Keeping the show on the road falls to Martin Taylor as tour manager as Moscow City Ballet bring The Sleeping Beauty to Chichester Festival Theatre to start the New Year (January 5-7).
The company’s early-January slot has become a fixture on the Chichester calendar over the years.
“I have been doing the tour for more than ten years, maybe 15,” says Martin. “I am a Russian speaker. I started off as an interpreter, and I started off just interpreting on various tours. I got into the business really as someone who knows his way around a theatre.
“I did Russian at university, in Manchester and I also studied in Moscow when it was still the Soviet Union. The first job I had was as an interpreter in 1987, the first job I had with a Russian company. It was at the Royal Opera House, and I had never been backstage before.”
Now he’s the person who holds it all together.
“As tour manager, I do everything. There is a lot of work you have to do prior to the tour, sorting out the trucking schedules and liaising with the Russians, and then we have to look after them on a day-to-day basis. There are all sorts of logistical things that you have to take care of.
“From the moment you start the tour and all the way through, your life is not your own!”
But Martin takes the practical approach to everything. Nothing has ever come up that has actually stumped him.
“There is always a way out of something. You like to think that the company keeps going as a well-oiled machine, but every now and again, you find yourself thinking ‘What on earth has happened here?’ But you can always sort things out.”
The point is that the dancers in the company aren’t just colleagues. Many have become friends over the years.
“I have worked with many of them for such a long time, and I just get on with them. They always know that I have got their best interests at heart in everything that I know, and they know that if they have got some sort of problem, I will deal with it. But they also know to deal themselves with the problems that they can actually deal with themselves.”
And in between times, Martin heads back to Torremolinos which has been home for him for the past seven or eight years – a place from which London is pretty much commutable if he needs it to be.
“Torremolinos is just a great place to relax.”
As for the show, The Sleeping Beauty offers ballet at its enchanting and romantic best, the story which inspired Tchaikovsky to write some of his most glorious music. The ballet has captivated audiences for well over a century.
Tickets for Moscow City Ballet at Chichester Festival Theatre are available on www.cft.org.uk.