The Pier - BLOG


The Pier is a whimsical story about people and their lives and relationships before the Pier was built; then, as the Pier was built; then, when part of the Pier fell down; then, as it was rebuilt; and finally, when it lies 33m below sea level and is only visited by divers.

As Paul puts it "In the same way that the film "Titanic" is really a love story while a boat is busy sinking in the background, this is a character and comedy driven story about people with a 'Traumatic Pier' in the background" The concept is exactly the sort of angle you might expect from Paul, who is obviously keeping far more back than he is revealing.

The story travels backward and forward in time throughout the production, where similarities and differences between the characters from each period are played to out to comic effect. At each end of the spectrum you have characters living in 2369 celebrating the Piers 500th anniversary and the characters in 1866 wondering if the Pier will ever get built. Situations and relationships are paralelled throughout each time period. Homage is paid to various styles of music including faux Gilbert & Sullivan in 1866, including a new "patter" song, duets and chorus work saluting their unique style. 

The show is planned to be realised in a minimalistic way, purely for comedy effect. Some costume changes will take part actually on stage, adding to the chaos and comedy of the show. Apart from the Pier itself, the scenery will be mostly formed from props (albeit some elaborate ones). It will be demanding yet rewarding for the cast as they will all have so much to do. The show is expected to have a cast of around a dozen principals playing around 44 parts. This is not an economic consideration but a vehicle for comedy, some actors will have to play 2 characters at the same time when they both happen to be on stage together. A chorus will also perform the bigger musical numbers. A 6 piece orchestra will accompany the show.

UPDATE (10-02-15)

Jane and Paul keep counting themselves as fortunate to be working on the show with such a great bunch of people for its cast. Such talent and determination, to conquer all things new, is a real inspiration, but then that is what blocking is supposed to be all about isnt it? We are all having such a lot of fun with the show at the moment and we really are getting through it, especially since christmas. It's amazing to see the characters evolve as they are played out to such great effect by the cast. Not a one of them is exactly how they were imagined when the show was written over a year ago, and quite right too, it's important for players to put their own mark on them, make them their own and give them legs. It's quite a treat watching characters go their own way, wierdly, it's a bit like watching your children growing up.

Technically a number of weekends have now been sacrificed to the construction of the "self growing" Pier. See the "Rehearsal fun and behind the scenes" tab for a look at it. Also the time machine and the 8 feet tall section of the pier for the diver scene has also being built. Still loads more to do though, then we get to the painting part.

We are still looking for more people, so if you would like to join us you are still just about in time to do so. Music is easy to catch up with, as it has been put on to cd's for each individual part, so its easy to learn at home. COME ON WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR. This show is a one off, be part of it! We will be closing the doors at the end of February though.

Arrangements are being made for our first band call, this is likely to happen the last Thursday of February, as per the last update we are still looking for a clarinet player, a keyboard player and a Piano player, so if you are interested contact Paul on the 07980 315976.

We also need a wardrobe mistress which isnt too onerous as the cast will be sourcing their own costumes and someone to supervise the makeup, if you fancy doing it or know someone who might please let us know.

UPDATE (30-12-14)

It's been great fun blocking the show during the last month, in between all the ongoing silly season activities, it all got launched during an hilarious read through, we are very pleased with the casting, some great performances already are shaping up. Construction of the Pier itself is now underway too, after 10 sheets of plywood and 2 bundles of sawn timber were delivered to Paul's garage just before christmas. A full working model of the stage and set have also been built so it's full steam ahead on all aspects of the show.

We are still looking for more people, so if you would like to join us you are still just about in time to do so. Music is easy to catch up with, as it has been put on to cd's for each individual part, so its easy to learn at home. COME ON WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR. This show is a one off, be part of it!

Arrangements are being made for our first band call, we are still looking for a clarinet player, a keyboard player and a drummer, so if you are interested contact Paul on the number shown.

UPDATE (20-11-14)

It looks like we have the chorus music under our belt thanks to Val's reentless note bashing and this has also been a busy week for casting. Most of the roles are filled, but there are a few remaining. So anyone thinking of joining us at this stage should please get in touch straight away, we have both male and female roles still to fill, but they have to be sorted in the next week or so as the first table read is tomorrow evening and Paul will start blocking the show from Friday 28th November onwards.

It has also been a busy period for set design and in particular the Pier itself. During the show the Pier has to appear to put itself together as the show progresses, as if by magic. This has taken some interesting engineering in its design but is now worked out and construction can go ahead. In similar vain the Pier also has to fall down, this too is on the drawing board but will need to be tested on an actual model to ensure it works, before building full size. The rest of the show is now fully designed for construction, and it will soon be all hands to the pumps to get it built.

UPDATE (03-09-14)

Rehearsals are going well and Val has covered all of the chorus material but we are still a bit thin on the ground with only 16 of us signed up for the show. We are actively looking for more members particularly ladies (This is bizzare, It's usually the other way around). So if you are thinking about it, please come along and join us you will be most welcome. The Chorus score is full of harmonies and quite easy to learn, and as long as you can string a few notes together we will help you to get where you need to be to make us all sound good. Come on Girls! Best foot forward! Guys Too!

We are still looking for a technical team, we have a few individuals and their talents but need someone to put it all together, this includes designing and building the set including the Pier itself and its many different states in the show, including how to make it collapse in a spectacular way. We need some puppeteers to make silhouettes of the main characters and operate them as they walk up and down the pier. We need costumes to be co ordinated and sourced, though we already have a few good sources so it shouldnt be too hard. A Make up team is also required.

Same with the band, we have a few people signed up such as MD, Piano, Bass, Flute, Percussion, Trumpet but we are still looking for musicians for Clarinet and Synth.

If you even slightly interested in being involved in any way, please get in touch as we are fast reaching the stage where we need to know exactly who we have and what we might be able to acheive with the time left. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

UPDATE (24-06-14)

Rehearsals start on Friday 25th July 2014 At Clevedon Community Centre, 2 Princes Road Clevedon, BS21 7SZ

See Rehearsal Schedule Page For Further Rehearsal Venues.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Music rehearsals will be the first focus, there is quite a lot of chorus material to learn. Then auditions will take place during September 2014. The plan is get as much learnt as quickly as possible so we are well placed to start blocking during the autumn and, just as importantly, be ready for the recording sessions in October as a December release is planned for the cast Album.

Paul & Jane will appear on Radio Bristol Next week at 12.30pm Thursday 3rd July 2014 on the Steve Yabsley Show, be sure to listen in.

Previous UPDATE (16-05-14)

The next and last read through will take place on Friday 13th June 2014 at Almondsbury Village Hall (See home Page for details). The show has been through a complete re-edit taking on board everything learned from the last read through. Every time an edit like this takes place the show becomes more streamline and it is now in very good shape. The show has now been fully scored into a piano and voice manuscript. So Val Ingram (Musical Director) can now begin preparation for rehearsals.

So onto the next list of things to do................

Paul is now looking for some techies to help build the set and run the show. He will fund it but needs people to do it.

The show also needs a wardrobe mistress, we have some contacts for costumes for the Victorian Period, but need someone to co ordinate the costumes and help acquire the glam Rock look needed for the 70's scenes and a futuristic wardrobe for the scenes set in the 2300's. If you are Interested , even if you can only help a bit, please get in touch with Paul.

He also needs anyone who might be interested in running what is effectively a continuous puppet show through the whole production. This will repesent the activity on the Pier in the back ground and includes an hilarious diving scene in Act 2. Puppets will need to be made and then  operated throughout the production, if this interests you please contact Paul on the numbers shown.

Previous UPDATE (26-04-14)

The read through took place last Thursday to a dissapointingly small but appreciative audience. Paul had received quite a few apologies from people unable to attend and plans to do a second read through. It will probably be in mid June, watch this space for details. A big thank you to those who did attend, your support was greatly appreciated. The evening was enormously useful as it gave Paul an insight to what worked and what didn't, he will now spend the time between the two read throughs to re edit the show to streamline it to cover these points.

Paul has also made contact with Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust and would like to extend a big thank you to Linda Strong (Pier Mistress) who has added her support to the show. They are enjoying a good boost in publicity at the moment as One Direction filmed at the Pier for their latest video which has just been released. It is hoped that the show and the actual Pier itself wil be able to compliment each other by cross feeding publicity when the time comes.

If you are interested in being in the cast please contact Paul either by email as below or by phone 07980 315976, so you can be placed on the casting list. This will ensure that you are contacted about any future events and rehearsals etc.

Previous UPDATE (23-03-14)

GREAT NEWS THE SHOW IS COMPLETE! Paul completed writing the show just about within his 9 month deadline and has since spent a good deal of time editing and trimming it (both musically and libretto wise). The show currently featutres 39 musical Numbers and 70 pages of Libretto (including the songs).

Val Ingram (Musical Director) has been busy sorting through the music and making it work for learning purposes, Paul has added Chorus work (as per the last update) and there is now an exciting amount of 4 part harmony in the show. Part of Val's role is highlighting musical errors, thankfully there haven't been many so far, especially when one song error resulted in Paul doing a 14 hour rewrite (No kidding!). To be fair, it is probably one of the more complicated numbers in the show but as Paul put it "Sorting it was like doing a rubix cube without knowing the cheat sequence. As one part was sorted and then worked, the computer distorted another part and so forth!" It's all up and running now.


Paul has been busy putting "The band At The End Of The Pier" through their paces and they have nearly learnt a Medley Of Music From Act 2, it will shortly be added to the Music Samples Page so everyone can here every melody from the show when ever they like.

Excitement builds as preparations are being made for the Read-Through Presentation on Thursday 24th April 2014 (See home page for details). Paul has had 1000 flyers printed to promote casting the show as he is keen to throw the net as wide as posible and give as many people as possible the chance to be in it. As he puts it "The only point of the show is to have fun and give as many people as I can as much enjoyment as possible. That's why it's a comedy, that's why it's a musical, that's why it isn't deeply philosphical and more character driven.  We have the show, we have the venue, we have the production team, all we need now is a cast, chorus and some good support!" Paul would be thrilled to see as many people as possible at the read through presentation and EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO ATTEND. SO PLEASE COME ALONG!!!!!!!


As you might expect some time was lost rather than gained with other commitments around christmas but nevertheless progress continues. Musical Director Val Ingram has suggested to Paul that the show would probably work better with a chorus as well as principals. Not one to ignore good advice from such a trusted friend Paul is now pleased to announce that the show will be rescored where necessary to accomodate a chorus and give them plenty to do. The show included some chorus numbers any way, which were originally going to be sung by the collective cast but now these numbers will be fleshed out to a full chorus.

So we are now looking for chorus members too for the show!

A get together for a "read through" of the show is now being planned for

late April. We will try and give an exact date and venue on the next update

Writing to Act 2 is now approaching the conclusion of the show, just 2 scenes remain unwritten but this is because Paul is trying to bring all aspects of the show together at the end in a logical and fun way. When you consider that these characters exist as much as 500 years apart you can grasp the problem he has got.

Musically, Paul is currently composing the finale Act 2 (which will be musical number 34). He has also written a comical song about being "British" with all the cliches you might expect and another called "Give us your money" is also in progress. Everything is still very positive, creatively, though it is with a little sadness that the show is now nearing completion, as you might expect Paul is already thinking of what might follow next.

A medley of music from Act 1 played by "The Band At The End Of The Pier" will be posted here at the end of the month, with a Medley of music from Act 2 to follow a month or so later.

Previous UPDATE (25-11-13)

Paul is thrilled to announce that his long standing friend Val Ingram has agreed to take on the role of Musical Director for "The Pier". Val is a retired music profesional, she has an incredibly impressive CV. She has, in her time, being Head Of Music at a Comprehensive school, conducted numerous orchestras, choirs, choral societies and Gilbert & Sullivan societies, to name but a few. More important than all of that, she is a good friend of Paul's and willing to undertake the monumental task of realising his music for which he is extremely grateful. Having someone like Val onboard is a huge bonus for Paul and real excitement abounds in the Carroll camp at the moment.

Meanwhile, back in the world of composing, Paul has been busy converting the 20 plus pieces of music, thus far complete, into Piano scores for Val so she can use them for rehearsals. This task is going well, after a few teething difficulties with the software, but is now begining to come together. Also 2 new pieces of music have been written, since the last update, along with a rewrite of an older song that Paul originally wrote with his son Matthew a couple of years back, which dovetails nicely into the show. The script is also evolving and about half of Act 2 is now written, including a comical scene featuring the early signs of the womens liberation movement which culminates in a song called "We're gonna burn our Bras".

Previous Update (17-10-13)

Paul has completed the draft script for Act 1, All 18 Musical Numbers for the Act are scored, and ready for Second Edit Mastering.  2 songs are also written and scored for Act 2 with another 2 in progress. 3 scenes written in first draft form. All of this adds up to around 20 pieces of music so far and about 45 pages of script. The show is begining to move into the last lap of its creation. The Pier has become a real family affair for Paul over the last few months with both wife Jane and son Matt making regular suggestions for plot and script. (They are both being credited for additional material as they have contributed so much.) Paul's daughter Becci will be  the shows choreographer and she has already worked out a few routines for particular numbers. Paul's daughter Nicola has been involved in working out orchestrations and double checking scores to ensure they suit the ranges for the right instruments.

Previous Update (22-09-13)

Paul has almost completed the draft script for Act 1, there is a current plot issue to be resolved which effects a song in Act 2 but some ideas are forming which may clear this up soon and hence complete the Act. 17 Musical Numbers for Act 1 are scored, with the 12 minute long finale well progressed. 1 song is also written and scored for Act 2 with another 1 in progress. Not a bad effort considering that he only started work on the show on 27th May 2013 and took two weeks off to go on holiday and do a full time job and.........well the list goes on. The remainder of the show knocks around inside Paul's head, no doubt screaming to get out. He expects to have the completed show ready for casting and staging by the begining of next year, although there are no plans at present to start rehearsals until later.   

Paul is always delighted to get feedback and comments, so please feel free to contact him on the email address below. Please watch this space.

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