The Cutty Sark Studio Theatre is about to launch a brand new season of events. We caught up with Visitor Assistant Emma, who looks back at her favourite Cutty Sark theatre moments.
By Emma Withington
Welcome to The Lower Hold, originally inaccessible while Cutty Sark was a working vessel and this was the main cargo space of the ship, packed tightly with commodities from tea to wool. Today it contains a deck for you to explore with various exhibits and interactives, detailing her life in the tea trade. Replica tea chests surround you and are stacked up along the walkway at various heights, representing the loading process. After visiting hours, what was once the vast, cavernous cargo space of Cutty Sark is also home to an atmospheric, intimate theatre venue.
The Michael Edwards Studio Theatre has held a wide range of performances from local talent, showcasing our neighbours from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, to high-profile names such as mentalist Matthew Stirling, folk singer Karine Polwart and prominent comedy figures, including Ross Noble during the launch season, and Josh Widdicombe who performed at our Pre-Edinburgh Comedy Festival. With a capacity of only 103 seats, the Studio Theatre is an intimate venue for household names, which for a fan is a fantastic opportunity. Big comedy acts sell out rapidly due to high demand (get in there quick!).
For me, Ross Noble’s night of improv stands out in particular; not only because it was a great performance, but also because I had met him before. While working at HMV, I served him during the busy Christmas period. It was an incredibly stressful environment for him, but he appeared amiable and I cheesily told him to ‘keep up the good work’. Little did I know that within a year, he would be performing at my new workplace, Cutty Sark. Sadly, I didn't have the courage to say more than a welcoming hello, but I saw him double take, and in that moment I realised I had likely been instantly diagnosed with crazy fan syndrome. So, naturally, I proceeded to linger in the shadows to disprove the diagnosis…
Performances in the studio theatre have a very unique atmosphere, the aroma of tea drifting in the air and the theatre nestled within the tea chests presents an intimate yet comfortable environment. Ross’s performance perfectly reflected that atmosphere, and being an evening of improvisation meant that this was entirely tailored by and for the audience. A moment that is yours; engaging, interactive and an opportunity to get an up close and personal experience you just can't get in an arena or on television at home.
So, come along and have your moment in Cutty Sark’s studio theatre! This Spring season includes Omid Djalili, ‘Austentatious’; an improvised comedy play in the style of Jane Austen, and Isabilia String Quartet and The Strings of the Seigfried Camerata from Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Or join us beneath Cutty Sark’s magnificent hull for the ‘Alternative St. Patrick’s Day Celebration’ with traditional Irish folk songs provided by the returning Cut A Shine Ceili Band!
Visit our website to book tickets for the Cutty Sark Studio Theatre.