbital this morning. I have asked them to draw a schematic for the sound (show relay, paging, cans system etc) i…

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KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 March, 2011

After a huge gap that followed our last meeting, we met with the trustees on site this evening for a board meeting. As we are currently going out to tender and the start on site date is looming (pencilled in as May 1st) we suddenly have loads to arrange. Refining the mission statement and the USP are high on the list as is the creation and implementation of fundraising initiatives. Previously, this morning, Jordan and I finished checking the room data sheets. We now have a number of questions to ask the various consultants (mainly HJF, but also our fire and acoustic consultant…

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RETURN OF THE RDS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 22 March, 2011

Months on and those room data sheets are calling once more! Our project manager, Jordan, came over to the house at 6pm and has just left now at 2.30am. We have been through the sheets comparing them with the architects’ plans, the structural schematic, the mechanical and electrical schematic and the specialist lighting schematic. As tiny things have changed over the past few weeks, we need to ensure that every little thing is picked up on and that all the drawings match. We are getting there – just the lower ground floor to do. We are all set to continue in the mor…

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THE BOND LEGACY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 21 March, 2011

This weekend I travelled, with my family, to The Wirral for my grandmother’s memorial service in the picturesque church of beautiful Caldy. This was the village where in 1958 she risked everything, took out a loan and bought Avalon – a school which, over the following three decades she turned into one of the most successful girls schools in the region. It made me very proud this weekend when I met many of the so called ‘Bond Girls’ – ladies, now in their late 30s, 40s and 50s, who my grandmother helped to shape at a crucial stage of their lives. T…

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THE BIG 200

by Jez Bond

Friday, 18 March, 2011

We have been writing the daily blog for so long now that last night I wrote the 200th entry. How many more until we open, I wonder? As we hope to be producing the inaugural show in less than a year, perhaps we’ll be on blog number 400 or so… It has certainly been a great record of all our achievements to date. Have a little look back at a few random days over the past few months – it’s interesting to see just how varied and complex the journey has been to date.

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THE DANE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 March, 2011

This evening Melli and I headed to Brixton to see a lovely couple who had adopted one of the gorgeous Great Danes we fostered. It was fantastic to see the big guy so happy in his new forever home – and to chat the night away with Claire and Darren, who kindly cooked us a delicious meal. We’ve fostered a number now and they asked if we would ever adopt. It’s an interesting question as we have recently been discussing this. We have a dog of our own, a mastiff cross who is used to the comings and goings of visors to the house, and once the theatre is open the plan is to ad…

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THE IMPORTANT AND THE TIME CONSUMING

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

A good meeting this afternoon with project manager Jordan Russell. We went through the program of works and the schedule for the next two weeks. All the tenders should be back three weeks from now and we will very soon have an official ‘start on site’ date! Very exciting. In the meantime we are continuing to struggle with the utility companies – what is it with these people!? As is the EDF fiasco with the substation wasn’t enough! (Still ongoing by the way). I finally managed to get British Gas Business to remove the (approximately) £20…

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THE WRONG KIND OF HEROIN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 March, 2011

I tackled the licensing application today and nearly finished the first draft. The hardest part is succinctly putting in to words how we are addressing various issues ranging from crime prevention to the protection of children. Whilst one would hope that some things would be obvious from the nature of the type of building we will be – a theatre not a nightclub – I did have a conversation with a design officer from the police last year who seemed to think we needed to implement measures to stop the public from jacking up in the auditorium; making sure that the design of the se…

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NYC CONNECT

by Jez Bond

Monday, 14 March, 2011

Today we met with Kids With Guns – an exciting new writing company from New York.  Like the majority of theatre companies both here in London and across the pond, they don’t have a permanent base but produce shows at a number of venues. In most recent years they have established a good relationship with E59 Theatre (the home of the yearly Brits off Broadway season). We showed them the plans, gave them a tour of the building and chatted away about our aims and objectives. They are certainly interested in the possibility of bringing a show over here, and we spoke about loo…

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CIRCUS SPACE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 11 March, 2011

We had a lovely tour of Circus Space yesterday. It is London’s only training and rehearsal grounds for circus performers – and it’s really quite stunning. I had some experience of the venue a few years ago when a friend of mine who is an aerialist brought me along to watch her training on the silks in order to get a feel for the technique – which I employed in a Christmas show (and later, with the same actress, in a family show that toured Switzerland). What I hadn’t realised then was how big the building was. It used to be a Victorian power stati…

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FREAKY GIRL IN FINSBURY PARK

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 March, 2011

How many people can fit in a double decker bus? We see the number written in there every time we travel but we can never remember it if someone asks us. Well, believe it or not, this is the reason I seemed like the new freak of Finsbury Park today! Doing research on the buses that pass outside of the Park Theatre and the number of people that travel within them, I had to figure out the number of people that fit in a double decker bus. But this information doesn’t seem to exist on the internet! So the easiest way was to go to the bus station at Finsbury Park and see… And that…

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THE HISTORY OF BUILDINGS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 9 March, 2011

I find history fascinating. People who follow this blog have will have read more than once about the feeling of an energy in a space and how I believe that the things we do in this world fly out and attach themselves to people, buildings, air… As such the history of a building, what took place inside its walls, is so interesting. Earlier today I was kindly given an extremely insightful pdf by Mark Foley of Burrell Foley Fischer, who have been the architects of the Almeida since its inception as a theatre space. Within the context of their latest (and beautiful) redevelo…

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THE RED SHOES

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 8 March, 2011

We have just returned from the BAC where we saw The Red Shoes. This was the fifth (possibly sixth) production we have seen by Kneehigh and they continue to be innovative and engaging in their telling of tales. Whilst this play worked very well on the aesthetic level – with its distinct style – it was less powerful than previous works of theirs on the actual narrative. However it did work on a thematic and metaphorical level and certainly wasn’t a triumph of style over content. This is all starting to sound too much like a pretentious late night review show…. over…

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MR FRY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 7 March, 2011

I got a personal response today from Stephen Fry. He wrote me a lovely email and explained that (as we half guessed) he was extremely oversubscribed with meetings, openings, functions, official roles on theatre, charities etc that he doesn’t feel that he would have the time to commit to The Park Theatre. It’s an honest response that I truly appreciate. I did make it explicit in my email to him that we were looking for people to take an active role and not for any ‘names on a piece of paper’. Indeed a recent advice session with a fundraiser also concurred, suggesti…

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IN THE WORDS OF ROBERT FROST

by Jez Bond

Friday, 4 March, 2011

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet kn…

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MAINTAINING THAT ELEVEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 March, 2011

I always used to wonder why an A in some exams was only 84% and why you could often get 50% and still pass. The truth is that attaining 100% is very difficult, and, as I have discovered, maintaining it is even harder still. I am acutely aware that my energy level – which is the radiator of my passion, my enthusiasm and my confidence – must never falter. Positivity is the key to success and the energy one puts out into the world is absorbed by those around. As such I endeavour to personify the dial on the Spinal Tap guitar player’s amp – “this one …

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THE DUNCAN TRILOGY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 2 March, 2011

A good couple of meetings on site today. We met first with Jill Barton, who is a governor of IAMS (Islington Arts and Media School not the cat food). They already have very good links with the Almeida (where Jill is on the board) but are very keen to explore partnership potentials with us, their most local theatre. Melli and I chatted about our plans and we discussed various ideas together. I hope to give a presentation to IAMS’ governors sometime over the summer. Afterwards we met Sheila Duncan, a playwright friend of ours. She was telling us about what we jokingly call…

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THE EXCEPTION THAT PROVES THE RULE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 1 March, 2011

It’s tomorrow. Yesterday, for the first time, I didn’t write my blog. So here it is – backdated. I’m still here. A sign of something? Tiredness, stress, busyness? Perhaps a little of all of the above and more. A few hours until the next blog. Mustn’t slip up again!

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MOVING

by Jez Bond

Monday, 28 February, 2011

The decision to move my edit studio from Hersham to our flat was not a quick one but in the end it was an easy one. It means we loose our spare bedroom but it also means that I don’t need to travel what can often be a three hour round trip on public transport in order to get to the kit. This way I can keep working on some paid editing jobs and subsidise my work on the theatre.

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OUT OF IT

by Jez Bond

Friday, 25 February, 2011

It’s strange being somewhat out of it. Handling live cables, being covered in plaster dust and crawling around in an attic aren’t exactly conducive to answering emails and phone calls! I am now looking at the thirty two emails that have come through. It’s the weekend (in most people’s eyes) but some demand an urgent response. Tomorrow night we are aiming to finish the wiring. How tricky it has been, as I mentioned before, working in an old flat. In a new build things are far easier – and even at the Park Theatre where the building exists, things will be easi…

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ANOTHER 2AM

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 February, 2011

Very tired. Haven’t been out for three days now. Need to get some fresh air. All work and no play makes Jez a dull boy. Not entirely true, having plenty of laughs – though mostly through delirium.

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I\'M NOT A GYMNAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011

All this week I am rewiring my friend’s house – removing the old consumer unit, adding some outdoor lighting circuits, some additional sockets to the ring main, some three way switching etc. Getting into the main attic space would be tricky for even a ten year old gymnast and it is taking it’s toll. When you are working with wiring and in confined spaces it’s surprising how long it takes to just to determine what was done (often badly) the previous time round. It’s vital to do so because if you want to re-use any of the circuit (which we have in s…

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OH AND THERE\'S THAT LICENSE APPLICATION!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011

Our associate director, Melli, and one of our trustees, Frances, attended an advice session on Fundraising this evening – followed by a Creative Islington networking event. They came away buzzing with ideas and inspiration so I look forward to a full debrief. Frances chatted to the licensing officer who we had met with some time ago and reminded me that the licensing application should be done soon – we should strike while the iron is hot. Sadly despite it being high on my rather large ‘to do’ list, the recent onslaught of issues has taken precedent &nd…

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MUCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING

by Jez Bond

Monday, 21 February, 2011

Dave and I are returning from rainy Suffolk, where we have spent a fantastic half day at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. On arrival in this rather ghostly quiet and picturesque town we were greeted by Abi, the theatre’s associate director, who had kindly arranged our visit. She was accompanied by Ian, a delightful volunteer tour guide, who had made a very special effort to come in on his day off and give us a private tour of the building. An expert on the recent restoration and on the fascinating history of the theatre, Ian answered our many questions with a huge dep…

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O WOE IS ME - O WOW

by Jez Bond

Friday, 18 February, 2011

Some days so low, some days so high Stressed and tired, then feeling now a sudden jolt, then jump for joy O, woe is me – oh wow… It’s all a mess, it’s all a maze It’s tough to build, easy to see No hitches, glitches, impossibly Oh wow – o woe is me… If Tuesday’s fair then Wednesday’s storm comes fast upon us now It’s best and worst, it’s lottery O  woe is me – oh wow…

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THE GAS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 February, 2011

My bus driver’s driving like he can’t find the accelerator pedal or, as they say in the states, ‘the gas’. I keep thinking he’s about to pull over and we’ll see smoke pouring from under the ‘hood’ but no, he maintains this snail pace continually. I am resigned to conclude that I am trapped in another sequel to Speed. That instead of the bus blowing up if the speed drops below 70mph, the bus will blow up if the driver exceeds 9mph. Any minute now Keanu’s going to crash in through the window, mind you if he waits an hour he could just g…

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CONTRAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011

Following on from yesterday’s blog, some very exciting opportunities have arisen with Celia on board and she is kindly assisting with contacting other influential industry professionals – both local and national, both ‘names’ and non ‘names’. Lots of work ahead, with some heavies on board many doors open. In open response to somebody’s tweet to me – no I didn’t get any cucumber sandwiches (perhaps they are strictly afternoon only!) but I enjoyed some lovely homemade cup cakes! Today, by contrast, was dull and stressful. Mel…

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FIRST AMBASSADOR

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011

It’s half past eight, my food is ready and getting cold (as usual). So a real quick one today. Very excited that Celia Imrie, our first ambassador, is on board and totally committed to the project. So much so that she even called Stephen Fry to tell him about it while I was round for tea. Lots of other contacts and potential other ambassadors also….. watch this space (I’ll write more tomorrow…. need to eat!!!!!!)

