My Am Dram Stagey Life….Never Work With Animals or Children

Working with Animals…an Alternative Approach!

As part of my over commitment to amateur dramatics I have been and done some unusual things but the recent set of auditions I ran possibly takes the biscuit….the dog biscuit that it!

Me with Charlie at Brufts!

I am currently directing am amateur production of Legally Blonde and for those of you that know Legally Blonde (which is like, everybody right?) knows that a chihuahua (Bruiser)  and a bulldog (Rufus) make several appearances in the show. So once we had cast the humans we had to turn our attention to our four-legged friends.

Rather than just ask around for a chihuahua and Bulldog we thought it would be a good idea to hold auditions for the said dogs. We then got thinking we are society that don’t do things by halves….why not have a whole dog show and invite all breeds! The name came instantly from our Chairman and Mr Musical Theatre Musings…Being Bromley Players and the famous dog event being named Crufts….. ‘Brufts,’ was given its name. Of course it being Legally Blonde everything had to be pink themed and we encouraged all dogs and owners to dress in a ‘pop of pink.’

The Judging Panel

That was how I found myself on a judging panel for a dog show several months later, deciding which dog had the waggiest tail and which one I wanted to take home! Surrounded by 37 dogs which included 6 Chihuahuas and 3 bulldogs plus our local MP.

Joining me on the panel was our Elle and Paulette and luckily someone who actually had some knowledge about dogs and dog shows, a committee members mum! She took us though each category, what we needed to look out for, how to set up some of the games and the actual logistics i.e. each dog (and their owner) coming up in turn. Due to her there was actually some semblance of reason in our judging!

Some of our Best Dressed Entries

The day opened with novelty categories like prettiest bitch, although purportedly some of our members wanted to enter not realising we were referring to the dog, best dressed; which saw everything from a bow on the collar to full on outfits including shoes, glasses and noses, best veteran and waggiest tails, where the dogs that had been very exciting moments before decided to stop wagging their tail the moment they came to be presented to the judges.

Our Rufus with Paulette

The second part of the day was the skill based games which included best trick, best speak on demand (snuck in their as ideally Brusier is supposed to be able to bark on command), temptation alley (could you run up an alley lined with cakes or chocolate and just ignore them?!) and fastest recall. We ended with our crowning of our show dogs – Bruiser and Rufus. Our Rufus, the bulldog actually went to a family of 3 Bulldogs, yes the only 3 that were there but they were all adorable! There were several chihuahua’s competing for the ‘honour’ so we decided to part share (!) and controversially one of them was a Chihuahua/Pomeranian cross but was so remarkably obedient that we couldn’t not cast them.

Our Bruisers with Elle & Serena

It is worth noting that we don’t tend to have understudies in amateur theatre but where the dogs are concerned we ended up with 5 dogs cast to play 2 parts! Next thing is to find out who is the ultimate pushy stage parent…dog owners or stage moms. In times of madness like this I just have to remind myself, ‘It could be worse….I could be directing Annie.’

To find out more about our production of Legally Blonde and to see our winners onstage feel free to visit our website. 

With thanks and credit to William Rye for allowing me to use his photos.

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