Why don’t I do a show? Said I, one month into my new venture The Attic Theatre School. “I must be crazy” I was telling myself, but, hey, life can be crazy as well as exciting and show time is always fun, isn’t it? So, all I needed was someone else who was crazy enough to do the show with me …. Cue Josh!
I happened to have a meeting with my brother James around the time of this crazy idea (James is a vocal coach and runs a very successful Theatre School, Arts1, in Milton Keynes) and so I shared this craziness with him. James has always been so level headed and would surely talk me out of this idiotic idea. Nope, instead he put a little more fuel in the fire and gleefully bounced off ideas over a very civilised lunch in his kitchen whilst our crazy dogs played around us!
So, back to Nottingham I went with so many things flying around my head (if anyone could have seen my thoughts I think they would have run a mile) and I tried to put ‘said things’ in some kind of order.
I later had a great meeting with Josh who bounced off more ideas (and calmly grounded me when I got over enthusiastic, which is a regular occurrence in our working relationship) which helped me plan a more solid schedule for The Attic’s first show, Once Upon A Time.
It was quite easy to name our show as all great stories start with ‘Once Upon A Time’ and I guess, I thought it was quite apt for the beginning of this exciting new chapter in my life.
Title chosen, content agreed, now for the venue.
I had decided that although I love our Studio Theatre at The College Street Centre, this show was going to be on a much bigger scale, something I hadn’t done for a while so we booked a viewing at The Space at The Nottingham Girls High School.
A couple of my friends had done their school shows there in the past so I had heard great things about it so I thought it was definitely worth a visit. As soon as Josh and I stepped inside the building, I knew it was the right place for The Attic Theatre School’s first show and it was still quite central to Nottingham’s city centre. The Space is huge in comparison to where I had previously put on shows so I knew it was always going to be a risk but when I looked over at Josh and actually got the look of approval, I knew I had to follow my gut instinct.
I’m so glad I did! It is now two weeks since our show and I can honestly say I have never felt more proud than I did that evening. I’m still overflowing with emotions, which is why it has taken me so long to write up this blog!
I have rerun the events of the weekend in my head, just to allow it all to compute because there is just so much to take on board. Our first Technical Day went beautifully, there was no stress, whatsoever! This did concern me slightly, because surely, as the director, I was supposed to be falling into some form of convulsive sweaty heap the day before the show. It was quite the opposite. I actually went to visit my mum after the ‘Tech’ and ended up having a ‘quick’ game of Risk! For those of you who know this game, know that Risk and quick are never in the same sentence! But it felt great! A pre show game of Risk comes highly recommended!
So, then came “Show Day”!Our wonderful Adult Choir once again were ‘all hands on deck’, shifting rostra, (thank goodness for Katie, aka Super woman) organising props, ordering Dominoes (that was on the top of the priority list) and were generally truly amazing.
The Juniors were little superstars all day (and boy was it a long day), they behaved impeccably, they remembered all of their lines, their movement, their entrances and exits, they absolutely couldn’t have made me more proud. I must say, their chaperones were incredible too. I even heard one chaperone was helping one of our younger students eat their packed lunch by creating a ‘picnic’, you are absolute diamonds!
This show was opened by our Inter/Senior students singing ‘Once Upon A Time’ and as soon as I heard the first note, I was gone, a mere blubbering wreck! So many weeks of rehearsing and perfecting had finally come together and to watch our wonderful students, joined by former student and now working actress Jess Nicklin (known as ‘Jessica Temple) and the lovely Simon Collington, glowing on stage doing what they do best, was just incredible. The standing ovation from the whole theatre shows just how wonderful these talented young people are, they really do fill my heart with so much pride.
Words can’t ever express how proud I am of each and every one of my students, they make my job so precious, they really do. To be able to work with not only amazingly talented students, but students who have become my extended family brings me so much joy. I know that sounds like such a cliché but until you experience the journey that we have been on, you can’t understand. These students are absolutely the best to work with. They are always welcoming to new members as well as looking out for each other, and supporting one another as they continue their individual journey’s. We are truly Blessed.
So, the first six months of The Attic Theatre School have been even more amazing than I ever could have imagined and I can’t wait to see what the next six months will bring. . . . I am hoping to schedule a few more ‘Risk’ nights too, after all, isn’t that what life is all about!