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SOCRATES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 14 February, 2011

This morning we had a key meeting concerning VAT. Even our highly experienced accountant finds it a most confusing and complex topic. Having engaged in substantial conversations on the subject over the past year and having been to see a specialist VAT consultant almost eighteen months ago, we felt that some revision and clarification on various points would be most useful. However rather than returning to the man we saw previously we decided to find someone who was more able to communicate in a language that we could understand – someone who might perhaps answ…

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FEMALE PLAYWRIGHTS AND LOTS LOTS MORE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 11 February, 2011

One of those days where lots of little bits and bobs happened rather than one major event. I met an American actor who had recently arrived in the UK and was keen to pitch a couple of interesting plays to us. Led by Melli and her important goal to readdress the balance of female to male work, we have been committed to sourcing plays by women and/or with strong female parts – not exclusively but it’s always in the back of our heads. It sounded like these might fit that bill and I look forward to receiving them. We then organised a dinner with my ROH/NT pa…

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A GREAT DAY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 February, 2011

A tour of yet another theatre this morning – we are being spoilt! Jacksons Lane Arts Centre had an unusual mix of old decor, beautiful history (it’s a converted church) and modern touches. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about it, apart from the stained glass windows, was the sense of community. The cafe was buzzing with mums and their kids, there was a class for toddlers going on in one of the rehearsal rooms and signs on the noticeboard informed patrons of the next yoga class. It was great to see such vital daytime hubbub in a theatre building. Back on site I h…

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PRESS NIGHT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011

It’s always such an exciting day. The cast and director have rehearsed for weeks, the director and producer have worked for months with the entire creative team and through the previews the show has been refined again and again. The constant striving for perfection won’t end here but tonight is the night when the show is officially ready for judgement, when critics put pen to paper… Never has a show changed so much than this production of Company. The difference from the dress rehearsal to the last preview is immense. Certain sections are unrecognisable and …

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THE TIERS OF THE CAKE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

We started the day with a site meeting. Unfortunately a certain structural engineer had forgotten all about it (oops Paul!) – but when he finally arrived all was well. Martin walked through the building with him, chatting over the plans, while – for the most part – I gave an impromptu tour to a group led by our writer in residence, Sarah Rutherford. Paul seemed confident that the final tweaks to the scheme would take but a few days. These included rectifying various coordination issues, re-examining the structural support to the cantilevered bay window and el…

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A HELPING HAND FROM THE NT AND ROH

by Jez Bond

Monday, 7 February, 2011

Editing all day. Just about time to check the various emails in the breaks. Working on three video projects at the moment. Great to be earning some money for a change! Working on the theatre full time is the most exciting thing ever but I have to face the fact that bills need to be paid. Never before in the field of human labour, has so much been done for so little pay and yet so great reward. The weekend was hectic, as ever. I was very lucky to meet some extremely knowledgable and supportive local residents who work at the National and the Royal Opera House. They are helping …

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DOUBLE YELLOW LINES

by Jez Bond

Friday, 4 February, 2011

It was a great day when quite by chance the council’s widening of the pavement to a section of Clifton Terrace appeared to centre around our building. Despite my project manager trying to convince me that the work was scheduled because of our development, I remained stalwart in my belief that it was completely co-incidental. Today we heard from the men carrying out the work on the street that they are soon to complete their task by painting a set of double yellow lines along the entire run of the corresponding section of road. This rather confirms the fact that our property, which …

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WAITING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

An ever increasing number of people contacting us some on Twitter, some on facebook many having seen the banner hanging high on the building Just when we thought there were no more to be removed more internal walls have come down and the sandblasted brick stands proudly now the dust has settled Signs for health and safety adorn the site with instructions, warnings and advice while the portable radiator chugs out warmth into the site office and we wait on some final drawings for tender The building sits impat…

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TUBES, ELECTRICS, SHOWS AND SNACKS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011

It’s the Dress Rehearsal for ‘Company’ this afternoon. I have hectically been trying to finalise some substation solutions before heading out the door and now tfl have very kindly made me late. When I boarded the tube the destination was Victoria but on looking up I found myself in Bayswater. It is actually only the first time that I have been penalised for not concentrating on public transport. The tube, it seemed, had been diverted to Paddington. So I promptly got off and assessed the situation, having lost a good fifteen minutes in the process. Well I can’t bla…

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THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF CARE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011

Already six months ago Hughes Jones Farrell would have far exceeded the total hours spent by many other architects on this near pro-bono project. Our many sessions – from design team meetings on site (or at various consultants’ offices across London) to a great many tours of theatres, attendances at conferences and events and even trips to see shows – have racked up a vast number of hours. Yet on Friday we spent an hour discussing the intricacies of a drinks shelf in the circulation area of the upper ground floor. Such is the level of detail that we engage in…

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THEATRE DOG RECOVERS FROM GENERAL ANAESTHETIC

by Jez Bond

Monday, 31 January, 2011

Very sad news today for The Park Theatre’s resident-to-be doggie who was taken to the vet after a few weeks of discomfort and stiff back legs. Despite huge amounts of rest and some pills administered for a suspected cruciate ligament, things had not improved. Today a number of X Rays revealed that she had been born with hip dysplasia and that over her young life (she is only 3 years old) wear and tear had taken its toll on the knees causing arthritis. She is a Mastiff cross and these larger breeds can of course be prone to bone conditions, but at such a young age it was …

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AMBASSADORS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 28 January, 2011

Throughout last year we were completely inundated with our planning application and the pre-construction phase. As we approach a start-on-site date we are now able to spend some time on other much needed activities such as fundraising and profile raising, two things which are rather inextricably linked. I’ve heard of a number of venues which have opened without many people knowing they exist – I have heard this about a year after they have launched. Our aim at The Park is to build as much awareness of the project before we open. This will involve significant PR and…

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WHY I COULD NEVER BE AN ACTOR

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 27 January, 2011

A question that has been asked of me many times is have I or would I like to act on the stage. The answer has always been a confident ‘no’. There are a number of reasons to this. Firstly the very reason I am a director is that I have always been fascinated in a mercurial coordination of people and things into a live performance. My role has been the facilitator, the conductor, the puppet master, the overseer, the all seeing eye. To take away my ability to stand back and examine a performance or production from the outside would make me uncomfortable and not at my b…

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THEATRE MOTTO

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 26 January, 2011

I have been thinking for some time about a theatre motto. Richmond Theatre has Alexander Pope’s beautiful and very apt “to wake the soul by tender strokes of art” inscribed above the proscenium. The original Globe had “totus mundus agit histrionem” engraved above the door. This latin phrase, literally meaning “all the world’s a playhouse”, was rephrased by Shakespeare as the now more well known “all the world’s a stage” in his play ‘As You Like It’. There is something powerful about a motto – certainly ab…

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STOP DOING EVERYTHING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 25 January, 2011

As soon as I wrote this title, I realised it may give the wrong impression. I don’t mean “stop the press” or “everybody stop working, it’s all over”. I mean it as a ‘note to self’: I must stop trying to do everything. The latest drawings from the structural engineer arrived a few minutes ago and I started to open up all the pdfs before suddenly saying to myself “hold on a minute!”, closing them all down and returning to my ever increasing ‘to do’ list which doesn’t involve negotiating my way through detailed be…

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AN HONEST DAY\'S WORK

by Jez Bond

Monday, 24 January, 2011

Hands dirty with paint, limbs sore from adjusting wrenches and tightening bolts, back aching from scrambling under decking, eyes tired from dust. 8pm and the set has been made safe for tomorrow’s first rehearsal of ‘Company’ in the space (Southwark Playhouse). Still some bits to do – the odd hand rail, some painting and dressing… but after an honest day’s manual labour it is coming together. As associate director my role is varied! Back to walk Hazel and then to have a bath (yeah right, never happens!) then to catch up with Park Theatre cor…

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EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD NEIGHBOURS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 21 January, 2011

After finally meeting with the council (our neighbours to the left) and sorting out a long standing issue over our fire escape – which should be signed off next week – I travelled to site. I saw, for the first time in situ, the banner that Jordan had hung on the facade. It has certainly caught people’s eyes and we have already had emails from passers by who have checked out the website as a result. Inside, one of our labourers, Sasha, had finished stripping off the plaster to a number of sections of wall, revealing brickwork that we will soon sandb…

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WAY TO TRAVEL

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 20 January, 2011

It was 6pm when I left Waterloo tube station after this afternoon’s rehearsal for ‘Company’. The sea of people pouring into the station reminded me why I rarely travel during rush hour times. Standing in the crowded tube I could see why many people prefer to drive – even if it takes a long time to get there you are at least in the comfort of your own mechanical organism. It’s not as if in a crowded tube you have enough room to work on your phone or laptop anyway. If we fall into the ‘keep work and home separate camp’ and remain ‘west side&r…

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BIG TIME

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 19 January, 2011

Hooray folks, it’s the big time now! We have our cool banner on the front of the building and with the current widening of the pavement it all looks very hip and happening on Clifton Terrace… Jez and I enjoyed meeting Neil Darlison, Director of Theatre for London for the Arts Council today. We had a great chat – telling him all about our plans; and we are very pleased to begin a relationship with them.  Although many people look at the current climate and the Arts Council funding cuts and see doom and gloom, Neil had a very positive outlook on things &n…

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FREESTYLIN\'

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 18 January, 2011

Ooh the world of social media. I used to be a  sociotechnophobe when it came to Twitter and Facebook (I know what that means, do you?) but over the past few months I have embraced it lovingly like a Hungarian eating a fine slice of Dobos Torta (ooh that’s making me hungry). Too many brackets here, on top of my usual favourite – the hyphen. Have I developed a style over the last few months of writing? Hmm… Possibly my style is like my artistic policy – broad and multifaceted…. Or possibly my style is like the thoughts in my head - multitasking all over…

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A LAME AND RAINY MONDAY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 17 January, 2011

It was such a miserably wet day today. In the morning it rained for four hours non stop. The fields in the park were completely flooded and even the alley to the tube station was impossible to traverse without wellington boots. But it wasn’t monday itself that was lame. In fact it was quite productive on the ‘Company’ front – we made some great headway with the set, albeit resolving issues that should have been done months ago. Shame we didn’t get as far with our electrical issues for The Park – nothing yet resolved, though information is be…

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NOT AGAIN, TALK TALK!

by Jez Bond

Friday, 14 January, 2011

I can’t believe that the internet is not working again! Okay, it has come back on for a momentary few minutes – giving me time to write this short blog – but for the past few hours it has been dead! I can’t wait to go with BT fibre optic speed broadband once we can get out of this contract. All that aside, it’s been a full day at home working with Melli and Christina. We are no nearer, it seems, to solving our energy crisis but we are a little nearer to solving our issues with the council over the adjoining land (we meet with them next Friday). It was useful…

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CAROLINA ON MY MIND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 13 January, 2011

As Associate Director my role is packed full of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is as Literary Manager. During my trip to the States in September (anyone who read my blog then will remember this) I received a number of plays from New York literary agents. I have been slowly making my way through these. I had hoped to have finished reading them all before the end of 2010 but with so many things going on I haven’t been able to meet my own deadline. I am still reading but have kicked it up a notch as I am determined to finish this winter! I have just read a play that I…

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THE HYPER-SPEED OF TIME

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011

It’s all kva and volts and stuff that I don’t really understand but Jez and Jordan and co. are clearly on top of things. I have witnessed everyone working hard to resolve our current EDF power issue. Although it sounds complicated in technical gobbledygook I am beginning to get a good grip of what is going on. Then suddenly, while in that head space, I am asked to go to the front door on site to let someone in and show them round. Much to my relief it’s an artistic person and we can speak the same language. Giving my tour I am surprised to see how smiley I am and realis…

