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Diary: Bit nippy for nude hippies

The cast of Hair at the Vaults, London. Photo: Claire Bilyard.

Anyone who has to perform in front of large numbers of people on a regular basis will know that it is very easy to be overwhelmed by anxiety. Stage fright and nerves can get the better of you. The best way to cope, Tabard finds, is to follow that old bit of advice and picture the punters in their birthday suits.

There’s something so silly about the idea of hundreds of people letting it all hang out that instantly calms the nerves. As the lurid gaggle of grisettes sing in Les Mis: “Poor men, rich men, leaders of the land / see them with their trousers off, they’re never quite as grand.”

Well no such coping mechanisms were required for cast members in the 50th anniversary production of hippy musical Hair this week. In the spirit of the original production – which was one of the first to feature full-frontal onstage nudity, and sparked outrage back in the day – the show decided to hold a ‘clothing optional’ performance [1].

Tabard had doubts that anyone would actually take them up on the offer, but sure enough some brave audience members, with disregard for any shrivelling or shrinkages brought about by the nippy November air, bared it all.

Writing on Twitter after the event, cast member Andy Coxon described the performance as “surprisingly normal”. Still, you won’t find Tabard ‘letting the sunshine in’ any time soon, and certainly not in winter.

Read our review of the production at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester [2]

Send stories to tabard@thestage.co.uk [3]