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Stage managers’ notes turned into humorous book

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Rogue props, actors’ flatulence and people ‘snogging’ in the audience are the subjects of a new book dedicated to the mishaps recorded in stage managers’ reports.

David Ward, the literary consultant at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, has compiled a booklet featuring extracts of stage managers’ reports from the 2011 season at the venue. Reading the reports, Ward discovered a mine of theatrical anecdotes, as well as notes about lighting and sound issues.

One extract reads: “Mr Ingles was suffering from uncontrollable flatulence during Act I Scene 1, which was both audible enough to be heard in the wings and aromatic enough to be smelt by the front row of the audience.”

Bizarre comments listed in the book, entitled Noisy Owls and Dead Nuns, include the note that “Mr Macqueen” has been put “on the naughty step” and that a “hippo head ended up in [the] audience”.

Ward said: “I was in the office one day and I saw a show report, which was the one about an actor having flatulence, and I laughed and I thought, ‘What are these things?’

“They are all written in a formal style with ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ – the traditional theatre style – but some were also beautifully laconic. So I gathered them together and then the idea came for a slim book – the aim would be to make people laugh and also to raise money for the theatre.”

After the costs of printing the booklet have been covered, all proceeds will go to the Theatre by the Lake. Ward said he hoped it would be dedicated to new writing development at the venue. Copies can be ordered through Theatre by the Lake.

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