Director’s Diary: Anything Goes

AGPOSTERFINALRos Bell, director of DULOG’s upcoming show ‘Anything Goes’, gives Palatinate access to excepts from the diary she has kept throughout the production process.



I forget how many talented people there are in Durham. On the one hand it’s really exciting, but then again we’ve actually got to make a decision in a few days’ time!

Auditions are always fun (well, for the prod. team maybe!) – It’s great to hear so many talented singers and see so much good acting and dancing. There are some people who are a bit scary! Either they’re crazily talented (and so intimidating, even from the other side of the table) or they’re a bit… well… intense!

Wow… some of these decisions are going to be so hard… There are some parts which I think I’ve seen someone who’ll be perfect – I’ve got a gut feeling about some of them! But there are loads still that could easily be played by anyone who’s called back! How do you choose? I’m excited to see how people perform at call-backs – I think we’ve called back a really strong group, which is good but is going to make the decisions really hard! It’ll all depend on the call-back audition I guess.



That was really tough. It was so hard to choose, and I’m really sad that we had to disappoint people… But ultimately I’m really happy with our cast and I know that everyone we’ve cast will be great – some of them gave me actual goose bumps when they sang! I’m really excited to get started now.


Meet the cast/read-through:

We’ve just had our first introduction/read-through thing! It was so nice to introduce everyone and to properly get to know them. Everyone’s really excited to get going. The read through is hilarious – the show is really funny! Everyone seems to be gelling really nicely. We have a really lovely (and talented) cast – I’m really excited to start properly. I think the show is going to be great.


Rehearsals (Michaelmas term):

–        So rehearsals have started properly now. We’ve managed to block through a lot of the scenes, and cover a good few principal solos. Unfortunately everyone’s so busy so it’s really hard to schedule rehearsals with everyone at. Hopefully we’ll be able to get more people at rehearsals.

–        We’re still really struggling to get all people at rehearsals. So many other commitments! It’s really frustrating because there’s only so much that we can do when we don’t have everyone. It’s pretty hard work. With all the rehearsals and all the other stuff going on right now I have absolutely no free time!

–        I’m quite worried we’re not going to get everything done… we’ve blocked all the scenes (although some people have still been missing so they don’t know what they’re doing). We’ll have to go over those scenes once we have everyone in AG week. We’ve also done all the singing quite a few times… I think people have got the songs down – hopefully they’ll remember them after the holidays! We just need to get the dancing done… but that’s really hard with people missing rehearsals. Why is everyone so busy?

–        I’m looking forward to AG week… I just want everyone to be here and be committed to just this so we can get it done! Having said that, I can’t wait for Christmas – I’m really looking forward to having a break – I think everyone needs the holiday! And we’ve told everyone that they HAVE to learn their lines and songs by the time they come back… so hopefully that’ll happen – we’ll see!


AG Week:

–        Day 1 – Started with principals singing rehearsals – they all sound so good and they know all their songs. Although seemingly everyone was ill over Christmas so there are quite a few croaky voices.We’ll have to rest them up so they’re better in time for the show!

–        Day 2 – First day with everyone – We managed to recap the blocking of all the scenes in order. The show is really taking shape! And EVERYONE knows all their lines! I’m so impressed with how hard they’ve worked over the holidays… I really didn’t think people would actually be off book – I’m so pleased! And we finished the recapping early so we managed to squeeze in a run of all the scenes in the show (without the songs)! Everyone was practically word perfect and they needed very little prompting for remembering the order of the scenes! I’m so impressed, and can’t stop smiling!

–        Day 3 – A dance day! We managed to learn/polish loads of the small duet numbers and one big chorus number. We’re really doing so well and are on schedule! We’re in a really good place for our first full run on Thursday morning!

–        Day 4 – The second of our intensive dance days. Everyone’s really tired today but they all have a really positive attitude (did I mention how lovely our cast are?!). We managed to completely finish and polish the two biggest numbers in the show today, plus the other 2 small numbers. I’m so impressed with the dancing – I certainly couldn’t do it but everyone makes it look effortless. With a week to go to opening night we’re in a really good place. I’m so excited for the rest of the week, and I think the cast are too – they’re getting confidence in the show which is so important and really lovely to see as a director.


Obviously we still have rehearsals to go but I think it’s going to be really good! If it’s like this now, imagine how it’ll be in another week! It’ll be great when we start doing full runs so we can just focus on properly polishing everything.


See ‘Anything Goes’ at the Gala Theatre, 19:30, 13th –  17th, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 14:30.

Image: Jen Bullock

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