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APOLLO 13

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 11 January, 2011

On Friday we discovered that EDF energy – or UK Power Networks as they are now called – were unable to provide us our requested power supply. We had applied for a higher supply to accommodate our increased demand – lighting rigs, air conditioning, lift etc. They had originally told us that in order to meet these needs they would have to install a substation (basically a room full of some electrical kit) in our building as there was no more capacity in the street. We quickly explained that we could neither afford the cost nor the space required by t…

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BORN TO RUN

by Jez Bond

Monday, 10 January, 2011

This evening we cooked dinner for Brenda, Graham and Kylie Gottsche. Brenda is a playwright whose plays I have directed over the years. We’ve all become such good friends that we went to stay with the family (who spend their time between Australia and the UK) in Sydney a few years ago – and they were the most wonderfully kind hosts. Five hours of food and drink and chatting furiously away and the night has just ended. Graham told me about their recent safari to Mozambique and alluded to an interesting story about the hunters in Africa who could outrun antelope. App…

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WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 7 January, 2011

It has been a terribly rainy day again here at The Park Theatre headquaters. And its been fairly gloomy on many levels. We seem to be back in discussions over issues we believed to have been settled months ago. I am a very optimistic person though, and although at this stage it appears that we are facing a brick wall (well maybe a new room not just a brick wall) I believe these issues can be resolved. Not just because of our problem solving and need for solution but because people out there can help. Yes, some people don’t care – but they must. Why do a …

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THE COLISEUM

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 6 January, 2011

After a successful morning rehearsing ‘Company’, followed by a brief catch up with the Hughes Jones Farrell team, we headed to the London Coliseum for a 3pm tour with the technical manager, Dewi Evans. The number of private tours we have been on is fast approaching twenty and we have always been treated well. Dewi’s tour, however, has to be one of the top few. On arrival he presented us each with some fascinating plans of the building which he then proceeded to talk us through before he showed us around. We began in the foyer where Dewi’s pas…

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MORE COMPANY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 5 January, 2011

Day 3 for ‘Company’ rehearsals and all is going well. I had spoken to Joe on Monday about a few important adjustments to the set design and band location (which are, in part, linked) and we have come up with a some good changes which were all but 100% confirmed today. We worked on characters this afternoon, focussing on Bobby’s relationships with the three girlfriends that he is seen with during the course of the play. We also looked at two of the married couple who are his friends and began to examine their relationship to each other as well as to Bobby. We were rehear…

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BACK INTO THINGS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

A mixed bag today – unblocking the drains, editing some video, chasing up our street numbering application (we are applying to get rid of the numbers 11-13 to simply be ‘The Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace…’) and the usual emails… 10pm and I have just returned home. Time for a bath (yep, can still smell those drains) and some much needed food! Tomorrow it’s more rehearsals for ‘Company’ and an all important meeting with Melli about the way forward over the next few weeks. Nouska and Christina are starting back up and we need to p…

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2011 - THE YEAR OF THE BUILD

by Jez Bond

Monday, 3 January, 2011

Usually in the first week of January the new year particularly jars when one writes the date. Today, however, it seems quite natural. I suppose it’s a result of all our forward planning. In my mind I’ve already plotted the first half of 2012. As avid readers can tell from my lack of online activity since Dec 22nd I did indeed manage to have a few days entirely off and, full of turkey and mince pies, refrained from sneaking on to the computer. Today it’s bank holiday Monday and I am certainly not missing the crowds on the underground – a perfe…

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CLOSING DOWN...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 22 December, 2010

I’d usually be grumbling about how people close for Christmas – okay not actually the Christmas day part (I’m not Scrooge) but for such an extended period of time during the holiday season – however due to my aching head and tight chest I am content to take my antibiotics and deal with fewer incoming emails. Most companies start back on the 4th Jan. We will resume warp speed at that point. A December update: Lots of exciting meetings arranged for Jan/Feb Banner to be displayed on site mid Jan Party wall awards beng issued and …

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IT\'S GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR...

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010

2011. This is going to be a great year. Already got some exciting meetings planned – some arranged and to be firmed up. Two with funders. One with our first local celebrity. One with the arts council. One with the artistic director of the RSC. Things are going to happen. North London watch this space! The banner has now been designed. With Christmas looming it’s likely to be early January before it gets printed. On site soon! Short blog today. Been working from bed mostly. Damn chest infection. Here’s to health, happiness and success in 2011!

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EXPANDING

by Jez Bond

Monday, 20 December, 2010

I was on the phone earlier with a company interested in working in the space. I decided to use the phone to have a few such chats recently as an email can lack tone and passion -plus by the time you’ve crafted it, re-read it and checked it over for grammatical error’s (intentional, I hate that!) you may as well have had a friendly dialogue! It’s interesting to note that there are now ten theatre companies who have already come to us with enquiries. Christina is currently compiling a list of other companies that we can approach in order to spread the word near…

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AND SO IT ENDS...

by Jez Bond

Sunday, 19 December, 2010

07.53 Bed

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SEASON\'S GREETINGS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 17 December, 2010

A dry day as I turned to my laptop to write a few emails. When I turned back round there was snow all around. Well not all around, but all over the garden at any rate. It goes to show two things. Firstly how easy it is to lose one’s sense of time whilst beavering away at the computer and, secondly, how quickly the weather turns. I completely missed the snow fall! Melli worked on a few handwritten Christmas cards and presents to send to our relatives abroad and I finalised and uploaded our Park Theatre Christmas newsletter which all our extended friends and family should …

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THE DAY THAT DUBS LEFT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

A hectic day today starting at 8am with a clear up of the house and a walk of the dogs before the engineer from TalkTalk came to tell us that there was a fault on the line and they would need to refer the problem to BT (our frustrating intermittent internet connection problem still exists after four weeks of trying to get it resolved). Then T-Dubs’ owner came to pick him up. Apparently he’s called Chet. Ummm… Our name’s better! Bye bye Dubs, we’ve had quite an adventure and you’ll be missed! That was all pre 11am! A meeting to ge…

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EDUCATING RITA (WELL, DAVE HUGHES)...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

I’ve written before that prior to starting work on The Park I was not a regular theatre goer, so as part of my continuing education and broadening of my horizons I am going to as wide a variety of theatre ‘types’ as possible – both for venue tours and to see productions. It’s been great that so many people, both friends and acquaintances of Jez’s and friends of friends, have taken some time out to show us around various theatres and spaces and answer our questions. Over the last year we have visited and been shown around: The National (parti…

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T-DUB

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 December, 2010

Following from yesterday’s adventures we returned home with our beautiful lost boy – a large black staffie cross. An actor from Transmission Workshop decided he should be called T-DUB, as in TW, and thus his journey began… We immediately followed the customary process we engage in with all four legged visitors to the house (having fostered Great Danes it’s all second nature now). Beginning outdoors with an introduction to the pack – a walk-by and then sniff of our very own mastiff cross, Hazel – we then proceeded indoors for a wash down; ge…

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MUM\'S THE WORD!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 December, 2010

It’s so ridiculously exciting that I can hardly believe it. The most part of me wants to shout it out to the world, proclaim it from the rooftops and send it to the press. A small part of me however is desperately trying to keep that other part quiet. With most good ideas there are always other people out there who have the same plan. However I think that in this case that may not be true (I am truly original dahling!) and I can’t risk letting the cat out of the bag. Why? Creativity is about sharing ideas, surely!? Well, I suppose it’s my business side at work. It&rsquo…

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FIRE AND RAIN

by Jez Bond

Friday, 10 December, 2010

Just listening to the fabulous James Taylor and Carole King – highly recommended. I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. Yep, that’s the theatre alright. We’ve got it all! Started out in the morning meeting with Vinod, who owns the property next to us and is interested in looking at options whereby (if we raise additional capital now or down the line) we could purchase a portion of his building to use as a dedicated rehearsal room. Dave measured up and we just need to do the maths (or do the math as they say in the States). Melli, Dave and …

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CHRISTMAS APPROACHES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 December, 2010

As Nouska, Christina, Melli and I all met at London Bridge this chilly morning we remarked on how it was the first time that all four of us had been together. As Christina and Nouska work for us two days a week, the days had never previously collided. It was great to spend the day as one organism! We headed straight to a meeting with the Independent Theatre Council this morning. This was a useful hour, we shared our plans with them and they explained the benefits of membership to the ITC – which includes legal advice, business/accounting support and a host of reduced rat…

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BIG BAD DOM (BAD AS IN \'COOL\')

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 December, 2010

The first port of call today was Hoare Lea. Situated in the impressive location of Tottenham Court Road, Hoare Lea are one of the top lighting designers in the country. In the field of theatre, they have worked on some major venues producing stunning results. Their work on the Victoria Apollo theatre can be seen on the image I have posted here.   As mentioned previously, Dom, one of the partners, is helping us out massively. I just adore him. He has the most passionate high-energy fast talking way about him. Every time you meet him you feel like you need a para…

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MORE DATA

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 7 December, 2010

A meeting with Maurice and Ellis (owners of the London Fashion Centre) this morning proved fruitful. They are extremely helpful and very supportive of the project. We discussed the programme of work, the party wall awards (they are our neighbour at the back) and, due to their fantastic energy and enthusiasm, some other interesting ideas they had. I then met on site with Dave’s colleague Martin who will begin work on the detailed internal design of the building in January and had a wonderful vision for how the atrium space, with surrounding corridors and stairwells, will …

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LIGHTS ON THE TREE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 6 December, 2010

A day editing on my big Mac with my trusty Final Cut Pro suite. I’m always thinking about the theatre – and responding to emails and phone calls throughout the day – but it’s probably a good idea to do something unrelated once in a while, lest I go mad! Also on the plus side it keeps a different type of creative juice flowing and, importantly, it earns a few quid. Perhaps we’ll have a goose this Christmas after all! Just returned home and put the lights on the tree. Ah…. time for the Christmas tunes. Good job I catalogued all our personal C…

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S\'NO PROBLEM

by Jez Bond

Friday, 3 December, 2010

Despite the freezing temps and snow fall… The Park Theatre continues its development at full pace. The snow hasn’t stopped the flurry of actors attending the N4 workshops (now in its second month) and the branding for the theatre is almost complete. It appears that The Park Theatre is already becoming known in the area; one of our actors remarked that she’d asked the way to ‘the theatre’ at the tube and had been immediately pointed in the right direction! Tonight’s schedule includes a visit to Notting Hill’s The Printroom theatre to c…

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EMPTY BUILDINGS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 December, 2010

What is it about empty buildings? We’ve all walked past countless facades, windows bricked or boarded up, sold signs hanging loose and we’ve returned month upon month year after year to see no change at all. I’ve even known one that we were outbid on by an incredibly eager buyer that has sat empty ever since the auction day some two years ago and counting. What happens in these cases? It’s such a mystery to me. Does the money dry up? Do people intentionally sit on them for years just to sell them on in a different market? Did they apply for planning and not get co…

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NOW IS THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 December, 2010

Another snowy day and London grinds to a halt. The transport system slows down and everybody is late or, worse, unable to reach their destination. Christina’s flight to France from Stanstead is cancelled. Even our supermarket delivery is unable to be delivered. Didn’t exactly the same thing happen last year with all the same results? Won’t exact the same happen next? C’mon England! I don’t think we built an empire based on this lack of care and organisation. Anyhow, warm within our home, we had a productive day with Christina, achieving a multitud…

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A SNOWY TRIP TO STRATFORD

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 December, 2010

We’re in Dave’s trusty Volkswagen, driving through the snow on our way home from Stratford upon Avon. It was great to see Flip Tanner from the RSC again and talk about the possibility of getting some bits and bobs from the old theatre for the Park. Many congratulations to Flip who, after a long stint at the RSC, is now off to head up the UK division of theatre consultants Fischer Dachs (or Basement Jacks as Dave likes to call them). It was really nice to tour round again, having been a few months ago when it was still a building site, and to see it all finished with people mi…

