Schools, black paint and varnish

Once again I kick off the blog with apologies for the long gap since the last one.  As the title suggests my weeks have been filled with the school tour with Cat’s Paw Theatre and the weekends with painting and varnishing the theatre.  Both in their way as necessary as each other to Mr Alexander’s on-going survival.

The schools work, along with my newly acquired pension, has meant that for the first time ever, in all my life, it really looks as though I shall survive through the winter without going into overdraft.  You don’t know how pleased I am about that.  Winters have been a horrible financial struggle, especially the last few.  I think I have become more of a worrier as I have aged so perhaps it’s just that I am more aware of such things now than I was in my youth and middle age.  I certainly check my bank account now more often than I have ever done and I now have several spreadsheets all with income and expenditure details on them. I know, saddo. I would never have done that as a young man.  But this excellent news, along with not having to use my credit card for everyday stuff, means a much more well-tempered Mr A than in previous years. Bookings have been creeping in and despite the fact that there are probably too many one day stands then I would like (it’s a tiring business setting up and pulling down and doing three shows in a day) the 2015 diary page of the website ( is looking healthier than a month ago.  As I am not going into the season desperate for cash it also means I can be just a little choosier about the gigs I do accept.  One of the advantages to being a showman pensioner.  Sorry I wont mention it again.

The Cat’s Paw work has also been most engaging.  More than ever teachers tell us that the subject of sexual consent and issues surrounding it are real problems for our young people.  Parents think the schools should be doing it and schools think the same about the parents and the result is that many young people are growing up without the clarity that only straight information, taught sympathetically, can give.  And that’s what we do.  Two hours of engaging theatre and facts about the issue, lots of active engagement in discussion and lively debate and exciting electronic interaction with our new clicker/voting pads.  It’s exciting and ‘state-of-the-art’ and I’m very proud to be part of it.  If ever you’d like to see it live, do let me know.  We welcome visitors and it is fascinating, even though I would say that, wouldn’t I?  The new presentation for 16+ on the same issue which we have been doing for sixth forms and colleges is still being worked in but should be equally strong before too long.  Later this month we will hear whether the Welsh Government is to sponsor the project for another year, and the signals are positive, but of course it is government funding and we are a theatre company so there’s nothing very sure in that combination.

The DVD develops apace.  The final edit is booked for the week after next and I am almost finished with the design of the insert and the cover. I am very pleased with progress.  It should all be ready for the end of April and our launch and World Premiere on April 25th at the Corn Exchange Theatre in Wallingford.  ( It would be great to see you there but tickets are beginning to sell so if you want a good seat book now.

And the rest is black paint and varnish.  Which in its way is therapeutic and relaxing.  I can listen to Radio 4 and think about all manner of things as I review the state of each one of thousands of items; flats, props and fittings which make up the stage and my performance life.  Each piece has its story to tell and if I listen it can keep me fascinated for hours.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander