Pete writes for theatre newsletter

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed Aug 12 01:52:09 UTC 2009

>From The Herald (Plymouth, U.K.):

Rock legend writes TRAC for Theatre
Tuesday, August 11, 2009, 17:00
IT'S not often that a huge rock star writes for a newsletter, but that's what Pete Townshend of The Who has done.
After a chance meeting during rehearsals for the musical Quadrophenia, Pete agreed to talk to TRAC Record, the quarterly journal of the Theatre Royal Applause Club.
Having been invited to view a rehearsal of Quadrophenia at TR2, the superb rehearsal and technical facilities for the Theatre Royal, Jeanette Nicholls, the chairman of TRAC, met Pete and told him that TRAC had contributed significantly to the building fund for TR2.
She asked him for a quote for the newsletter, but he offered to write something which arrived within two days.
Pete said he had known the theatre and its chief executive Adrian Vinken for some time, and had worked for more than five years to bring Quadrophenia to the stage. 
He said: "I knew that the theatre had a tradition of launching inventive new productions, and that the theatre itself, and the community of Plymouth, provided a healthy and supportive climate in which to test new work. What I did not know was how incredible are the rehearsal stages, scenery docks, design and wardrobe rooms at the new TR buildings opposite the yacht haven by the water.
"In 1992 I developed Tommy for the theatre with its director Des McAnuff (now more famous for Jersey Boys). This would not have been possible but for the beautiful and potent facilities of the La Jolla Playhouse in the relatively wealthy and supportive climate of the San Diego University of California. I remember thinking at the time that only The National had similar power in the UK, and what a pity it was that I would probably never get to launch Quadrophenia with such wonderful facilities.
"In Plymouth those facilities are available, and we have used them to the maximum. TR2 is a very large rehearsal stage with natural light, a view of the water that does not distract (unless you want it to), supported by workshops and expert technicians of all kinds, an incredible wardrobe department, excellent and very fattening catering, easy parking and access and two smaller stages of equal style, with lovely level dancing floors.
"All the time I have been working there I have had the pleasure of seeing young people rolling in and out on educational programmes, all of them glancing sideways at what is going on in TR2 where actors only a few years older than they are singing and dancing like young gods.
"The whole building vibrates with hope and excitement.
"The work done by the local community to get these supporting TR facilities established will help my show to fly, and I will always be grateful for their vision as well as their funding and fund-raising. I so hope that by return some of you will enjoy my noisy show.
"One thing some of you might have missed when you first put your shoulders behind this fabulous new TR facility is that it must have freed up time, space and resources at the Theatre Royal itself.
"It will thus have tightened the focus on what is the proper function of any great theatre: to help us all become gods for a moment in our seats, entertained in our leisure by the efforts of all those back-room boys and girls who labour daily down where the tide rolls in and out all day reminding us that time is passing.
"You are very lucky in Plymouth, but part of that luck has been of your own making – congratulations."
TRAC hosts welcome receptions for visiting productions and at the Quadrophenia night Pete Townshend met members.
TRAC runs a number of Face to Face mornings, in the Pennon Room, every third Saturday of the month between 11am and noon where company members are interviewed and then answer questions from the audience.
Jeanette said: "These are very informal but it is a good opportunity to find out more about the show, the guests' careers and sometimes the gossip."
TRAC's main aim is to raise money for specific projects in the Theatre Royal. Since 2000 TRAC has give £100,000 towards TR2, (which attracted additional Lottery funding of £300,000), £130,000 towards the refurbishment of the auditorium and £45,000 to the Creative Learning Department for their work with young people and schools.
TRAC members get discounts on tickets, priority booking, discounted tea and coffee and 10 per cent off food from Café Cuisine.
For more information about joining TRAC, visit

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month! 


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