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HATE TO CANCEL

by Jez Bond

Monday, 29 November, 2010

Argh! I hate to cancel meetings. Was due for a meet at the M & E engineers this morning, followed by a meeting at HJF. Last time there was a tube strike I walked in. However today I am recovering from a horrible weekend of sinusitis. I’ve had it once before and it’s really not pleasant. When people say their head feels like it’s in a vice… yep, I get that. I blatantly developed this because I pretended I wasn’t ill for the last two weeks and my body had enough. I have therefore been a (relatively) good boy for the past few days. Okay well today’s …

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SHAKING THE SENSES

by Jez Bond

Friday, 26 November, 2010

After purchasing a different router this morning and finally sorting out our internet connection (no thanks to TalkTalk) we proceeded to the Comedy Theatre which, as Dave pointed out, is not perhaps the most aptly named venue for the current show. It was the understudy run of ‘Birdsong’, a production we had seen a few weeks ago. Our good friend Annabel Topham was superb in the female lead among a marvellous cast. From the subtler moments between characters to the vibration of the entire auditorium with the horror of gunfire, like the first time we saw it, this was powerful st…

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GREEK THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 25 November, 2010

Working as an assistant for the artistic director of Park theatre is a new and very exciting experience for me. It is so interesting to see the whole process of how you can transform a building to a contemporary theatre venue and how you can bring such a big dream to a realisation. I couldn’t imagine how many things you need to organise to do before you open a theatre. Working by Jez’s side i meet the design team as well as people that work for promotional companies, i do the archive for some important documents for the theatre and i help generally in the organization of Jez&…

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

This morning I met with Sacha Corcoran, the lady who developed creative apprenticeships. This is a scheme adopted by educational institutions where, over the course of a twelve to eighteen month period, a student is placed within an arts organisation for four days a week and attends college one day a week. We discussed the scheme in detail and looked at how we might work together in the future – either next year, to engage a student in the pre-launch process, or for the following year when we take full possession of the building. Dave “I’m now a theatre exper…

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GREAT TITLE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

I had a really good title for this blog earlier but so much has happened today my head is spinning and I have forgotten what it was! Jordan and I looked at contracts this morning and agreed that a JCT Construction Management process is the best way for our project. It does rely on a client / client representative that has a firm understanding of building. Jordan is confident that’s me – plus “you’re no mug” he said! In the late afternoon I met with Vinod the owner of number 10 Clifton Terrace (our direct neighbour) and – it transpired &ndash…

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PAPERWORK

by Jez Bond

Monday, 22 November, 2010

A day of forms… Filling in the form to instruct our party wall surveyor, filling in the form that the council sent us regarding changes to the on street parking provision at home, filling in an application for EDF energy to provide a new electricity supply on site and, last but not least, updating the room data sheets. The usual load of emails too of course. All dealt with from the comfort of my bed. Flu!

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BRANDING, FUNDING, FLASH, BUZZ, GO!

by Jez Bond

Friday, 19 November, 2010

We’ve got that end of the week fervour! Mini breakthroughs with our game of ‘flash the logo’. I recommend trying it at home kids. For example, draw a few pictures. Now, show the first pic to mum or dad and in a flash you take it away and show them the next one. You’ll get their honest opinion kids! Games aside, we’ve really been working all day – turning the lights brighter as the day goes on – and like the lights so is my optimism about our funding package. I think we have a “banging” project. That’s the w…

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STATS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 18 November, 2010

Programmes from A – Abigail’s Party – through to D – Dying Of The Light (The) – have been catalogued into the system. Over 400. One storage box filled. Looking at the remaining piles, my estimate for the total is around 1,500. In terms of the number of programmes for different productions of the same play, first equal is currently held by Cherry Orchard (The), Comedy of Errors (The), Death Of A Salesman and Doll’s House (A) with four each. It’s disappointing to see that there are a lot of shows for which we are missing progr…

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COMPANY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010

It’s that time of the year when my immune system is attacked by fatigue, stress and the change in weather – although I wouldn’t admit to the first two. I’m well accustomed to this now, after years – my throat glands are always my Achilles’ heel. A few lemsips and ibuprofen can help to soothe but nothing cures apart from time. So on we go with much to do, neither the company nor the building will create themselves! Joules has firmed up the basis for the lighting rigs in both theatres, so Dave and Paul can now coordinate this within their arch…

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FAMILY FEELING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 16 November, 2010

I’m pleased to report another great induction day for a new group of excellent actors. We have really got a talented lot. Lots of laughs were shared on our way towards more research for N4 Stories. I’ve been very lucky to find keen and talented actors able to accept this challenge. We are building a great team- what I hope will be a kind of family of actors. Melli Bond, Associate Director

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NON GLORY DAY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 15 November, 2010

Filing, emailing, typing up contacts, a day of lots done but nothing hugely exciting to show for it – well actually nothing even remotely exciting to show for it. There are plenty of days like this – but then also plenty others with glorious results to parade. Good news that the Arts Council have finally acknowledged our existence. Last time we wrote to them we received a rather cold response: “we are not interested into entering into discussions with you at this time”. The new administration seems to be more receptive, despite the current crisis. I did…

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AWAY

by Jez Bond

Friday, 12 November, 2010

Sitting in beautiful Henley on this grey rainy evening. Have been coordinating with Joules, Roger, Charles (from Hall Stage) and Dave regarding lighting rig positions. Next week we should have made the final decisions. Just a short one today as I’m officially on my weekend! More on Monday…

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TALKTALK

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 11 November, 2010

It’s not really talktalk though; more like silentsilent. It’s been 48 hours now without internet access and the lovely Lisa upstairs has just saved the day by giving me the code for her wireless router! Why do these companies have such bad customer service? Well one thing is for sure – we will have two different broadband lines at the theatre with two different companies. It’s a good lesson to learn. Our business – including all the ticket sales – will rely on an internet connection and I sure as hell don’t want to be phoning up a call centre in …

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SKYDECK IS THE WAY...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 10 November, 2010

I have recently been trying to maximise my time by not arranging single meetings on a day; either booking in multiple meetings or working from home exclusively – it’s far more economical in terms of both time (due to travel) and finance. Today was a successful day full of meetings. Abi, who had assisted me previously had to stand down and the delightful Christina has taken over. Today was her first day as my assistant and I did warn her that it would be a bit of a baptism by fire! In the morning I showed her around the site at the same time as Katy, the …

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S.A.D.

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

Just two weeks ago I was preparing to write a blog on workaholism. I had calculated that over the past few months I have been averaging 75 hour weeks. Suddenly since the first of the month it seems that all the leaves have fallen from the trees, a chill has hit the air and darkness has descended. I now find myself in a very different place. It’s far easier to lie in for an extra hour than it is to jump right into the shower in the morning. It’s far easier to watch a film at 9pm than it is to carry on working. Positivity doesn’t come naturally in th…

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VOODOO HUSSY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 8 November, 2010

It’s a rainy Monday morning and we’re beavering away with emails and paperwork. I have never written my blog in the morning, it has always been a dead of night affair. However I wanted to use today’s column inches to write about the on site events of the weekend, so here goes: Late last week Jules Taylor, stage manager at the RSC, and I were supposed to be going for a meal to catch up (years ago we had worked together at Watford). It was the day of the tube strikes so I called her to suggest that we reschedule. Whilst on the phone – I was in …

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STRANGE DAYS [BY WRITER LEON PARRIS]

by Jez Bond

Friday, 5 November, 2010

It all began with a good, firm handshake followed by a feeling of familiarity and safety which manifested in an impromptu hug between two men who, until two days ago had never even met. The rest of it’s a blur. Hundreds of pieces of A6 paper cover the wall; each of them holding some nugget of hilarity or tragedy which, eighteen months from now, will grace the stage of the Park Theatre. It’s been a strange few days. We have reincarnated the devil (who it turns out does look like Monica Bellucci), we have torn heroes and heroins to shreds and reassembled them piece b…

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THE THREE ACT STRUCTURE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 4 November, 2010

Leon and I have just completed a successful 15 hour writing session. Act 1 and 2 complete. Act 3 is halfway there. Though Leon’s Act 2 is my Act 2 (part 2) and Act 3. And my Act 1 is Leon’s Act 1 (part 1). It’s all very simple really, depending on the use of the two act or the three act structure. Of course almost every single play and film follow the three act structure (or the five – don’t get me started) but modern custom in theatre is to perform a full length play with one interval, thereby giving the illusion of two where indeed three exist… or f…

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WORKING ON A NEW MUSICAL

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 3 November, 2010

It’s the end of day one of a three day workshop of a new musical comedy. Award winning composer and lyricist Leon Parris – whose recent ‘Wolfboy’ played at the Trafalgar Studios – has come over from his home in Spain to work on the script. It’s always exciting for me to work with new writing, something I have done a lot over the years. Combining this with my love of music makes for a truly exciting process. After Leon’s hour long pitch of the new draft to Melli and me we sat down for a meal and discussed some notes over a glass of wine…

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TRANSMISSION

by Jez Bond

Monday, 1 November, 2010

This evening I headed over to the Rag Factory off Brick Lane for the inaugural session of Transmission – a new drop in workshop for actors. The group will meet on a weekly basis and the aspiration is to have its eventual home at the Park. As such I was invited to lead the first workshop. There were twelve actors present this evening – and I imagine that numbers will increase once word of mouth spreads and the group gets established. I chose to explore ‘the influence of style on content’ using various scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the text. W…

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FULL STEAM AHEAD FOR N4 STORIES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 1 November, 2010

Today was our first induction day for N4 Stories with our first group of actors. After spending lots of time in the admin process, we finally got to show a group of 18 around the theatre and bring them into our world. I enjoyed giving the tour of our building, it is never tiring or boring to talk about and here we were for the first time with our baby steps towards a production with actors in our building – guess what- they loved it! They were happy to hear all about it and to look around and visualise its transformation over the many months ahead. After our t…

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ONE PROJECT OF MANY (BY MELLI)

by Jez Bond

Friday, 29 October, 2010

As Associate Director of The Park Theatre my job is varied. One of my big projects of the moment is N4 Stories. We have been on the street, in shops, in a church, in homes and now we are preparing to get our team of actors involved. Thankfully I have Nouska to help with our detailed database. Our first briefing session with a group of actors is coming up on Tuesday. We have been working hard all week in preparation for the event. There has been a tremendous response to our search for actors to come out for this project. With the weekend ahead we are still getting in responses.…

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DRAMA GAMES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 October, 2010

This afternoon I headed to the town hall for Creative Islington’s conference on the Islington Young People’s Festival. Whilst by no means its only aim, the festival (2011) seeks to promote and celebrate the conversion of Hornsey Road Baths into ‘Platform’; an exciting new arts centre run predominantly by and for young people. As such, a number of events are hoped to be scheduled in the new space, which is due to be completed in March of next year. Following an ‘information giving’ section in which a number of people both from inside and outs…

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GO GO GO...!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 27 October, 2010

A busy day today (how many times do i say that). Correction. A quiet day today, nothing to do. No, that’s not right either! Let’s start again: With Abi ill (she turned up at RADA yesterday to check out the tension wire grid looking rather peaky – lucky she wasn’t scared of heights!) the pressure is on. It feels like, to start the main build by January (still planning to do some preparation and early work in Nov/Dec), we have to shift up a gear. Particularly as I know that in a few weeks the customary Christmas spirit will kick in – and i don&rsquo…

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THREE DAYS OF RAIN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 26 October, 2010

