Transylvania 1994, the Griffin returns.
3.00 am, Sunday, 1st November, 1992
Two years later we realise that perhaps we haven't sobered up again as we stand back-stage waiting to launch Transylvania 1994. This is the story of what happened in between......
After the dust had settled from the 1992 Convention and we'd managed to catch up on our sleep we started to read some of the letters we'd received about the first event. Along with some very kind words of thanks, the most common question was 'when is the next Convention?'
The first Transylvania had taken just over two years from the first ideas to the event itself, we decided to hold the next Convention two years after the first, again as near to Halloween as possible.
It was obvious that we would require a larger venue than 1992 as the hotel was bursting at the seams at our first event. We also wanted to find a venue that could show the film as well as stage the 'day' section of the event. Andre Willie, our head technician (and all round nice guy) suggested the Novotel Hotel, Hammersmith so we went to check it out.
The Hotel was all we needed, a huge Convention area with the space to set up a huge screen and projection facilities. There was also space for a dealers room and it even had a bar in the Convention area!
Once again the committee could not have run the event without the invaluable help of our wonderful technical crew, efficient Convention staff and speedy Go-Fers. Special thanks to Davy and Barbara Orr who flew over early to help the rest of us as we hit the usual last week panic of envelope stuffing, merchandise chasing (some of it arrived on the day itself!) and Guest liaison.
We had room for over six hundred people at the 1994 event and as in 1992 the event sold out weeks before the day itself, with a lot of attendees taking up the offer to buy cheaper tickets if they booked early. Many of the attendees at 1994 had also been at the 1992 Convention so they had an idea of what to expect.
It was decided to try to schedule the Guests a little better than in 1992, but as always with these things we ended up having to swap round some of our planed times. The wonderful Patricia Quinn, who was touring in the Stage Show at the time of the Convention brought along some of the other members of the cast and they kindly agreed to go on stage and take part is some question and answer sessions and autograph signings. This was especially appreciated as we knew that they had to be performing on stage in the Rocky Horror Show that very evening!
We also decided to have two hosts for the 1994 Convention rather than spread the day out amongst the whole committee, this also freed Nik's time to be the Stage Manager for the whole event. Steven Edwards and David Freeman (that's me!) were chosen to be the dynamic duo in question, we were however to be joined by a third host on the day. Steven had brought a glove puppet with him for some unexplained reason and during one of our more inspired ad-libs we christened it 'Anchor' as in anchor man. The audience were given instructions to shout a greeting every time the puppet appeared. This of course caused some confusion for a couple of our Guests when the puppet appeared through part of the stage behind their back and six hundred people shouted "Hello Anchor!"
Once again the day proved to be a great success with fans from around the world meeting in their appreciation of that spark of life that we call Rocky Horror. Once again the event finished around three in the morning, seventeen hours after the day started. This time however Stephanie and myself (and also Davy and Barbara) had something other than a Convention planned for 1996, by the time the 1999 Convention came around the kids were each aged three.
Programme of Events 1994
Because we were in a much larger venue we were able to build a set for the Convention. The set was constructed and painted in central London and then dismantled and reassembled at the Novotel Hotel. Alas it is no more, because of fire regulations we had to paint it with a flame resistant coating. On the plus side this meant it wouldn't burn, on the minus side the coating used tends to rot through the wood within a month or two. After the Convention we dumped the set, where it was promptly removed by a local boy-scout group as fire wood for their Guy Fawkes night bonfire! They're probably still trying to light it.
As well as our Guests, alternate film showings and Costume Competitions we also decided to play a few impromptu party games as the day progressed. Of course in best Rocky Horror tradition we decided to try and ensure the games involved the audience as much as possible.
The Rocky Horror version of pass-the-parcel went down particularly well due to the fact that when the music stopped whoever had the parcel had to remove a layer of the wrapping and a layer of their clothing as well! If we do this again we'll make sure boas don't count as a layer of clothing.
Steven was responsible for the spoon-and-string game, I take no responsibility at all, it was all his doing, honest. For those of you who don't know this game, it involves two teams of as many people as possible. They stand in two rows and race to see which team can thread a spoon with a long length of string attached down the inside of the first persons clothes, up the inside of the next persons clothes, etc. Steven had of course kept the spoons and string in the coldest place he could find, he also decided to call for the lunch break just as the teams finished threading forty people with string.
As always we held our quiz game: Get your Rocks Off testing out two teams on their Rocky Horror knowledge, as usual the audience managed to answer more of the questions than the contestants, unfortunately we didn't have six hundred prizes to give out so we disqualified anyone not actually on the stage.
The Convention paused for an hour at 11.00pm for people to get changed and ready for the film showing. As the main rooms were cleared we opened up the dividing doors between the main area and alternate video room, turned round hundreds of chairs and transformed the venue into a cinema. As our attendees were ushered back into the room, the stage set curtains opened up to reveal the projection booth for the film.
Pre-Shows were provided by three different casts at 1994:
Notice we added an eight person after 1992, we felt we needed a spare just in case! (I'm not quite sure how Davy will like being called a bit of spare though)
<<< The Committee pose back-stage with Aiden Bell
Rosalind Monteath Rosalind (also known to many of you as Ros) valiantly womaned the Registrations desk for Transylvania '94, aided by the super-efficient Jan Massie. She also managed to explain to several slightly lost tourists exactly what was going on behind the closed doors of the Convention Area!
All text and images © TimeWarp/Transylvania 1994 onwards. Transylvania name and Griffin Logo © TimeWarp 1994 onwards.