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Chris Grady: Do you want to be part of a noble twitterati?

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Firstly – thank you to all our twitter followers @theatreroyalbse and my followers @chrisgrady for getting behind the amazing sprint to get Russell Brand on last night. I blogged about the process. It was a sellout. It was a great night. It made great money for Focus12 in Bury St Edmunds – and amidst a packed set he even had time to call Noel Gallagher on his mobile. Love it. Mr Gallagher, do shout if you’d like to pop to the Theatre Royal and do a fundraiser – but can we have more than 30mins notice!!.

But now – here’s a challenge. In earlier blogs I talked about our twitter dress rehearsals (Stagefright was the last one in February).  Next week Wed 12th Sept is the dress rehearsal for our production of Mansfield Park and we will welcome around 15 twitterati (experts in the gentle art of twitter, who have each a reasonable network of followers) and we will invite them to watch the dress rehearsal, and join in a conversation about the creation of great drama.

They are not critics. We will be welcoming our experienced regional theatre critics a few days later to explore the production, the writing, the creative process and their reactions. We will have previewed the show, and the actors will be ready to show the work for critical comment.  Our twitterati are different – they are part of the process, exploring with us the magic (and occasional chaos) of theatre.  The dress may go wrong,  it may need to stop for a technical adjustment, the director may be furiously scribbling pages of notes,  the sound designer may be hiding behind a speaker, and the marketing team may be going “oh blimey, that’s what the show’s about…they never told us there was an xxxx in the show”.

So what will they send out into the twittersphere.  We don’t know. It's risky and scary.  They could write 140 characters that put people off. They might give away a crucial secret plot point.  Or…they might come up with pithy and wonderful observations which deserve to be spread to potential audiences in Bath (where the show opens on tour), or Eastbourne, Oxford, Basingstoke and beyond.

If you have time on Wed evening between 7.30pm and 10pm, why not tune in to twitter and have a look at #mansfieldparkbse. See what people are saying, ask questions, expand the discussion to your followers. We’d love to see you as part of this experiment in reaching a new audience with Tim Luscombe’s adaptation of Mansfield Park, directed by Colin Blumenau.  Hopefully it will spur you on to find the nearest date on the tour and come and enjoy it for yourself.

I can’t wait for Wednesday night – but first we get to see a last run in the Guildhall rehearsal room tomorrow, and see how the play has shaped and changed since we saw the reading 2 weeks ago.

Catch up with you, dear reader, next Wednesday evening.

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