A week ago the theatres all closed because of COVID-19. I also became spectacularly un-busy. I'm not very good at writing about how this has all made me feel, so instead I have made a GINGERBREAD THEATRE.
Here's how I made it...
STEP ONE - DESIGN
I started with a rough sketch, then built a model out of card. Based on that I made a template for each of the gingerbread pieces.
STEP TWO - GINGERBREAD
I used my mum's trusty gingerbread recipe (thanks Mum) and baked the separate pieces. For the curved sections (the dress circle etc), I rolled a piece of foil into a semicircle and put that underneath the piece of gingerbread to hold its shape whilst it baked.
STEP THREE - pillars and seats
For the pillars I used Mary Berry's Tuille recipe (thanks Mary) - I mixed some of the mixture with cocoa and piped that on to make the chocolate stripes. I had to use heat proof gloves (belonging to my curling tongs!) to roll them up as they were super hot. The seat backs were made out of the same mixture, and the seats themselves (along with the cornices for the front of the building) were made using a Viennese Whirl recipe (again, thanks Mary...)
STEP FOUR - chandelier
I made the chandelier out of melted sugar. I was planning on piping it, but it melted the piping bag, so I just had to drizzle it in place with a spoon. It's not perfect, but then WHAT ON EARTH IS?? I attached it (/my boyfriend attached it) to the roof using a piece of thread...
STEP FIVE - assembly
I got very engrossed at this stage and forgot to take pictures... but I piped the royal icing decoration on to the pieces whilst they were still flat, then glued them together using more royal icing (coloured brown with treacle so it matched the colour of the gingerbread). making the dress circle and upper circle was pretty fiddly, but also very important as that's where I like to sit!
STEP SIX - posters!
These bits are non-edible - cheating I know! I printed out tiny copies of seven of my posters (it was going to be eight but one of the frames broke) and stuck the tuille frames on with icing, then arranged them around the building...
STEP SEVEN - Photography!
With a great deal of shuffling and help from my boyfriend, I managed to get the theatre out of the kitchen and into my study, where I put it on a nice blue background. I used some red and blue gels on the lights, and then lit up the windows from the inside using a torch.
THEN I ATE IT.