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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

I Know All About Stage Illusions

But I couldn't build one ...



You'll probably be surprised, but at this time of year, my mind turns to pantomime. Apart from appearing in them, I'm often called upon to advise on stage illusions which I am pretty au fait with ...

When it comes to stage illusions, I know all about them, but I couldn't build one.

When it comes to stage illusions, I know all about them, but I couldn't build one.

copyright: vicnt / 123rf stock photo

I know how to make the princess float up in the air and then disappear. Or climb into a box and then vanish and appear somewhere else. I even know about sawing a woman in half as that's all stock in trade when it comes to illusion.

"Whatever stage illusions are required, I arrange for the apparatus to be imported, often from China."

But I've got to thinking; it must be the time to actually make some stage illusions. The problem is that while I know how to make it all, I'm fairly hopeless at actually constructing it. I'm not a natural carpenter - as my wife will attest to - with regard even to a fairly straightforward shelf in the kitchen.

So this is a shout out to any local master carpenters who would like to work with me on this project. It's fiddly and exacting construction work with wood and metalwork and very exact measurements.,.

"But there is good money in it
when we get it right."

If you're interested and would like to find out more about building stage illusions with me, then do give me a call on 01234 241357 or click here to ping me an email and let's have a chat.

Until next time ...


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More about David Pibworth ...

David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.

David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.

He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.

He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.

This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.

David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.

He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!


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