My first trip to the Nottingham Playhouse was due to going to see Romeo and Juliet this month. The playhouse is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has some fantastic shows coming up to celebrate this. The playhouse is situated in Wellington Circus, just over the road and round a corner from the furthest end of Upper Parliament Street. Finding the playhouse was a little tricky though as I didn't know where it was exactly and I had to consult a map on my phone to get there.
As you walk up to the playhouse, the scene is amazing. Outside of the theatre is Anish Kapoor's 'Sky Mirror'. The sculpture is a fantastic thing to see and it shocked me as I didn't know anything like that was there at all. As I went to the playhouse at night, this could have been lit up a bit better but because it is made up of some form of metal, it does shine quite well on its own. The size of the 'Sky Mirror' also helps it to have a huge impact as soon as you see it.
Outside of the theatre has a very large and spacious area for those waiting for their show to start and a smoking area outside of the restaurant/ bar CAST, which is situated to the side of the theatre. Although I didn't go into CAST myself, it was packed and there were plenty of people in there enjoying food and drinks before the show. You can, while and after booking your tickets for a show, book a table at CAST for beforehand if you like which is a great way to start off your night out.
As we walked into the theatre building, it was buzzing with a lot of teenagers. It was quickly apparent that I had booked tickets for a night where schools were having a trip. I wish I had known this beforehand as I probably would have booked for another night. Teenagers were blocking entrances, standing around in the toilets gossiping and not letting people past and I can see that this would ruin the experience for a lot of people. I know school visits cannot be helped but it would have been nice for the website to show this so that people wanting a quieter night could book for another time.
Inside the foyer was staff selling programmes for Romeo and Juliet. At £3, I thought that this was quite a good price compared with what I have paid for one before. Due to all of the people in the foyer, it was quite hard to actually get to someone to buy a programme but once I finally did, the staff were very quick and efficient and carried lots of change with them. It would have maybe been a better idea to have a member of staff outside the main doors selling these so that they weren't hidden by people there to see the show.
Walking into the theatre itself was quite an experience in itself. We had tickets in the circle but I didn't realise just how high up this was. After finding our seats I didn't really want to look down too much until the show started because it made me feel a bit dizzy. If I go again, I would definitely try to get seats a bit lower down but then for £7 for a student ticket, what can you expect. The seats themselves are extremely small and while I'm not skinny, I'm not too big either and I think some people could have real trouble fitting in these seats. This would definitely put people off after only one visit if they weren't comfortable enough.
From our seats I could see the stage extremely well though and knew that I wasn't going to miss anything because of where we were sat. The theatre ended up being about 95% full by the time Romeo and Juliet began and this made for a really good and exciting atmosphere. Inside the theatre is very clean and well lit but no photography is allowed. I wish I could have taken pictures because the theatre was very impressive.
Nottingham Playhouse has toilets on each floor which was great for everyone. However, the toilets and the space to wash your hands etc. are extremely small and you can't fit more than 4 people in there without it feeling cramped and small. The Nottingham Playhouse does not cater well for the amount of people that can fit into this building and I think that these areas really do need to be made bigger somehow. However, inside the toilets are clean and modern.
Overall, my first experience of Nottingham Playhouse was a good one although some things could be done better.