Food for thought

My recent short visit to Lisbon – the Portugese capital city – brought back memories for one regular contributor.

Ralph Oswick – former Artistic Director with Bath-based Natural Theatre Company – wrote to tell me of his time there – and he’s dug out some old photos too!

This is me standing dangerously near a Lisbon Expo water feature.

“I love Lisbon. When Natural Theatre Company had a year’s residency at the Lisbon World Expo, in order to boost concessionary sales, the public couldn’t bring their own food onto the huge site.

It was a vast site. The following year it reopened as a public park with many of the attractions still operating…including the Naturals back by popular demand.

There were strict airport-style bag searches at the gates and only one bottle of water per person was allowed. 

There was a section of the fifteen-foot perimeter fence next to our dressing cabin which wasn’t regularly patrolled. On-site refreshments were horrendously expensive, and people started chucking provisions over to their families.

Naturals No Smiling Day, Lisbon World Expo 1998

At first it was just tins of the ubiquitous sardines, but as the news got out, we would see loaves of bread, lumps of cheese and even whole chickens flying through the air.

Controversially, they had to do Green Suitcases now and then, rather than our famous pink ones, as we were partially sponsored by BP. I believe the actors destroyed the cases by jumping on them at the end of the contract .

The sight of diminutive, black-clad grannies taking a run up to lob entire picnic hampers over the wire to their awaiting relatives was hilarious, with everyone scampering away at any sign of the security guys.

Meanwhile, back at security HQ we imagined the burly guards tucking into groaning buffet tables of confiscated comestibles!”

Thanks for that Ralph.