Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Christmas lectures: Lecture 2

Retrospective update number 2! Hopefully I can get them all finished this week, as I'm starting to forget how it all went! Not good.

Ok so, Lecture 2.

It was strange coming back into work on Monday after the fun and chaos of Saturday. Heading back up to my office to sit at my desk away from all the buzz was a bit strange, and kind of disappointing in a way. Especially when I opened up the email inbox to find some of the nasty comments we had received from unhappy visitors on Saturday evening. To be fair, I couldn't really argue with many of their points. The evening didn't go well, and we had to change things for the next time. Other people had a fantastic time, and I had a wonderful response from my Bursary winner and his guardian thanking us again for a fantastic weekend and how they were still raving about it. That always puts a smile on your face.
So on Monday the building picked up its usual buzz. Rehearsals were a little quieter than they had been on the Saturday, but that was probably a good thing for all of the team as they needed to relax a bit. Also we did have the joyous revelation of cake being left in the greenhouse (the staffroom) from Saturday. The crew had managed to polish off a whole one by themselves on Saturday night! (not that I can blame them).
Nom nom cake
Over the next couple of days, prep for lecture 2 picked up. Team lemon battery were due to come in to start the prep work in a few days, so the construction of the shelving units continued. This basically consisted of a small group of us screwing together a lot of ikea shelves whilst listening to music. It was actually kind of fun. Plus the Ri will never run out of little Allen keys of a specific size now...
We also had to drill holes in the big sheets of hardboard and screw in castor wheels onto the bottom so the shelves were portable. All whilst having to dodge round the sound checks and video transmission recordings of skype conversations with solar plane pilots. Fun and games! Plus all the lemons arrived.

Around 1008 lemons...ish
My second and final bursary group came in for the second lecture as well, and they were such a lovely bunch! Five kids and their two teachers came down from near Manchester, and I got to go meet them for their behind the scenes tour. They were all really excited and loved every second of exploring the building and seeing the secret props and sneaky peek of the rehearsals. They then all headed off to grab a bite to eat whilst the final building preparations were done, before returning and getting the special 'VIP' treatment of getting into the special screening room early for a drink and nibbles with the other important guests of the night. In all honesty? This was to make my life easier more than anything as the other early theatre entry people were all gathering in that room, so keeping them all in the one place meant no one was late or forgotten about.

That's my bursary group down at the front!
The building was once again a buzz of excitement, but this time it wasn't all about it being Christmas Lecture time. This time, all of the staff were super excited about the upcoming presence of a cow in the building! That's right, we had a cow (and a goat and a sheep, but no one seemed so excited about them)
There was even a baby cow!
We also had the fun job of getting 300 kids fitted out with heart rate monitors before the show (which was interesting, but thankfully ran smoothly). Once everyone was settled into the theatre (on time tonight), I headed down to the screening room to watch and make my notes once more. It was quite amusing as we could hear the cow occasionally mooing, as the trailer where it was being housed was right outside the screening room.

The lecture went really well, with Saiful seeming to relax more into his role as lecturer and entertainer, sneaking in pun after pun and his Smiths references. There were lots of smiles and laughs in the audience.
The lecture was on how the human body uses and creates energy from food and such. We showed how much food Saiful ate in a week, and how much waste he produced (It was chocolate!). We showed the amount of energy an animal like a cow has to eat before it produces the meat that people eat (its a lot). We showed how a professional athlete's body utilises energy in a different way to a non-athletes body. The kids even tried a rather...interesting form of food. BUGS!

Those are real insects that the audience ate
All in all it went really well. And we managed to get some good quotes from the volunteer kids for their local papers which was really lovely. Sadly the computer system for the heart rate monitors crashed once we hit 300 of them. We'd tested with around 270 and it was fine, but apparently 300 was too much. We managed to get some basic data from the big experiment, but sadly it wasn't what we wanted.

So that was lecture 2 over, and we had passed the halfway point. It was kind of surreal, and pretty knackering, but also a lot of fun. I still felt a bit distant from a lot of the action, like I was just there to watch (which I kind of was) rather than there to help. Huge kudos to the team for pulling it off again though!

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