When I first climbed the ladder, I thought my arms would drop off. My guide raced up and down monkey-like, but I was excited and very slightly scared. I was soon a monkey too: ascending or descending with a speaker in one hand and a loop of cable over my shoulder; in the pitch dark or the pouring rain.
They’ve put a lift in now. And you probably don’t have to climb through a window at the top. Accessibility, they call it.
Bet they can’t beat the musos to the bar at the end of a show any more, though.
This is a rare memoir from me. As a first-term student at Cambridge, I stumbled into technical theatre at the ADC. My famous peers (Rebecca Hall, Eddie Redmayne, Dan Stevens) might mostly have been on the stage, but to me, the ADC was about a small group of technicians, each of whom ran multiple shows a term, hiding in the shadows and whispering on ‘cans’.
During the show, the only access to the lighting and sound boxes, where I spent so many evenings, was up a black ladder bolted to the outside wall. The bottom was near the bar fire escape doors, handy for last-minute dashes up from the sofa to the box, and even better for a cool sharp exit before the musos could climb out of the pit. The lift is better, of course. But it post-dates me and therefore I disapprove of it on principle.