7 days until Opening Night
We arrive at our shared desk at 9.03am (who said arts jobs didn’t start till 10am?), Rachel with a coffee, Phil with cold pizza and juice. It’s going to be a big day.
We log on and have worryingly few emails in the inbox. Even though that’s something that could indicate all is at hand and under control instead it sends Rachel into a Google vortex of “how do you know if Outlook is hiding things from you?”, while Phil Googles “how long is it fine to eat pizza after it’s gone cold?”
Pulling herself out of Google, Rachel begins casting the 24 Hour Party Playwright (which is 2000% one of her favourite things to do) while Phil picks up the phone to talk to a lady about a horse float*, because why not?
*Folk Off, our one-on-one folk gig on the back of a horse float, will be in the festival garden every Thursday-Saturday night.
6 days until Opening Night
Less than a week out, and our large floor decals arrive to much fanfare; we cannot wait to ask the street team to spend the day sticking them to the pavements around Bondi in order to increase marketing presence on the floor of the suburb.
Then we realise with startling clarity that we, in fact, are the street team.
And the marketing team.
And the bloody A Team for that matter.
5 days until Opening Night
Rachel tweaked her back carrying a box of flyers, and Phil’s left arm is entirely numb. But as we ferry the brochures around to other theatre venues in Sydney, we flick through this year’s program and both get so excited when we remember that Juan Vesuvius (aka the ever-excellent Barnie Duncan) is bringing his show I Am Your Deejay to the festival.
This is his best yet – and that’s really saying something.
4 days until Opening Night
The Parlour Tent (our boutique circus and cabaret tent) arrives in a shipping container from South Australia, in a lorry too large to get through the gate out the back of the Pavilion.
And it’s raining.
And did we mention it’s 6.33am?
No one mentioned this when we went to drama school. The tent goes up and it looks SO GOOD and we realise that 6.33am is quite a good time when you get to see the things you love come into fruition.
Within the next couple of hours, the bar tent is up, a steam-punk wine-machine has landed and our shipping container is painted festival pink – the perfect colour scheme for our free, durational question-answer show I’ve Been Dying To Ask You, which you can pop in and out of any night of Week Oone. WHICH IS IN FOUR DAYS!
3 days until Opening Night
It’s a beautiful winters’ day by the beach, our Opening Gala event has officially sold out and today we also reached our pre-sales target! Celebrations ensue. Though this is quickly followed by an obligatory Googling of “how do you know if your ticketing system is generating phantom sales?”
Two more of our 43 shows sell out by the end of the day, and we see on Instagram that Chasing Smoke is receiving standing ovations in Brisbane, where they’re doing their final shows before making their way down to Bondi for the Sydney premiere of their award-winning show.
2 days until Opening Night
The graffiti artist we’ve booked to spray paint the Eat.Art.Truck with the festival logo has to pull out and Phil genuinely considers going to Bunnings and trying his hand at street art.
Luckily he’s banned from Bunnings after an incident with the sausage sizzle guys that for legal reasons we can’t go into here.
While we make some phone calls to our extensive lists of graffiti artists (you guys all have extensive lists of street artists too, right?), our first batch of interstate artist start to arrive on site: Anya Anastasia, Barnie Duncan, Jude Perl and Dani Cabs. None of them are graffiti artists, but it’s still excellent to see them.
1 day until Opening Night
It’s the day of opening and while sleep is a thing of the past (we definitely shouldn’t have bothered going home last night), the festival is very much a thing of the present. Our jumping castle is inflating as we speak, the truck has arrived for The Knife (our show in the back of a truck), and Casting Off are warming up for their tech session (we assume this is a combination of doing flips and knitting sweaters).
Our to-do lists for the day are getting shorter (though the lists for the rest of the week continue to grow), and we realise we haven’t brought opening night outfits and start looking around the office for any stray costumes.
We also sit down and finish writing our daily entry for our Audrey Journal diary, because it’s important to remember EVERY. THING. ON. YOUR. LIST.
There is still much to be done today, but through slightly bleary eyes the entire festival team continue to look at each other in disbelief at what this year’s festival has become.
We love this beast of a Feast and can’t wait to share it with you all.
See you at the Garden Bar!
Phil Spencer and Rachel Chant