Making a musical about theatre's unsung creatives

Making a musical about theatre's unsung creatives

BLUE WORKERS is a student-written musical debuting at the ADC Theatre next week. We caught up with the team behind the show to find out more about what you can expect from the show, which explores the often-unexplored world of the backstage of a theatre...

What should an audience expect from Blue Workers?

Blue Workers, colloquially referred to as “Techies the Musical”, is truly a love letter to the rich culture of Cambridge student theatre. It’s a story about the often overlooked backstage workers. They’re the ones who build sets, design costumes, keep budgets, and help avert disasters, all before the curtain goes up on the first night. Without them there wouldn’t be a show. 

It’s also a musical about stories of working backstage, from the rush you get when you finally see your hard work take form on the stage to the times despite your best efforts, a show is plunged into terrible, but hilarious, disaster. Imagine sitting at a bonfire listening to people’s best stories of Cambridge theatre disasters, but now imagine that as a singular cohesive story on a stage and as a musical. Now you have Blue Workers.

If you’re not a self identified techie or thesp, you’ll get an insight into the daily lives of the theatre community. And if you are, you’ll get to see your own experiences played out on the stage. Our cast, crew, and band, will have you crying at tragic backstories and falling out of your seat laughing at rap battles, all in the span of a single hour.

This student-written musical is set backstage in a theatre. What kind of things in the story might be familiar to those who have been involved with a show?

The entire story will make you feel nostalgic for you theatre glory days, regardless of if you’ve graduated or not. Blue Workers is a production about all things tech, from the conflicts caused by opposing visions to the mundane stresses, such as the difficulty in acquiring performance rights.

This entire experience is made with you in mind, constantly referencing the endless theatre acronyms and roles. You’ll feel as if you’re working on the ‘Blue Workers’ team, but without any of the actual work! And no worries if you’re new to theatre and haven’t quite grasped the lingo yet, our theatre programme will be complete with a handy list of definitions and terms so that you never feel lost (keep up with our FB event to hear more about this!).

And what about those people who have never been backstage before?

At its core, Blue Workers is a show about interpersonal relationships, a high pressure environment, and feeling underappreciated. That’s something we can all relate to at one point in our lives or another, whether it be from our careers, family, or something else. 

The story has everything from jealousy of more successful older siblings to working in a group where some members aren’t ‘team players.’ Our audience will not only learn about theatre, but also hopefully see a bit of themselves in all of the characters. And of course, the humour of misguided plans and melodramatic ‘villains’ are humorous whether or not you actually know what a technical director is.

How have rehearsals been coming along?

So great! I know every Director says this, but I feel so lucky to get to work with such an amazing cast. Their enthusiasm has been everything, and they bring a whole new level of energy and humour to what was already such a crazy show. There’s nothing quite like the quick turnaround of a Week One show, but I’m pleased to report that our show is nowhere near as crazy as…. whatever show the Blue Workers are trying to put on!

Without spoiling too much, what is your favourite part of the show?

Our producer, Arina, is a particular fan of the climax: a rap battle between two members of the crew. It’s filled with hilarious one liners that will have you laughing until you develop abs, whether you’ve participated in theatre before or not. It’s such an iconic scene, that we’ve already seen some cast members make memes about it.

For Mia, our director, the character of Toni, our other director, has got to be the highlight of the show. The absurdity of her rehearsal scenes can’t be topped, despite perhaps being a little uncomfortably in line with Mia’s own chaotic ‘vision’ and instructions!

Blue Workers is performing at the ADC Theatre between Wednesday 4 and Friday 6 May