Please let this be the last negative ‘discovery’. Okay in the grand scheme of things we’ve probably not had many (the perched water table and lack of electrical supply jump out) but boy when they come they come hard and fast, like an unexpected blow to the back of the neck (the scar marked ‘substation’ on the top of my spine is healing quite nicely). Today’s revelation was that the existing sewer pipe to the road was not large enough to take the new loads (increased toilets to existing portion of the property plus the added residential eleme…

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IMMERSED [WRITES NOUSKA]

by Jez Bond

Monday, 25 October, 2010

I thoroughly enjoyed my first week as assistant at the Park Theatre. After attending my first architects meeting, visiting the site and getting to grips with the projects, I now feel fully immersed in every aspect of the task ahead. One of my first tasks has been to write the press release for local and National press. I sent this out today and will eagerly await some interest for articles on the project. I’m hopeful that given the recent announcements of arts cuts, the news that people and organisations like ourselves are still moving forward regardless, will be met wit…

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CHIPPING AWAY THE EDGES

by Jez Bond

Friday, 22 October, 2010

Friday and it’s the end of the first week with our assistants. The difference is noticeable. Despite new tasks emerging every day the ‘to do’ list is starting to get a little shorter. What a relief and, once again, how wonderful to have such support. Tonight Melli, Nouska and I went to the Barons Court theatre to see the UK premiere of an American play by a writer whose agent Melli had met out in New York. Not only did we introduce Nouska to the unusually intimate Barons Court theatre but, afterwards, to West Ken’s finest ‘Best Mangal&r…

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MY FIRST BLOG FOR THE PARK THEATRE [WRITES ABI]...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

My introduction to working as part of The Park Theatre team was a three hour meeting with the architect and various other members of the design team…and I have to confess, most of it went over my head! However, it was fascinating to hear everyone’s opinion on each and every detail of the build, as they all brought expertise from different areas to the table. It provided a real insight into the the complexity of every decision as cost, philosophy, aesthetic and artistic vision were weighed up against each other in order to reach a compromise. We left the…

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WHAT A DAY!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

So much to blog about. Head buzzing. A three hour meeting in the morning at the (new!) offices of Hughes Jones Farrell proved to be one of the most important to date. Decisions have been made – and more to dwell on. The roof to the back of the property will be lightweight timber (or metal frame) with plasterboard and sound block acoustic insulation rather than concrete as previously considered. This keeps the weight of the structure down and significantly reduces the steelwork needed to support it and – a major knock-on benefit – negates the need for (expensi…

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LET THERE BE LIGHT!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

On this so called day of doom and gloom for the Arts, with the announcement of massive funding cuts, we are moving onwards and upwards. Theatre is not built out of necessity or through finance or legislation – it is borne and run through passion. Nothing is going to quash our vision. We met on site this morning with one of the UK’s top building lighting designers. An expert on the science of light and daylight, on colour, on perception… a fountain of knowledge… Dominic is one of the most inspiring and enthusiastic people we’ve met. What an absol…

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COMMENTS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 19 October, 2010

A quick blog before my main blog of the day to say thanks to those who have contributed comments in the past. Oddly on this version of WordPress one doesn’t seem to be able to display comments on the main page – only to approve them so that they can be expanded if one clicks on the tiny ‘view comment’ sign. As such I have decided to publish yesterday’s comment from board Member David Barry: “Far be it for me to make remarks about anyone’s sanity; I was one of the board members of FinFuture who heard your presentation. Yes we…

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FURNITURE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 18 October, 2010

After copious amounts of computing in the morning (sorting out new email accounts, updating some key documents and sending them to Nouska and Abi…)  I met director Gavin McAlinden on site. Gavin was excited to learn about our new venue and had some interesting ideas regarding European funding streams (note to self: follow this up). We agreed to meet for a drink in the near future. Lots to discuss. I then gave Nouska (Melli’s assistant) her first tour. Melli should have been in my place but as I was already in the area it seemed to make sense. As we went round…

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MUCH NEEDED ASSISTANCE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 15 October, 2010

A very useful day today and one that I hope will mark the start of great things to come. Our new assistants Nouska and Abi arrived at the house for an induction. We worked for a few hours, taking a little break at the local coffee shop mid afternoon, and gave what must have been a rather hectic run through of the project. We looked at the current work load and started to break tasks down into subheadings and decide who might be responsible for each. In terms of creating a master plan, we really just scratched the surface. I hope that Abi and Nouska at least have a basic but firm understa…

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GIVE ME SOME LIGHT...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 14 October, 2010

It was 3am last night when I checked my emails, sent my tweets, posted yesterday’s blog and finally went to bed! The journey up in the car to Sheffield yesterday had taken nearly four and a half hours due to road works on the M1. Melli and I were so hectic with emails and phone calls – me driving, Melli with both our phones in her hands – that we laughed about how, quite seriously, we were too busy to call our assistants to let them know they had got the position. Four hours went by and with every three emails that we responded to another three just as urgent arrived. I…

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LONDON THEATRE PONCES

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 13 October, 2010

[A blog from our architect Dave Hughes] I’ve never designed a theatre before The Park and I wasn’t a big theatre goer either, so as part of my continuing education and broadening of my horizons I, along with Jez and various other people I know, am going to as wide a variety of theatre ‘types’ as possible – we were at the Bush a couple of weeks ago, then ‘Passion’ at The Donmar (fantastic), ENB next month and last night a West End Musical. ‘Sister Act’. It’s the Harvester Restaurant of the theatrical experie…

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INTERVIEWS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

A great day today interviewing some fantastic candidates for the new intern position of assistant to the directors. Melli and I desperately need administrative and creative support across the many tasks and projects we are working on. I was extremely impressed with the candidates we saw. All were more than capable, all had very interesting experience and all seemed genuinely enthusiastic and highly personable. Much like a great day’s auditioning, it will be both desperately difficult to reach a decision and extremely disappointing to turn away so many good people. If onl…

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PLANNING PERMISSION GRANTED

by Jez Bond

Monday, 11 October, 2010

The wait is finally over. This morning we received the good news. Islington council have granted our planning permission. Due to the fact that there were so many letters and emails in support and that there were no objections, the decision was an officer delegated one. We had originally been told that, as a major application (more than 10,000 square feet) the decision would rest with the planning committee. Incidentally the session we were expecting to be at is tonight – so we are ahead of schedule by a few hours! Thanks to the Islington officers and councillors we have …

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WOE IS NOT ME

by Jez Bond

Friday, 8 October, 2010

My life is a constant rush. A rushing to and fro, place to place, person to person, never more than just a few minutes early to meetings – apart from the occasions where the other party is late, rarely walking more often jogging, rarely stopping for more than a quick unpleasant bite on the way or, with a landline in one hand and a mobile in the other, scanning the incoming emails as the water boils for a 4pm lunch… Honestly, shut up – you’re building a theatre!

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Y TOURING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 October, 2010

Ten years ago I left Finsbury Park driving a large van full of actors, set and props bound for a number of cities and towns across the UK. It was to be the last of my tours with this company who had taken me on young and fresh faced. Save a few treasured weekends I wouldn’t return home for ten weeks. Little did I know then that my fate lay so close by to the old Lennox road headquarters. Today Y Touring celebrated their 21year anniversary at the Jerwood Space. As I caught up with many familiar faces it was a pleasure to share in the memories and wish the compa…

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WAITING AT THE ALTER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 6 October, 2010

It’s an odd feeling; you’ve heard from a number of sources both inside and outside of the council that for all intents and purposes you’ve been granted planning permission, the piece of paper is evidently sitting on a desk at the council offices waiting to be stamped and yet still the bride has not appeared. The guests all clock their watches, the priest paces calmly – he’s seen it all before – and the groom anxiously starts to tap his feet and twiddle his fingers…. Then suddenly the music swells, a hush descends and one by one the gu…

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TIME FLIES

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 5 October, 2010

I met with Councillor Phil Kelly at Euphorium on Upper Street to update him on the progress of our plans and to show him the latest designs and pictures. I can’t believe that it had been almost exactly a year since we first met, during our pre-application process with the council. It’s amazing how time has flown by – and how much longer things take than at first one thinks! I then met a couple of directors on site. Given that we have six months until we need to start programming our first season and (assuming things go roughly to plan) less than 18 months unt…

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SWEET CHARITY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 4 October, 2010

I’ve just returned from the Menier’s production of ‘Sweet Charity’ at the Haymarket Theatre. I’ve enjoyed many of their productions in the past – both straight plays and musicals, both transferred and at their venue. This seemed an odd choice however and almost entirely lacked a plot line in the first act, being simply an episodic journey that was unable to engage or hook one in. Therefore, despite a competent production and strong performances from Tamzin Outhwaite and the rest of the cast, it doesn’t rate highly amongst the many shows I have se…

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GIG

by Jez Bond

Friday, 1 October, 2010

There will surely come a time when I run out of clever titles. Not that all my titles have been so – far from it, but I constantly feel the urge to try. It’s my gig tonight at Charlotte Street Blues. It’s also day of updating our technology. We are changing the host for our emails as I haven’t been happy with the service. Thankfully my friend Nick, who is rather a wizard at all things computer related, is doing this for us. Video editing has taught me much about computers but I’d rather leave all that gig and ram to the experts. Off to …

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THE BAR

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 30 September, 2010

Great news today as local MP Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter in strong support of the theatre to Islington Council. Our consent is due tomorrow and we will soon be submitting our licensing application. Mr Corbyn’s letter addresses some key points most notably the importance of our cafe bar to the viability of the business. Just heading home now from the Factory Theatre’s production ‘Boiling Frogs’ at the Southwark Playhouse. A very engaging and innovative piece of theatre and a company well worth keeping an eye on: www.factorytheatre.co.uk …

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THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

I’ve just finished rehearsing with my band The Wang Dang Doodles. It took two and half hours to get to the rehearsal studio from the edit suite but I finally made it. Having agreed to learn three new songs for our gig on Friday I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t the time to prepare them all. We got two down, so for our ardent fans there’ll be a couple of new tunes throughout the night: www.charlottestblues.co.uk Earlier in the day I spoke with Rory, our acoustic consultant. We are keen to look at the possibility of a timber roof …

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PASSION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

A break in the day from all things theatrical as I headed down to my studio to begin a few days of editing. A few days here and there helps to keep me fed and clothed while I work on my passion for the rest of the week! In the evening I went to the Donmar Warehouse with Dave to see Sondheim’s musical about love and desire. A great production and always good to see a musical in an intimate space. Surprised to say that Lloyd Webber has more catchy tunes in ‘Love Never Dies’ than Sondheim does in ‘Passion’! I’m not one for Mamma Mia …

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LOVE NEVER DIES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 27 September, 2010

After dropping the keys round to Hardman Engineers (so that they could gain access to the site in order to investigate the recent expositions) I headed to Islington via Nincomsoup at Old Street Station. It brought back memories of rehearsing a show round the corner about ten years ago. A couple of the actors and I used to pick up a soup on the way in every morning. We loved that place and memories came flooding back. Every production is special for different reasons and that one taught me a lot about working on a new play. Next stop Islington, for a numbe…

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HAYFEVER

by Jez Bond

Friday, 24 September, 2010

After preparing a refined design brief for our logo, I attended to a much neglected task – that of budgeting and admin for N4 Stories. I completed the major part of this before we left for the theatre this evening. I now have a list of actors who speak Somali and Turkish, which may be useful for approaching some of the local migrant communities. I have also produced a first draft of a budget, with appropriate fees for script development and workshops. We will soon be in a position to seek funding for the project. Melli and I then ventured down to Ki…

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BRANDING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 23 September, 2010

I looked at more logos today. Over the past few months we have arrived at a clear vision of what we want – something simple and not over-designed, something most likely text based and something versatile (i.e. that works just as well in black and white as in colour, and both in large and small formats). Of utmost importance is that the chosen design reflects our artistic vision. I am working on creating a new brief to ensure that the next set of designs incorporate these ideas and move us closer to our final logo.

