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GES091 - Ally Pally Theatre & Roof

Another explore brought to our attention by GE041 & Co. We'd talked about it for awhile, but as with most of our explores, not got around to it due to the pressures of life getting in the way. GE077, GE010 and I all met up in a pub inside the complex. Sitting and discussing how this would be done. We'd seen pictures of  GE051 in the theatre, when she had a leg in plaster, so we knew it shouldn't be too difficult. However after looking about, we didn't spot any easy ways in. It was therefore going to have to be the hard way.

Some duck and diving, twisting and climbing, and we scrambled onto the roof. However lucky for us, that evening it was very windy, so getting a clean shot proved a nightmare. Looking down from the main roof to the transmitter and lower roofs. The gorgeous glass dome of the ice rink entrance.

Looking along the base of the main roof. GE010 taking a picture at the bottom of the blue stairs.

The wideness,  centre of the main roof. Some convenient steps to the apex of the roof.

Windy windy. Raise the ISO a notch, nope, wait for a drop in the wind, nope, raise the ISO a notch, wait for a...

Looking down on the square roof of the ice rink, and the glass dome. The theatre roof is on the left.

GE077 had been trying every possible way to get into the theatre, while GE010 and I had been snapping from the roof. We needed to get from the upper roof down onto the lower roof. This was no easy task, as there's no ladders or anything that let's one descend without breaking ones legs. It's all very well descending, but one needs away to get back up in case you can't get down or into the building. So GE010 and I had no choice other than to do a hideous 15m-20m squeeze alongside the glass dome that overlooks the entrance. It was insane! The gap was about 30cms at best. One had to shuffle in 15cm movements. I had my bag perched on my head as i shimmied along. The lankier and more agile GE010 managed it a lot quicker than I. At one point it got to about 20cms wide, and involved moving oneself up the glass to get to a point where the glass started to curve away, and then lowering oneself to the bottom again. I didn't think i'd do it, and imagined the hilarity of getting stuck there. Fire brigades and camera crews. The humiliation would be terrible. But whinging aside, I made it. I then joined GE010 as we looked at the same spots that GE077 had looked at. And then we got a text from GE077 saying that he'd made a break-through. We went over to what would have been a natural spot to check out, considering where we'd just come through, and this was a lot shorter. Eventually we were stood on a different bit of the roof and managed an easy entrance to the theatre. All the effort was worth it when we got to see the theatre, one word, incredible.

GE010 takes a shot at the back of the theatre. The original steps were covered in metal sheeting, which made way too much noise!

A full fisheye of the roof.

Zoom shot of the stage, and statues either side.

As we looked around, we came across yet another problem, how the hell do we get down to the main floor? We looked around and couldn't seem to find any access, and the access we did find was locked up or boarded off. There was one way, but it looked rather precarious. So in the end we had to cheat with a little rope know how.  And boom, we were down on the main floor, pipe ninja in attendance. I should point out i'm not actually as fat as I appear in the photo (vanity darlings). It's just I have a rubbery spine. I wouldn't have got here if I was fat.

Looking back at the balcony and back of the theatre.

Alas poor yorick I knew him well. Main stage. The little dark doorway below the stage to the right of me, led to the backstage area.

Side exit door and precarious looking roof support.

"Walk like an Egyptian!"

The maze of wooden joists and timbers holding the stage up. The red door leads out to the main floor of the theatre.

Weights and pulleys to shift the curtains and scenery. The curtain starts on the right of the picture.

"Let's get ready people, performance performance performance" backstage area. Lots more wood in effect.

Back of the backstage area looking towards the audience areas.

Backstage area from above.

Wood was obviously big in theatre design when this was built. Large cog wheel and shaft that would have been used to raise and lower scenery and backdrops.

GE077 had already left, as he works 12000 hours a week helping old ladies across the road and  curing cancer, he needed his sleep. We hadn't found another way out, so it was back to the nightmare I dreaded. A shot from the theatre roof side on to the glass dome.

The edges of the theatre building sucking up the car park and street lights below.

A shot from the ice rink roof of the amazing glass dome.

A last shot of the main roof from the ice rink roof.

I think I've just about covered every angle of the glass dome roof, so time to leave it alone.  I'd tried to delay the inevitable, but as GE010 was already through the gap and foot tapping on the upper roof at me. It was time to go. I managed it quicker than before, but it was still and ugly process.

Cheers to GE010 for waiting all the time, and GE077 as well for the usual camaraderie.



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