I want to tell you about a rather exclusive society – one in which even the most important members may not know about. It's the THREE STEPS BEHIND CLUB. This illustrious but very understated society was officially formed about ten years ago when Dame Judi Dench came to the building site of the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick to officially declare that the mud and foundations were good. She drove a yellow digger, and made a lovely speech, and cheered everyone who had worked tirelessly to bring a new future to the site of the old Blue Boxes which had been the Century Theatre in Keswick.
The club was formed by 5 people who, unexpectedly found themselves standing to the side of the main proceedings, each holding a golf umbrella, each observing the golden chains of office and the smart suits of power being cheered for their work in bringing a dream to (nearly) a reality. There was the old theatre's house manager, the theatre's tec man who used to be a theatre tec manager, the theatre's box office person, a young fundraiser, and me. We were out of the picture, but available. We could keep the stars glittering despite the rain – because we had the umbrellas.
At that time, quietly in whispers, we formed a secret society. We nominated ourselves a Patron – although he doesn't know it – HRH Prince Philip, and we declared that all theatre House Managers would be immediately a member of the club.We were the THREE STEPS BEHIND CLUB. We were there at the important occasions, making it run smoothly, but you would never see us.
I was reminded this weekend when Joanna Lumley came to do a fundraiser at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds (god bless her, she was stunning, brilliant and she is amazing – she carries her fame lightly, and uses it wisely…and she made us £11k towards our annual fundraising target of £200k in one evening). For the evening I was there. I poured a little wine. I welcomed some guests. I helped to sort out changes of plans. I popped on stage at the end to give a gift to Sir Jeremy Issacs (our host for the evening). Noone needed to know I was there, because nothing went wrong. I was reminded that I was a proud founding member of the THREE STEPS BEHIND CLUB.
Next time you go to the Theatre, or a major event, just look out for the Members of this august body.You'll spot them. They may not even know they are members.You don't need to say anything, just enjoy the evening.And remember that every time there is a star on stage, or a spectacle to cheer, or an orchestra to adore, there are also a few members of the THREE STEPS BEHIND CLUB just there to make sure everything goes right for you, and the star.Enjoy your theatre – safe in the knowledge the TSBC is there