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N4 ACTION

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 22 September, 2010

Melli Bond writes: A buzzing morning with writer in residence Sarah Rutherford and artistic director Jez Bond. As associate director I am excited to be engaging with N4 Stories as the project develops. So, all you actors who are interested in getting involved watch this space, I will soon be contacting you. Following such a successful New York trip I am enjoying getting stuck into the many new plays I have been passed and continued the process in the afternoon. After a full day of writing and reading I was delighted to see Jez’s model box of our stu…

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A MODEL STUDIO

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 September, 2010

The studio is now complete – although it’s only 1/33rd actual size. I added the finishing touches this evening with the addition of a ladder to access the technical gallery. With 90 seats, a generous rake, air conditioning, comfortable fixed seating and an array of technical delights including a show relay system it’s a model studio. Tomorrow I will begin to create an equally miniature set in order to place it in our studio to get a true idea of the sight lines, entrance and exit positions and stage size. I will re-create a set for a show I directed a few yea…

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A DAY IN THE THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 20 September, 2010

Starting on site this this morning, my first meeting was with Sharon Schaffer who formed and used to run successful theatre company Kaos. She was very interested in The Park Theatre and potential involvement and it was a pleasure to show her round. Dave Hughes had provided me with some great colour printouts so I was happy not to have to lug my laptop in on the tube. Returning home I resumed work on the model box of the studio (I had mentioned in Friday’s blog that our debate about seating was ongoing – this exercise has evolved from our discussions). La…

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MOVING ON UP

by Jez Bond

Friday, 17 September, 2010

This morning I had a very successful meeting with local MP Jeremy Corbyn. I proudly showed him the plans and 3D model shots before we toured the site. I was impressed that he wanted the meeting to take place at Clifton Terrace and not at his office. It indicated to me a real interest in what we are doing – rather than the superficial fulfillment of a duty. Indeed he was extremely positive about the project and very enthused. Like many others he shares the view that Finsbury Park is crying out for a new cultural centre and it’s a pleasure to have him in support of o…

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 September, 2010

On my way to The Bush to see ‘Aliens’ with Dave Hughes: as in Dave is accompanying me, rather than appearing on stage. Having said that, our lead architect is becoming increasingly keen on the spotlight. “The criticism of architects” he told me last week “is that they have never been on stage themselves.” As such Dave is planning to tread the boards and walk into our Park Theatre spotlight to address the audience on our gala night. I would say that I’d be there in the wings ready to push him on, but something tells me he won’t ne…

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SCRIBD

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 September, 2010

It’s a strange name but a very useful website that allows you to upload documents for others to view and download. Due to our newsletters containing many photos, the resulting PDFs are rather large. As such, this method of communication is a happy alternative to clogging up people’s emails. Thanks Scribd! Check it out to view – and, if you so wish, download – our July newsletter, our ‘hot off the press’ September newsletter and much more to come… I have applied the link to the blog and the website and it’s right here …

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GLAMPING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 September, 2010

I thought long and hard about whether or not to write my blog over the last few days – whether to blog from deepest darkest Wales or whether to stick strictly to blogging about the theatre and report on the goings on back in London. However it was whilst stoking the wood burning stove in our geodesic dome that I made the decision to sit back and enjoy the holiday – my one break this year. As such there will be a small gap in the diary calendar – and whilst in one way frustrating for my order obsessed mind, it is a true representation of a mini break in my jou…

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ALWAYS ON MY MIND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 September, 2010

Eat, drink, sleep theatre. Sleep however being the most neglected at the moment. Sleep…

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TO FLIP OR NOT TO FLIP - THAT IS THE QUESTION...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

It’s all about the seating. Following from our trip to Trafalgar Studios yesterday we continued our discussions on seating for the studio… We had always considered flexibility as important, but now it seems we may be changing our minds. The fact is – and this is a view shared among architects and theatre consultants alike – flexibility costs money. It costs in terms of initial capital expenditure (fixed tiers are far cheaper than reconfigurable steel/aluminium deck) and in terms of ongoing expenditure (considerable man power is required to reconfigure …

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12 HOURS IN THE CITY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 7 September, 2010

Leaving the house shortly after 9.30am this morning it took in excess of two hours to travel the usual 50 minutes to the borough of Islington. As the tube workers were on strike the buses, cars and taxis on the road were crammed with people and the traffic terrible… My meetings today were first at Chapel Market then at Finsbury Park then at Exmouth Market then at Trafalgar Studios then back to Islington. With the late summer sun beating down it was not the ideal day for it but, armed with my laptop and the plans in my rucksack and my wallet, keys, phone and pen in Hazel…

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A DAY OUT IN ISLINGTON

by Jez Bond

Monday, 6 September, 2010

It’s pouring with rain as I write this but earlier today as I trod the streets of Islington the sun was shining down on me. I first met with one of the local ward councillors. As he had visited the site before we met in the more comfortable council offices. My intention over the next two weeks is to speak the relevant members of the council – and by relevant I mean those that sit on the planning committee, the licensing committee or are an executive member. It is important for me to speak to councillors face to face in order to bring them up to date with the latest…

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LEAVING NEW YORK

by Jez Bond

Friday, 3 September, 2010

Day 4 - Today, from the comfort of my Delaware home, we discuss family and culture and so it happens I chat with Lynn Thompson, Artistic Director of America-in-Play about America’s historical cultural legacy. Having missed her in the city, we chat on the phone. We really connect and I feel very inspired with the work she’s doing with her dynamic dramaturgy group of New Yorkers. There is so much to be learned from our past and a question I’ve always been asked abroad is “What IS the American culture?” Just a few more days here then it&rs…

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NEW YORK PART 4

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 September, 2010

Day 3 - Chocolate S’more cookies… I’m awake at 6am. Could I really have so much work ahead of me? Yes I actually do. After solid head in the computer time I think I should open the blinds. My gorgeous friend Ellie and I decide what better way to spend a morning than having breakfast at Tiffany’s. So we bundle beautiful Lukas and take a cab to Wall Street. It’s closer for us than the 5th Avenue store. Since all my rushing around we’ve barely had time to have fun! Post retail heaven what better than to stroll …

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NEW YORK PART 3

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 September, 2010

The Chelsea Market is a cool welcome change from the steam outside. As I pondered the many choices a strange feeling crept over me – oh no that was an increasing level of volume on the buskers slightly eerie version of Eleanor Rigby. I can’t put a finger on why I got chills down my spine. Hmm. Where do they all come from? I was advised to eat my lunch here so I finally move away from the creeping-me-out-music and choose sushi. One of my favorite lunch treats, this Lobster company’s tempura prawn roll was nothing short of happiness in a bite. Ah. Still and calm but wait …

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SOME FEEDBACK

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 31 AUGUST, 2010

We are near the end of the consultation period for our planning application and I believe there have been almost twenty letters and/or emails of support from members of the public – plus a very positive letter from The Theatres’ Trust (who are nearly always consulted concerning either alterations or new builds of theatres throughout the UK). I am not sure at this point whether there have been any letters of disapproval or any concerns raised, but it seems not. Of course the area where this might be expected is from residents in the neighbouring dwellings, however w…

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FIRST BLOG FROM NEW YORK

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 31 August, 2010

“Buy me a meal, buy me a meal”, it was more of a statement than a question repeated by a man standing outside a Mc Donald’s. Quite different to “spare some change?’ that we have here in London. I’ve arrived here in New York to a loud city with huge streets and even bigger buildings – and this statement has already made me realise just how different this city is. I’m impressed, though, to be in this vibrant, exuberant town where there is also a natural calm. I noticed this in in the kiddie park with my good friend’s little b…

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NEW YORK PART 2

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 31 August, 2010

Day One continued - Heading over to the Gersh agency I do feel quite proud of myself on the navigation skills. Thanks to years of learning my way around twisty London, the New York grid is a bit of a breeze – well not really, it’s still boiling! I’m able to take in some of the really lovely fountains and places where people sit and blog, eat, chat and generally take the load off Sally. So after my own moment of laptop zen I head into Gersh. This sparkling group was well worth the meet and again I feel a warm welcome. I round out the day …

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28 MONTHS LATER

by Jez Bond

Monday, 30 August, 2010

An early start today as associate director, Melli Bond, travelled to Heathrow airport bound for New York to meet with theatre companies and literary agents. Following her departure on the tube, Hazel (our Mastiff cross) and I went for a long walk. The streets of London were decidedly eerie. Traffic at 8am was almost non-existent and pedestrians were few and far between. It seemed more like a scene from ’28 Days Later’ than a typical bank holiday. Indeed, I rather felt it would the perfect setting for the sequel to the sequel (’28 Weeks Later’) and began…

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COMMENTS PLEASE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 27 August, 2010

The consultation period will soon be over and the council are keen to receive any feedback on our application. For those who haven’t already done so please consider taking two minutes to view and comment on the plans. You can do this online by clicking http://mytinyurl.net/9ea143 and entering application number P101570 to view. Then click ‘comment on this application’ to add your words of support. Alternatively you can send an email for the attention of Sarah Ricketts (the planning department case officer) quoting application number P101570 to: [email protected]

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A LONG DAY\'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 August, 2010

A little sad today – rather like the feeling you get when I production ends. However, no time to dwell. Tired. Just got in. Early start, late finish. Melli off to New York on Monday. Lots of meetings with theatres and literary agents planned. Very exciting. Emails, phone calls, texts to deal with – have to catch up with everything in the next couple of days…. About to sit down, eat and watch a friend’s film which just came through the door from Amazon.co.uk

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NEW BEGINNINGS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 25 August, 2010

Having digested last night’s post court meeting with Hardman Engineers, a relatively young company who seem to share our working ethos, I confirmed their appointment as our new structural engineers this lunchtime. I very much look forward to working with Paul Hardman and his colleagues and hope that the solutions they have suggested are ones that may, in the long run, save us considerable money. It’s always a hurdle to change horses in midstream but I feel we have made the right decision. On the 5th floor of the Old Bailey my fellow jurors – now &l…

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FOREMAN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 24 August, 2010

At 11.30am today we, the jury, were led into the deliberation room and asked to hand over our mobile phones. The door was locked behind us and we are left with our notes, the jury folders, the evidence (including two guns and a silencer) and a jug of water. We were not to leave the room until we had reached a verdict – and, appointed by my peers, I was asked to assume the role of foreman and chair our party to its conclusions. The judge had indicated to us that at this time, and until such time as he would say otherwise, a unanimous decision must be reached on this case.…

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THE FINAL SUMMING UP

by Jez Bond

Monday, 23 August, 2010

As those who have been following this blog will be aware, over the past few days I have been attending jury service and my comments have been somewhat split between the Old Bailey and The Park Theatre. Today’s blog is no exception… Following the incessant rain throughout last night, it was observed by our project manager, Jordan, that the water levels in our trial holes have risen substantially. I’ve often marveled at the beauty of rain on stage – but that’s always been the controlled variety, pumped around through pipe work. Eventuall…

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INNOCENT OR GUILTY?

by Jez Bond

Friday, 20 August, 2010

The past few days at the Old Bailey have been a fantastic experience. Sitting in a jury of my peers, I have listened to the defence and the prosecution argue their case, I have heard witnesses give evidence and watched defendants examined and cross examined in the witness box. Throughout the entire process, one thing has been obvious – that the tradition, the pomp and ceremony, the setting and the vernacular are each important contributions to the theatre of the court. Much like an audience in the circle of a playhouse, a congregation sit in the vie…

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DECISIONS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 August, 2010

Crunch time. Whilst a provisional structural scheme has been drawn it seems that the structural engineer himself is the only member of the design team not committed to our approach. Amongst other qualities, communication is vital and without it there can be no worthwhile working relationship. So some decisions to be made…

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THE JURY\'S OUT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 18 August, 2010

We have now received the structural steel scheme from our engineers. I am waiting for confirmation from Dave and Jordan that the documents are all in order – i.e. that there is sufficient and understandable information for us to get the structural steel element of the project accurately priced: note that structural engineers’ scribbles can be a little like doctors’ scrawl! What a fascinating day at court today. Pure theatre in the round. More on this anon but it’s been an extremely long day and I am heading out for a walk to clear my head.

