Sometimes, you've got to wonder how they do it. The ballet dancers, the orchestras, the actors, singers, directors and conductors - what does it take to get them into the state we see them in for the final product? Are there hissy fits, tiaras and tantrums or lots of tea breaks and group hugs after each scene is rehearsed? Open Rehearsal is the weekend to find out and be as nosey as you like with the blessing of Ken Livingstone.
Ken's big plan last year was to open rehearsals of major London arts institutions to the public to grant access to the great and the good, for free, and to offer a rare glimpse behind the scenes. Building on the success of Open Rehearsal 2006, the original list of the Barbican, South Bank, Wigmore Hall, Dance Umbrella and a handful of commercial and non-commercial theatres has expanded for 2007.
It's a really full programme of rehearsals and backstage insights and with a little organisation, the keener among you can take in all the major shows, productions, concerts and recitals that London has to offer, completely for free and without the jostling at the bar or the aggressive crowds of the West End at theatre opening time. Also, the chance to see big stars fluff their lines, fall over, drop their instruments, walk into scenery and lose their tempers during lighting / sound / costume malfunctions is just too good to miss.
The Barbican Centre and South Bank are good places to see a little bit of everything as these venues will allow access to classical concerts, theatre, dance and the less well-known parts of the building itself. Dance Umbrella and individual theatres are a good bet for specific performances or companies you want to see but can never get tickets for normally. Otherwise, pick what you want to see by building and have a snoop around the venues you've never entered before but have always wanted to have a wander around. It's all free, it's all open, go forth and enjoy.
Open Rehearsal at various venues, Thursday 27 September to Tuesday 3 October. For more information and the full programme of events, go to the Open Rehearsal weekend website here.