"Any Umberellas , any umberellas to mend today ?"
The wet weather of the 2007 Covent Garden Myayfare did have some usefulness to me , Neccessity being the Mother of Invention.
Having been lucky enough not to have encounterd such a day before , there were a few tricks of the trade to be learned from more experienced Proffs .
Bryan Clarke was first to perch an umbrella over his proscenium to keep the playboard / playboard pelment / theatre curtains ( tabs) and 'clock' dry between shows.
The red and white striped booth cover being canvas , does its own good job of repelling water , but the brolly protects those other bits which are non waterproof , and usually velvet , or nice fabrics , both of which act like a sponge.
For the long periods between shows the brolley keeps everything nicely protected.
I and one or two others followed suit..you can see the umbrellas on many of the crowd pics in the Mayfayre gallery on this site.
The only problem is , you cant leave the brolley there for the Show as the handle protrudes into the 'performance window' right between Punch and Judy. And of course the bigger ( and wider ) the brolley : the longer (and more in the way ) is the handle.
As we found at the Mayfayre , crowds will still stay and watch shows -(under their own brollies)- even it it is drizzling or light rain.
The trouble is your puppets get damp. - Not soaking wet admittedly .
Even mine were only damp after what was probably the worst rain of the day.
But that still means they all have to go in front of radiators to dry them out and stop them getting mildew.
********** Long winded intro, sorry , but here is what I have done this week *********
I got a red and white cheapo brolley ( £3) and cut off the handle and about 13 inches of the central pole with an angle grinder .
I then filled in the last few inches of the now exposed hollow metal tube with P38 to stop the tube getting crushed or mishappen .
This was important , as the 'ring' holding the spokes toghether now slides off the foreshortened pole. Incidentally the brolly still folds up neatly , and rolls up for its little velcro fastener to go round. But when you open it you have to slide the 'ring' back over the central pole each time .
The sprung clip is still there near the 'pointed-end' to lock the ring in place and hold the brolley open.
All you now have is an umbrella with a very short short handle.
If you mount a short metal tube ( bit of copper plumbing 15mm or similar) to the back of the centre of your Proscenium you can slot the brolley in place. #~#
I drilled a hole through this tube , and the P38 strengthened part of the brolley -rod , so that a split pin can be inserted through to stop the brolley being blown off
I have also made a kind of 'harness' for it: with four straps meeting at a centre ring ( big metal curtain ring) which goes over the brolley 'Point' when it it up ..these straps clip onto the booths 4 guy ropes , which would be on the booth if it was a windy day.
( The Mayfayre was wet , but mercifully not windy )
And there you go : an Umbrella cover to keep the performance window and puppets dry , even if you are performing in light rain .
#~# How you fix this tube would depend on your own Proscenium and how it folds or dismantles for transport.
I drilled 3 pairs of small holes into the plywood , either side of where the tube was to go , and then put strong garden wire through and twisted it tightly; ( rather like the way toy manufacturers hold toys in place in their cardbaord display boxes )
Then I used some 'metal Bond' ( 2 part epoxy paste ) down each length of the tube to 'glue' it to the plywood.
But my proscenium is a veritable 'jigsaw-puzzle' of bits that come apart for transport , so I actually made a duplicate centre panel specially to take the umbrella mount, and as such I have put the mount on the front of the Prosc and detailed it up as a feature .
I am guessing that anyone adding such a device as an 'extra' now , would want to hide it away on the rear ? ... I would suggest fixing the tube to a small recatngle of ply , and then glueing the ply to your existing Prosc ( perhaps a couple of panel pins through from the front too for strength ) ..but this way would do minimal damage to the look of your Proscenium.
I will take some pics in due course.
Best Wishes to all Richard