The Sheldon Open Air Theatre
Mon 20 July 2015
600 people packed into Sheldon's Open Air Theatre on Friday night for a concert by local group Joey the Lips. It's a rather different atmosphere from Sheldon's usual peace and quiet, but even at this busy and public time our retreat ministry carries on behind the scenes. There's obviously a lot of work goes in to making a big event work well so that everyone enjoys themselves and stays safe. Starting in the autumn, the bands are booked and contracts signed; the leaflet, poster and website are designed; over the months publicity goes out through mailings, emailings, local magazines, press adverts, what's on listings, local leafleting, Facebook and much more and the admin team process the ticket sales. As concert nights approach the estate team mow the grass, pressure wash the stage, put up the canopy and the lights and test the technics. The housekeeping team spring clean the burger bar and dressing room and order large quantities of burgers, bacon, baps and onions. The barkeepers order in the beer and soft drinks. We train and roster the volunteers and watch the weather forecast ...
On any normal day we are fiercely protective of the privacy of our guests in residence so casual callers are not welcome. Combined with being a religious community at the end of a no-through road, this means we do need to make the occasional effort to stay connected with our local community, and theatre nights fulfil that need in spades. Many people don't know Sheldon exists so it's lovely to be able to answer questions, see them walk through admiring the place, and generally associating Sheldon with a well-run good night out. Here's a nice comment from Friday night "I would like to say a very big thank you to all involved in the performance. It was run with complete provision. I attended with 6 people and I use a mobility scooter and everyone involved to help me get to my 'seat' at the venue was so helpful, polite and kind. Thank you so much.I look forward to attending again, hopefully next time without the scooter! Regards and very best wishes to you all". So a big thank you to everyone who helps make the theatre possible. As well as having a good time we generally manage to run a decent surplus to help support the core ministry.
Sometimes there is just a breath of magic in the air. A cross-generational moment and everyone just having a great time together. Here we are believing in angels with Abba Magic
We always tell our retreat guests what to expect during these 2 weeks. Some opt to come at a different time, some ignore the proceedings, others get tickets and enjoy the fun. As one guest this week said "It's great to see retreat and community meeting each other".