As I travel

As students, we have to work. This term we have worked on large-scale directed projects. Kim went to Rochester – performing in the Charles Dickens festival, a performance which was acclaimed by all (myself included). I went to Oldham, taking a Theatre in Education piece into primary schools, performing to years 3,4 and 5. The process was, well a process and a half. Devising from the stimulus of a novel which I could not finish, to practically perfecting the theory of viewpoints and working with someone who I can only describe as the worlds most patient composer – it left me in quite a tizz, to put it quite politely. My patience is not my most sparkling feature at the best of times and it was worn to the thinness of cheap toilet paper too frequently to care to explain. But, after many hours of rehearsal and several coffees later we made a show. An actual show. Called ‘Under the Lid’. And we took it on tour – to Oldham – statistically the area with the lowest engagement with higher education, particularly within the arts, in the UK. During the week we lived together, ate together and performed together. We got to know each other in a truly unique and in-depth way – from drinking our alcohol of choice whilst sharing lemon tart we formed as a cast which was proven to be able to get on and show the show through thick and thin. We really did experience what stress was. But we continued and continued and pushed our way through 10 shows, 6 schools and an education centre. And now we are travelling home. As I hurdle down the motorway at 70mph I am able to reflect on 9 weeks worth of work, Monday to Friday, 9 AM till 5 PM in a small and stuffy rehearsal room into a small and stuffy minibus with a long suffering clutch which did make me question how much longer I had left to live at times into a undoubtedly deprived town. It was there, in the wooden floored school halls where the kids sat watching our play, show after show day after day I realised there literally is no telling what the future can hold. One audience can be transfixed – held gaze, jaws dropped with audible ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ – whereas in another teachers manners undermined the kids, and other teachers seemed to be as apprehensive to the idea of a play taking up an hour of curriculum time as I am eating food with a name I can’t pronounce. After, I would like to think we won them over. Maybe not all, but definitely some. And it’s those few words of positive feedback that make these experiences worth it. You can forget your sleep deprived brain and the fact your costume smells of a weeks worth of sweat sunk into it because you know you made someone smile and that feeling is just incomparable. And as I travel down and down to London that is what I choose to remember. And that is why I love doing drama.