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STEEL

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 17 August, 2010

If patience is a virtue then I am feeling pretty damn virtuous at the moment. For three weeks we have been promised the new structural steel designs and we’re still waiting! “Mr Penfold to the stage please, Mr Penfold to the stage.”

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IN COURT

by Jez Bond

Monday, 16 August, 2010

Over the next two weeks I am sitting on a jury at the Old Bailey and therefore the time I have available to spend on the theatre is limited. It’s a great shame that I can’t blog about my daily experiences in court but we are all obliged not to disclose any details of the case to anybody outside of the courtroom until after the event. So that particular drama will just have to wait. At lunchtime I heard from Dave Hughes that the council meeting with our planning officer and design officer concerning the facade went very well and that everybody is feeling positive ab…

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FIRST VIDEO COMPLETE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 13 August, 2010

A big meeting this morning at DSA, discussing the way forward for electrics, plumbing and drainage, central heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Jordan, our project manager, is coordinating a drain survey and a water pressure test the results of which will influence us as to the best course of action to take. Furthermore, in addition to the room data sheets, DSA would like us to produce a set of drawings with sockets etc drawn on so that they can work out circuit diagrams. Two weeks for us to do all we need, about two weeks for them to draw up all their schematic diagrams and then …

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AFTER THE DANCE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 12 August, 2010

I went to the National to see ‘After The Dance’ last night. Being a fan of Rattigan I enjoyed it tremendously, particularly the suicide! Oh that sounds terrible morbid, but I mean ‘dramatically’. The show was the hottest ticket in town, having sold out its entire run and having had huge return queues for the past two weeks. Yesterday was the last night and – thanks to Mr Julian McCready and his pals – I sneaked in to watch it from the lighting box. Hmm. I think that’s my first blog concerning a prior day. As I write every weekday it ne…

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CONSTRUCTION V. CREATION

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 11 August, 2010

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists” G K Chesterton [Say no more.]

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TETELESTAI...

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

Finally at 4pm today my hands lifted off the keyboard as the final touches to Draft 1 of the Room Data Sheets were completed. There are 47 columns and (across three sheets) 100 rows. So that’s 4,700 variables. Let’s just say that again – four thousand and seven hundred variables. That doesn’t include, of course, the structural works such as floor, wall, roof and ceiling build ups. As we progress things will change and the list will be adapted. But as a starting point it’s a mammoth achievement. Tetelestai…! Associate Director Mel…

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CAT5

by Jez Bond

Monday, 9 August, 2010

A technical learning curve today on the subject of CAT5 telephone, internet and network infrastructure. I wouldn’t say that I am a master by any means but, after having spoken to a number of extremely helpful companies, I am however aware of the basic workings of the systems and the options available to us. One particularly good discovery – which I suspected existed – was the use of telephone systems that handle multiple extensions without multiple lines. What I mean is this: where we are looking at having, say, one telephone number for admin related calls, w…

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AND MORE...

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 6 AUGUST, 2010

The following to be read in a dramatic ‘movie voice’: “4 white recessed double wall sockets 3 single telephone points with master plus auxiliaries on separate lines 2 double glazed clear partially opening roof lights with trickle vents 1 FD30 fire door with single vision panel, electro magnetic release, push release to exterior and fire breakout button In a world of construction comes a tale of one man… who went to work a theatre. He was a guy with a dream. But the dream was bigger than he ever imagined. When…

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CAN OF WORMS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 5 August, 2010

8 hours solid spent on the Room Data Sheets today. Not yet finished – hopefully by the end of the weekend. Now feeling like the more detail I go into, the more potential categories I uncover. Bit of a can of worms… but I’m bloody finishing this!

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ONE FOR THE PLANNERS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 4 August, 2010

It strikes me that with my various blogs alluding to the mountain of paperwork required to get through planning, the frustrations of having to conform to legislation and the difficulty of co-ordinating documents, I have almost entirely dismissed the planners. Deep within 222 Upper Street they sit, the patient few, leafing through our contribution to deforestation – a waste they neither desire nor like. We feel the weight of bureaucracy through them, but it is truly far further along the chain where the legislature which demands such excess of paperwork is created.

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STOP THE PRESS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 3 August, 2010

The planning application is in and the three extra documents requested are ready to send in order that the application can be validated. But just when we thought it was all over…! Of course it’s entirely our fault or let’s say our lack of experience that has led to a last minute change regarding opening times. Having only recently spoken to a number of other theatres across London specifically about this issue, we have been strongly advised to ensure that we are not conditioned, in planning terms, to close at 11pm. The fact is that there may well be a number…

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PYRENEES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 2 August, 2010

This morning brought an email confirming our charity status. I am delighted to announce that we are now a registered charity, number 1137223. It’s another step closer to the realisation of our dreams… I have been furiously emailing and calling councillors for most of the day, attempting to arrange face to face meetings with them ahead of our planning committee meeting. Whilst those councillors who sit on the planning committee must remain impartial, I am keen to share my ideas and passion for the project in person. The room data sheets need to be finish…

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iLIFE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 30 July, 2010

Heading back from the west end unusually early following the ninety minute musical ‘Wolfboy’ I sit on the tube to write the daily blog… Wearing about three different hats (metaphorically) every minute is precious and only due to modern technology can time on public transport be spent on emails, internet research, writing blogs and viewing documents. All this from the iPhone. When directing a show out in Hong Kong a few years ago I became a convert to ‘the leaky pipe’ – a method of retaining mobile telephone signals in their under…

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CATALOGUING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 29 July, 2010

A mixed day today, beginning with a review of some recent quotes – one for a tension wire grid, which I shall write much more about should we progress down this route. I then changed the blog template and photo – hence the new image (courtesy of Ben Jones, HJF) which graces the page. Melli and I have acquired a veritable library of plays yet, due to space restrictions, these will remain boxed up waiting to furnish the shelves in our office at The Park. So, amidst the usual emails and phone calls I aided Melli in her process of cataloguing everything. Like any direc…

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A DAY IN THE LIFE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010

In N4 all day, beginning with a meeting at Islington Community Theatre. Currently based in an office at The Pleasance, this young company, enthusiastically run by artistic director Ned Glasier, has quickly grown in scale over the past eighteen months. We shared plans with each other and discussed possible ways to link up over the coming years. On site I met with an established actor who had heard about our project through the cyber grapevine. After a short tour of the building we sat and discussed the theatre, our passions, our disappointments and hopes – all over a burg…

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A DAY IN SE1

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 27 July, 2010

After having spent an entire day yesterday in the company of Hughes and Jones (Farrell will have to wait) we repeated the formula today. As if a car journey to Stratford and back complete with gags about shingles, Mossad agents and Richard Griffiths wasn’t enough! At Hughes Jones Farrell’s offices in Southwark, Dave Hughes, aka D-Ave, (you really had to be in the car for that one) gave me a short induction to Vector Works and I completed the addition of door and window references to the floorplans, successfully managing not to destroy any walls, or indeed wipe out …

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THE RSC BOW

by Jez Bond

Monday, 26 July, 2010

Starting in Richmond at 10.30 am this morning, Ben Jones, Dave Hughes and I headed out west in Dave’s trusty volkswagen. Destination: Stratford-upon-Avon. Today was the eagerly awaited tour of the RSC’s £112 million renovated home. The project comprises of three theatre spaces  - the temporary ‘Courtyard Theatre’ which was built on the site of the former ‘The Other Place’  as a RST prototype and temporary home during the main build, the 1,000+ seat renovated RST (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, also known as the main house) and th…

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CHARITY REGISTRATION

by Jez Bond

Friday, 23 July, 2010

When I set up my first theatre company years ago, the paperwork associated with charity registration was more a formality than an examination process one needed to pass. It seems that times have changed and, as ever, being ‘new’ comes with a great number of hurdles and complications. Whether talking to the council about energy and sustainability, to the police about security, to the insurance company about the alarm system or to the charity commission in order to be granted charitable status it seems that things now are much harder than they ever were. The argument…

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THE NEVER ENDING STORY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 22 July, 2010

We are currently compiling a giant database which contains every build detail of every room. Beginning with a room reference number (such as LG.03) which relates to the floor plans we then enter the description of the room (such as Dressing Room 1) followed by a vast amount of information entered into various categories such as floor coverings, wall and ceiling finishes, lighting, power, sanitary-ware, windows, doors, door security and fixtures to name a few. It’s a very precise exercise and one that focusses us on putting everything exactly on paper. This throws up cons…

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A THEATRE POWERED BY HYDROGEN...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 21 July, 2010

This afternoon our architect, Ben Jones, travelled to Dalston to meet me for a tour of another theatre. I must confess it had been a long time since my last trip to the converted warehouse known as the Arcola – and since then I had developed an greater appreciation and understanding of their environmental policies. Sadly, due to the landlord reclaiming the piece of land where they stored their hydrogen cylinders, the fuel cell in the bar was for display purposes only. However David Salter, the technician, did say that they had just supplied the energy for the latitude festival and …

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A LANDMARK DAY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010

All rather quiet and no popping open bottles of champagne, but amidst chasing up our structural engineer, seeing more theatres and looking over quotes for seats and staging, the planning application has today been submitted to the council. A small landmark on a long journey, tainted in one sense by the knowledge that there are imminent tweaks and modifications – a result of both the London Fire Brigade input (which affects our licensing) and of some cost engineering solutions – but an achievement nonetheless. The best thing of all is the fact the date for the committee decisi…

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DR. THEATRE MEETS DR. APPLE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 19 July, 2010

There’s a well known phrase in theatre that no matter how unrehearsed something is or how unprepared the actors are for that last minute change, somehow when the audience arrive the show runs smoother than it ever did before: Dr Theatre comes to the rescue. It’s a sentiment shared by the character of Philip Henslowe played by Geoffrey Rush in Tom Stoppard’s ‘Shakespeare in Love’: “Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to i…

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LEVEL ONE COMPLETE!

by Jez Bond

Friday, 16 July, 2010

All documents and reports for planning have been printed off and submitted to Planning Perspectives who will submit the application to the council on Monday!

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A WORLDWIDE SHORTAGE OF LITTLE PEOPLE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 15 July, 2010

For the past couple of weeks, someone somewhere in London has been beavering away with bits of card and glue to create our 1:100 scale model of the building. The version being made is what we would call in the theatre a white card model – that is to say that it is without some of the more advanced features such as colour and texture. A fully featured ‘all bells and whistles’ model would take a considerably longer to make and  would result in considerable unnecessary expense – as the advantage of this version is that we will be able to play with the…

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THE FINAL COUNT DOWN

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 14 July, 2010

Still at work, not much more to tell. The hours of the clock have moved on so much so that they are the same now as they were when I wrote the last blog – yet the ‘to do’ list on my laptop has remained full to the brim. Once Friday has passed I shall be able to tackle some of the other tasks on the list. For now, onwards we go – towards Friday (sign off on all the reports from our planning consultants, Planning Perspectives) and Monday (their submission of the full application to Islington Council). After the acquisition of the building, this is second …

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THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

Tuesday and just three days until submission. There have been more emails flying around between the planning consultants and architects today than ever before. The rush to make the deadline is on – all the documents need to proofed and changed and proofed again, every policy needs to addressed with an appropriate response and aside from removing the typos and sorting out stray formatting the many documents need to be consistent in their wording and references. With all this running in the background, the marketing document from property agents Dron & Wright went miss…

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THE SEVENTH AND A HALF FLOOR

by Jez Bond

Monday, 12 July, 2010

Today we were privileged to have undertaken a tour of yet another theatre – I will tot them all up in a future blog but with the Arcola and RSC coming up we must be approaching double figures. I don’t wish to put down any theatre, not least one that has obviously struggled so long and hard to pull together the finances to equip itself and open its doors. But it has to be said that this was not the best designed by any means. I think, when one looks at these buildings, one must try to compare like for like. That is to say the facilities of a 300 seater are not expec…

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DR ARCHITECT

by Jez Bond

Friday, 9 July, 2010

Three years ago we moved in to our new home, a run down pokey one bedroom ground floor garden flat. To say that decor hadn’t changed since the seventies might perhaps be a little too kind. You couldn’t eat off any surfaces in the kitchen and using the shower was not a pleasant experience. The carpet was home to a number of creatures, most of whom would come out at night. This was our dream home! The plan was to gut the property, build a back extension and a side return, re-wire, re-plumb, re-plaster, landscape the garden, erect a fence and then, well&hel…

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THE HEAT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 July, 2010

Stuck indoors on this glorious day, hidden behind the blinds of our window – keeping cool Spanish style – I have been proofing planning reports. We’ve had some interesting discussions about air conditioning over the past few weeks but the conclusion seems to be that green air conditioning is somewhat of an oxymoron. Whilst there are some interesting advances the technology is either not yet tried and tested, far too expensive or not appropriate for the (smaller) scale of our site. It’s on days like this that I am reminded of our debates &ndas…

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FINSBURY ART

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 7 July, 2010

A fantastic meeting with Kate Jones of John Jones today. We met at her site and I embarked on a fascinating tour of the building. The immense amount of detailed work and craftsmanship that goes into the creation of a frame is quite magical. From the warehouse where the raw wood comes in to the room where it is cut and then sanded, from the custom made metal teeth that sit in their machines to carve out intricate edgings to the paint room where sprays and finishes are applied, it truly is a wonderland of creativity. It was in the gilding area where I found myself most intrigued and as I e…

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DON\'T CONFUSE YOUR F&B WITH YOUR M&E

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 6 July, 2010

It was in conversation with my father earlier today that the title of today’s blog was coined – after he asked me “what’s F and B?” It simply serves to highlight the sheer amount of bizarre information currently sloshing around in my head – I think sloshing is a fairly good word; it implies that there is enough room in there to move around and that therefore there is the ability to absorb more. At least this is what I hope as, having said this, I do sometimes feel a little like Johnny Mnemonic – or some other such science fiction creat…

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SPAMALOT

by Jez Bond

Monday, 5 July, 2010

News update: This morning our newsletter was had delivered to 600 local residents and businesses. This evening it has been emailed to our mailing list – which is increasing day by day. If you are reading this and you have not subscribed please send an email with your postal address to: info[the 'at' sign]parktheatre.co.uk I have encrypted the email above as recently we have been receiving a few spam mails – and even some spam comments on the blog. With my adequate knowledge of computers I understand how this is achieved – by some…

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THE WEEKEND

by Jez Bond

Saturday, 3 July, 2010

Contrary to my previous post on the strange phenomenon of the Monday to Friday week, today and tomorrow are proving to be the exception to the rule. At long last a weekend! Dare I say the words “without any work on the theatre”? No, for come midnight tomorrow that will certainly prove to be a lie and this artistic director does not wish to turn into a pumpkin!

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PAPERWORK AND A NEW LIFE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 2 July, 2010

We have been preparing the vast number of documents which, along with the various existing and proposed plans and sections, will form our planning submission to Islington council. I have been focussing on the ‘Applicant’s Statement’ and ‘Management Statement’ which, among other things, explain the rationale behind the project – why, who, what, when and where. In partnership with Hughes Jones Farrell (our architects), Planning Perspectives, our planning consultants, have been instrumental both in writing many of the relevant docume…

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ONE TESCO AINT GONNA CHANGE THE WORLD!

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 1 July, 2010

Kate Jones, of John Jones the framers, and I discussed meeting up next week to explain to each other our plans. It feels like we’ve hit gold in terms of the timing of the project. John Jones are developing their space with a new extended gallery and student housing which will be home to a host of young people attending the University of the Arts London – a huge organisation which includes colleges such as Central Saint Martins, who turn out great set designers every year. There must be some exciting ways in which we can work together! On top of this, the so-called ‘Twin…

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WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 30 June, 2010

An exciting day today as we have appointed our first ever writer-in-residence…. Sarah Rutherford is an actor and writer. With a degree in English from Oxford University, she pursued a career as an arts journalist alongside a PhD on black farce in Jacobean and 1960s theatre, before training as an actor. Her professional acting credits include popular drama series such as Murphy’s Law, Casualty and The Royal as well as theatre work in the West End and beyond. Her first play, What You Do To People, was recently showcased at the Hampstead Theatre. Sarah is …

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SOUND ENGINEERING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 29 June, 2010

An exciting meeting on site today with our sound engineers, Orbital. We spent considerable time talking through the various sound requirements of the building – a task far more complex than it might first appear… For those among you thinking ‘what happened to a couple of speakers and a bit of cable’ (or perhaps a tin can and a piece of string) read on. For a start there are two theatres that need seperate communication within each space (a mixture of wired and wireless headsets) with three dressing rooms that need to recieve show relays (an …

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SOCIAL MEDIA

by Jez Bond

Monday, 28 June, 2010

Today has been spent on social media. Our Facebook group has been set up and all known interested parties have been invited. There are photos currently posted and more will follow. There will also be some video in the coming weeks. Our website has been updated with a new link to the facebook group. We’ve had a good response so far and a number of local community groups have asked for material for their website. Hopefully things will be posted within the next dew days. Furthermore, on viewing the photos one organisation asked about using some of the joists we had removed …

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NEWSLETTER

by Jez Bond

Saturday, 26 June, 2010

Despite the soaring temperatures outside and the roaring and whistling of the World Cup in the air, we have been drafting our newsletter today. It should be ready and available early next week – and will be distributed to local residents and businesses. If you would like a copy then please send us an email and we will send you one…

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STUDIO THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 25 June, 2010

Despite the huge enjoyment of talking about structural steel, disproportionate collapse and the benefits of gas combi boilers – and no, I do not jest – the fact remains that talking about sightlines, seat sizes and the layout of the theatres is what really gets my heart pumping. Today we received a mock-up of four different configurations for the studio: traditional ‘end on’, traverse, ‘L shaped’/two sides and ‘in the round’. They enable a capacity of between 75 and 82 seats. This is now a firm starting point and from …

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PAPERLESS FILING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 June, 2010

A day of catchup. Tens of business cards from the last few weeks, piles of papers from the past conference days, an assortment of unfiled documents on the desktop. Today everything was catalogued and tidied. I can’t stand clutter but very ocassionally things appear faster than you can deal with them. Why did one contractor send me a quote in the post – costing him a stamp, an envelope, the paper and the printing plus a trip to the post box? Infuriating as all I wanted was an e-copy for my computer files and I explicitly asked for this! Aside from the waste to him, …

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EVENTFUL

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 June, 2010

After removing myself from the turmoil at Victoria station this morning, I headed to Finsbury Park by bus. A far more pleasant, though considerably longer, way to to travel. On site we met with a number of contractors, stepping ever closer to our goal of starting the build. This afternoon a fruitful meeting at the architects’ studio concluded with an agreement on the way forward over the next few weeks. Some value engineering will invariably need to be done but the good decision was made to continue to planning submission irrespective of any tweaks that may follow. It&rs…

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STRUCTURAL henGINEERING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 22 June, 2010

This morning began with our associate director and I taking a trip to nearby Poole’s Park Primary School. The headmaster of the school, Greg Crawford, and Mark Tinkler, the artistic director of Music Platform (whose offices are based within the school), showed us around their impressive drama facilities. Like Mark, who creates exciting projects with his opera company, Greg is passionate about theatre. He is also a green enthusiast and, as we walked over their roof, talked about their vast installation of solar panels. After a walk through the garden and a look at the vegetables tha…

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FORGIVE US, DAVE HUGHES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 21 June, 2010

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the term – and just a few months ago I would have put myself into that category – the words ‘scheme freeze’ refer to the time in a design when the plans are set and no further changes can be made. In reality the smaller details can continue to be tweaked but the key areas – for example anything which affects the fire, access or acoustic strategies or which redefines the scale of any extension – remain fixed. It is, therefore, with the combined cheekiness and nervousness of a schoolboy that I have proc…

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THE WEEKEND

by Jez Bond

Saturday, 19 June, 2010

Inevitaby, whether speaking with friends or business associates, the question of what one is doing for the weekend will arise. As anyone who works for themself will know, the weekend is a curious phenomenon. For most it means a two day break from the 9 to 5, a time to sip a beer and watch the game, to enjoy a long Sunday roast and, yes, sometimes catch up on those household chores which have been piling up from 5 days at the office. For those self-employed or running their own company however, the weekend is as much a misnomer as the 9 to 5 day. Furthermore the atmosphere in the creative…

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ON SITE MEETINGS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 18 June, 2010

‘Giving the tour’ involves starting with the plans in the site office upstairs and then doing a walk through the building – on your right the box office, straight ahead the outside wall of the theatre, above you the glazing to the atrium and please mind the swimming pool to your left (the astute among you should be able to deduce to what that refers). If I had a penny for every time I did this… I’d have about thirty pence. Today I showed round a number of actors, a set designer and other interested colleagues. For me it’s always exciting and I don&rsq…

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ABTT TRADE SHOW

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 June, 2010

The ABTT trade show’s here, come try a seat, come sip a a beer there’s flip seats, a retracting tier, your questions answered, have no fear The multitude of gadgetry, displayed for all the hoards to see The exhibition filled with glee, with hardly any boundary The fuel cell powered by hydrogen, the rig that takes the weight of men The lead time’s long – you want it when? Here take a biscuit, have a pen. The point hoist sliding on its beam, the curtains; black or red – or cream They …

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THE WORLD WIDE HEADACHE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 June, 2010

It’s so convenient when things are running smoothly in one’s online technological world but god how frustrating when the system collapses! I continually teach myself computer skills at the eleventh hour – see our new RSS feed today. Given a dedicated amount of time and google at your fingertips there’s not much you can’t decipher. When our server went down this morning I began to piece together a recovery strategy. But WordPress, RSS, Twitter and website templates are one thing – synching multiple imap email accounts with computers and iphones and a cr…

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ITEAC 3

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 June, 2010

Day 3 and another few hours of listening, learning and – in the case of ‘Horizontal motion on stage’ – gasping in amazement! The front door, attended one of our architects, Ben Jones, gave an insight into the requirements and desires for front of house areas tackling issues from acoustics of foyers through to spaces for concession stands (for merchandise). In ‘The total cost of ownership’ a number of principles and strategies were put forward regarding asset management. It was clear that taking the time and care to design a buildi…

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ITEAC 2

by Jez Bond

Monday, 14 June, 2010

Day 2 of the ITEAC proved to spark even more debate. In ‘Getting sound into auditoria’ answers to the various questions of sound design, however, were far more unanimous than the previous day’s session on acoustics. The sound position within the auditorium (and ‘within’ being the key) was deemed of critical importance and one sound designer also highlighted the need for correctly positioned speakers: “it is better to have low quality speakers in good positions than high quality speakers in bad positions” Interestingly this echoed something that w…

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ITEAC 1

by Jez Bond

Sunday, 13 June, 2010

Day 1 of the ITEAC or ‘International Theatre Engineering & Architecture Conference’ ended with a superb boat ride down the Thames from Westminster pier past the O2 and along to the Thames barrier – and, thankfully, back again! There must surely be a joke about how many theatre consultants you can fit onto a boat but, as the time fast approaches midnight, I can’t think of one. My head is spinning from an array of the day’s sessions and with an 8.30am start in the morning I am destined for the comfort of dreamland. However, having promised to write a littl…

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HELLO WORLD!

by Jez Bond

Friday, 11 June, 2010

Welcome to the ridiculously exciting world of building a theatre…

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