Erecting the Marquee at Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace was almost perfect.  Neither Great Hall nor Long Library were large enough for the premiere, so I hired Maidstone Marquee to erect a theatre on the south side of the palace.  Peter Anderson supervised construction.  Width and length requirements were not a problem, and by raising the platform and extending it over the stairs, a crawl space was created and used for heating ducts and wiring.  But this was the highest marquee Maidstone had ever erected, and once up, it still had to be carpeted, wired, draped and lined.

The Finished Theater Marquee
The stage was barely up when the lighting crew, set designer and his crew arrived — and then the seating arrived and everyone had to work quickly to clear the way for camera and sound crews!  In the end, the marquee looked a lot like a Hollywood sound stage!  Production designer Shaun Moore said it was an “enormous canvas hangar.  To call it a marquee would be to underestimate its immense proportions.  It was large enough to house the 'Spruce Goose' itself, let alone a woodland scene side by side with an orchestra, in front of a hundred tiered seats, and under a huge lighting rig.”

Cook Tent Outside Long Library
I knew Oxfordshire would be cold in November, especially at night, so heating was a vital concern. The red cannisters in the photo contain propane to power the huge plants installed to heat the marquee and to provide fuel for the mobile kitchen used by The Admirable Crichton to prepare the banquet. The production crews, from construction to operations, were all superb and by noon on this chilly November 1st, despite all the trials and tribulations along the way, everything and everybody was finally ready for the World Premiere Benefit Performance.