Fighting out of the Fringes: The beauty of the school show.
Thank goodness it’s over. An unnecessarily blue coloured theatre that should in all honesty be painted black, piles of parents and siblings of the cast, a drizzly February night with hastily dampening printed toilet signage – it can only be a school show.
Directing non-actors who have to concentrate on their other 9 GCSE subjects or 4 A-Levels; dealing with expectations of brilliance despite the fact that due to exams you only get the theatre for devastatingly minimal periods of time; dealing with all the demands of your own working day as that still has to be done – just three frustrating blows of the above drizzly school show.
Having accepted these, there are few things as genuinely exhilarating, formative or as essential to the life and soul of a school. Or give me as much joy. As the first two paragraphs may highlight if you are of a grumpy disposition (my natural state of grace) then the school show can be hell. All done for little thanks, all done outside of contracted hours and all done with people who haven’t been through the process of creating a show more than a tiny, child-sized handful of times before. But there is something magical and wholesomely uplifting to be found in it when it’s done right.
It can be a humbling experience – aiding people who will make the theatre of the future, and people who will never do any theatre ever again, come together and make something genuinely worthwhile. Something for a community. Something that is about pleasing others and not about individualism.
Now all that remains is to catch up on all the work and rest that has had its urgency masked by the necessity of a scheduled production. Only a few weeks to get our A-level work completed before the theatre is lost, as it always is (and should never ever be if the people controlling these things were blessed with enough money to fulfil a decent vision) to the army of students quiet in their rows, pens poised and tests before them. The school show, stressful though these things are, seems such an infinitely better and more transformational purpose for that space. