Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

The genius of Laura J, or, what does a stage manager keep in her pockets?

Pockets have long been a trial to me. Oh yes, I’m totally serious. Men’s clothes have functional pockets: deep, roomy, useful containers designed for safe harbour and porterage of the symbols of Western society’s material security: wallets, keys, phone, small change; iPods, train tickets, Swiss Army knives, bits of string … Women’s pockets, on the other hand, are designed to be entirely decorative and non-functional. Honestly, have you ever tried putting your purse in your pocket?

Of course the failure of the pocket is also the raison d’etre of the handbag – one of the most gloriously silly and delectably desirable accessories in existence. But there are some situations in which you just can’t carry a handbag. The Krypton Factor assault course is probably one such. Backstage in a theatre while a show’s going on is another. Here’s a small sample of what I need to have about my person and immediately accessible during a show …

What a stage manager keeps in her pockets

Some months ago I indulged in a pocket rant to another librarian, bemoaning the uselessness of the feminine version even in combats or cargo pants, with a side whinge about the annoyance of having to buy men’s combats in order to carry all the stuff I need backstage. Unbeknownst to me, however, Laura J can sew … and what’s more, being a librarian, she can recognise that sometimes what the reader asks for isn’t exactly what the reader needs.

The solution? Portable pockets! A short apron – black, naturally, to be invisible backstage; and short enough to climb the ladder to the fly gallery in.


Laura not only came up with the idea; she actually made me the apron too. Here it is in action, backstage at the ADC Theatre during a performance of The Producers. And yes, all the items pictured above (and more) fit in the pockets.

Strangely enough, I know another Laura J who’s also a genius … but that’s another story.