Being prompt…

… or if you’d rather the more PC term, ASM (Assistant Stage Manager for short).

We are currently rehearsing a play for our summer production – A Life in the Theatre by David Mamet. It has 2 actors and 26 scenes which means, from the prompt’s point of view, a whole heck of a lot of line learning!

And it’s not easy dialogue. Lots of mms and ahs and yeses. And the conversation is not really telling a story it is a display of the ebbs and flows in a relationship between two men.

I’m glad I don’t have to learn it!


Which makes the fact that these two blokes are more or less pretty much book down six weeks from opening night all the more impressive.

Yes, they are stumbling here and there, but still, they’ve had pages and pages of fairly uninteresting conversation to learn and well… I’m in awe!

Well done, chaps!


Prompting can be a pretty thankless task and at times you do feel like banging your head against a brick wall, but it is all worth it in the end when they get through a run through of the play without needing a prompt.

That is what being prompt boils down to – the less you are needed the better.

The big bonus of being prompt – for me anyway – is that, because I have no creative responsibility then I can just quietly watch the production come together as the weeks go by.

Don’t get me wrong, in this little society we all chip in with ideas all the time, but when prompting the creative success of the play is not resting on my shoulders like it does when I am acting or directing or stage managing.

It is not a job I would want all the time, because I like getting my hands dirty and being creatively involved, but to do it occasionally is great fun.

And it also reminds we what being prompt is like, to bear that in mind when I am acting and on the receiving end of some barb or other!



a sad farewell … until we meet again

The community theatre society I belong to suffered a great loss this week.

One of our dearest and longest standing active members passed away after a short lived battle with cancer.

He was the one and only Jim Grove.


A soul that shone bright with a fierce sense of the right way to do things. It applied to everything from securing a flat to the stage, to how to stock the theatre bar, and even as far as running the country. Whatever was going on should be done right.

A gentle and extremely kind man.

A generous man with both his time and his ideas, and everything.

A man who twinkled with enthusiasm when something took his fancy. Be it a set that challenged his set-building skills, or a political idea, or something to do with his allotment. Jim twinkled when he liked or agreed with something.

I could go on for hours and I only new him in a theatre capacity. He was a man with a family of several children and grand children. He had a professional life before retirement. He had a great many facets and talents.

Jim Grove was one of those rare things: a man of deep rooted decency and a gentleman.

He is a man I am proud to have known, and prouder still to have been able to call a friend.

Good bye, or rather, au revoir … may you rest in peace.