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Sylvia Addison, West End Orchestral Contractor

Sylvia Addison (c) Rankin

What has the journey been like to get back to theatres opening for you? 

So, for me, I had an entire year off not doing anything other than cooking and walking, et cetera. And came back in May 2021 with Sleepless, which was the first thing that opened at The Troubadour. Then the Les Misérables staged concert which opened and closed. And then, generally speaking, I really came back with The Shows Must Go On!, which opened to the Palace Theatre this week and that was very emotional coming back, seeing all the musicians. I also did Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Suits, which we did at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane, an 85 Piece Orchestra on the stage before Frozen came in, which was extremely emotional for everyone concerned; Andrew, all the musicians, all the sound guys, and myself. And then we went into overlapping shows coming back; different productions, old productions which became new productions because each one had a production period, new band calls. And so, there was a lot of overlap, a lot of sleepless nights. But the end result is that it’s fantastic that we’re now seeing people coming back to the theatre. Our life is not yet normal, but it’s getting there. 

What’s it like being back for you? 

It’s been absolutely manic, absolutely manic. If… as you can see, I do several shows, so each one needs my attention. It’s just been constant. It’s been brutal, actually. But the end result is that you know, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. It will all be smooth sailing. 

What did you miss most about live performance? 

Oh, I missed… I missed hearing music. And I mean, lots of Zoom calls and lots of streaming et cetera et cetera. But there’s nothing like live performance. And also, the musicians support this stage in the theatre, and so there’s that camaraderie and the balance between stage and pit. And so, I missed that.