We thought it would be easier to book on line, so we went on the Royal and Derngate website. It should be a relatively easy process to find the relevant day we wanted to go, a Saturday, so a matinee performance. Easy enough to find. Then we had to register to use the website. It was simple enough and then we found for some reason it wouldn't accept our address. Several more attempts, changing the password needed to book tickets. It just would not work and I tried on Tuesday morning again (yesterday) with no success. By now it was getting annoying and frustrating. On Monday we'd even attempted to ring their box office telephone number but it was closed (odd, considering it was a performance day and you would imagine it would be open up until 'curtain-up' time for whatever shows were on that day. As there are two auditoria at the Royal/Derngate there would be two shows running together with a small cinema which is within the centre. But it was not operating, so further annoyance.
So yesterday evening, when Carol got home, we rang the box office again. This time, after a bit of a wait, I managed to get through and booked two tickets as planned.
I have a particularly special love of the Royal in Northampton, there long before the Derngate was opened, which is next door and now part of the same complex. I think it was here I got my interest and love for theatre. In 1968 I had been on an A Level course at Mander College in Bedford and was supposed to go to Bristol University to do a drama course. I had originally intended getting into television to do Floor Management, but my results on the two A Level courses (or, at least, the 'mocks'.) were not very good so I changed my direction by approaching regional theatres (or 'repertory' or 'reps.') to start off as a Student A.S.M. I wrote to as many theatres as I could (using 'Contacts,' the directory of theatre and associated industries in the theatre, television and film world.) and got interviews at, amongst others, Northampton Royal Theatre and Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham. I had an interview at Northampton but the Everyman post I was offered began well before that at Northampton, so I began off working at Cheltenham on the 16th February, 1969, thrown in at the deep-end on the technical rehearsal of a production of 'Jane Eyre.'
Yesterday I just had to get out of the house. The constant 'tap-tap-tap' and 'bang-bang-bang!' coming from next door's garden was beginning to really get on my nerves. They've been doing more work on their tiling since Saturday. I couldn't believe this was going to continue into the week. So I went into the centre of Milton Keynes and spent a good hour in the main shopping centre. Having parked where i usually park, near The Point (it's beginning to get really dilapidated and tatty. It might be closed, but the site is a real eye-sore.) I couldn't walk straight into the shopping centre because the road and paved area around that side of the shopping centre was blocked off with temporary fencing, because workmen were ripping up the old pavings and re-paving this area. I have to say it was beginning to look really shabby so it's a good thing they've decided to redevelop all this. I don't think it's been renovated since this area was built in the late 1970's. Several shops within the shopping centre have re-located. W.H.Smith have moved into a smaller unit and H.M.V. has now done the same. They probably realise that they don't need such big units. Neither now don't have a second floor. I suppose Smith's would not need so much space because they don't have a record department. Likewise, H.M.V. just don't have the selection that they once had. It's mainly D.V.D's. I imagine all this is down to being able to download music from sites such as iTunes. With Sky you can download films onto your Sky + or Sky Q box and therefore don't require a disc although you can buy and keep both downloads and then be sent a D.V.D. copy of the latest film releases.