When Oli left you, we had arrived in our final Irish destination, Crosshaven. Now, I’ve made no secret about how much I love Ireland. I think my most overused phrases this past month have been, ‘this place is my favourite’, and ’10 out of 10 coming back here’. So, as you can imagine, the prospect of performing in Ireland for the last time was not something I was looking forward to. I was, however, very much looking forward to visiting Crosshaven because, well, it was another Irish destination and the Emerald Isle hadn’t let me down so far, and Crosshaven certainly did not disappoint!
We arrived at the GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association) our original performance venue. And whilst it was a lovely location, it was a bit too far out of town, there were no permanently accessible bathrooms, and we couldn’t actually find any members of staff to talk to. This presented a slight problem. We needed a performance venue, we needed to publicise our show, we needed access to showers, and we needed food, like fast. It was gone 1 and we are a hungry group of travellers. So, we headed on into the town.
Of course, our first port of call was the local supermarket to buy our lunch. As I’ve stressed before, this tour is not cheap, and we are all students, so saving money is of vital importance. My standard go-to lunch is a good bit of bread and hummus and an apple, nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. Rowan managed to out-do all our finds though, and got herself a whole tomato, pesto, and olive focaccia for only €2!! It’s safe to say we were all a bit jealous of her steal. Although, it must be noted that it did somewhat defeat her, apparently it got very oily towards the end!
After we’d had our lunch it was time to get to work. Our new performance venue next to the Rivers End Café was secured, and we all set about writing our updated location on our flyers while Oli went in search of some showers for us. Han played us all her ‘Vannn’ playlist (spoilers it’s full of bangers!!) while we wrote in the sunshine. All in all it was pretty idyllic. Then Oli made our day even better by telling us that he had found us showers! We must thank the Royal Cork Yacht Club for letting a smelly touring theatre company use their lovely showers for three days. It was an absolute treat!
Once all our problems had been solved it was time to get on with publicising our shows. We split into teams of two as usual. Adam and Ana canvassing the shops, Hanna and Rowan taking the left side of the town, while Oli and I took the right. Posting flyers through letterboxes is usually a harmless task, however, after just moments earlier telling Oli that I had never been attacked by a dog while flyering I faced THREE near death experiences. Fun fact for you all, running away from dogs after walking up the mountainous drive ways that EVERY HOUSE in Crosshaven seemed to have was NOT easy! But hey, at least it helped keep me fit I guess!
At the end of all our flyering shifts we all met up again. Adam and Ana had done an exceptionally good job and had found Dennis and Jolene at Cronins Bar, who have earned Catherine-level status as being absolutely amazing! They posted about our shows on their Facebook page, let us use their toilets, and even offered us free dinner! Which we took, I mean come on its free food, also it looked AMAZING!! After a lovely dinner, a couple of drinks and a few games of cards, we all went to bed satisfied and looking forward for the next day in Crosshaven.
The next morning was our first experience of the marina showers. Now, after a week of campsite showers you cannot understand how excited we were to wash our hair in a proper shower, where you can control the water temperature and how long the shower runs for. We were not disappointed, it was bliss. Freshly showered and smelling and looking beautiful we set about the day’s task of flyering to drum up interest for our show. In a slight change to our usual schedule, the three flyering shifts were intersected with a tent putting up session, because Adam had to watch the England vs Sweden match. Now, we’ve been putting this tent up now for over a month, so we were not prepared for something to stall this well-oiled machine. We’ve experienced many different types of weather on our travels, rain, wind, extreme heat, but what we have not had to encounter so far is a sea breeze. And let me tell you, these are deceptively tricky beasts. We had to fully attempt to put up the tent TWICE because the first time the breeze nearly blew the tent away. This meant that Adam missed the beginning of the match (sorry pal!), but our beautiful Bell Tent Boutique Tent was up, and giving us lots of free publicity by being a great spectacle of interest.
The community of Crosshaven had been brilliant in spreading the word about our show, and this meant that we had our biggest audience for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and certainly the highest number of children we’d ever had in the crowd. As our shows were created to be fun for the whole family, it was really interesting and informative to see how the children responded to our show. Shakespeare can be difficult to understand even as an adult, but we really think the addition of original music helped to keep the children engaged in what can be a tricky piece of theatre! After the show we were presented with the offer of yet another free dinner from Cronins, which we did not dare turn down. We sat outside the pub to enjoy our food, and after we had finished the Crosshaven Ukuleladies began to play. The atmosphere was magical as everyone gathered around to sing together against the backdrop of the setting sun.
The next day started off very much like the last. I LOVE HAVING ACCESS TO A SHOWER!!! and, having learnt from our previous mistakes, the tent was set up at a much faster speed. We then welcomed our biggest audience to date for ‘To The Ocean’, and after we had packed everything away, were gifted with the generosity of the Cronins staff and another free dinner. After dinner we bought ice creams to celebrate our final night in Ireland, and then went into the pub to play a good game of ‘Who is most likely to …’ I shall not give away any secrets that were divulged during this game because, what goes on tour, stays on tour. But let’s just say there was a lot of laughter.
This morning we got up bright and early and left Crosshaven. After a brief stop in Waterford to buy another tent (I’ll let Oli explain this one), and some lunch, we set off to Rosslare to catch the ferry over to Wales. I am currently sat on the ferry as I write, and I cannot wait to get to St David’s!! I went with my family when I was younger, and it only holds good memories for me. So I am so, so excited to go back! But I’ll leave it to Oli to tell you all about that part of our crazy adventure!