I have just got back from a roundtable discussion on theatre at the Turner Contemporary. It was hosted by the Clod Ensemble, Maddy Costa and FUEL (who I am working for), ahead of their performance of "Red Ladies" at Theatre Royal Margate.
After a lively discussion on audience engagement (my personal favourite comment was one woman's call for theatre to be a bit less structured, more akin to a gig: "[Traditional Theatre's] a bit too static for me. I'm sat in a chair, I have to stay sat in a chair and keep my mouth shut. I like the intervals!") we began discussing performances we had seen in the area.
An older local resident recalled going to see a show at Tom Thumb, on a freezing December night. Halfway through the show she was asked to leave the theatre and fight through the blizzard to a band stand, to witness a mermaid - complete with tail and shell bra - singing on the cold ground. She was then invited to dance in the snow. "Years later" she said "I can still remember the music, I can still see that image".
At this point I nervously admitted that I had been the mermaid. Asking people to stand facing the Cliftonville sea during the coldest winter of recent history had not always been popular.
Her face lit up.
"I can't believe it!" she said. "It was incredible. As you get older you can't keep every moment, so you find memories become cameos. That show, you, are a cameo in my life. It will always stay with me."
[For anyone interested the show in question was "A Dreamland Sideshow Christmas", our first show at Tom Thumb. It was directed by Timothy Trimingham Lee, designed by Kat Heath and featured all of .dash alongside Frankie Jordan and Duncan Wilkins.]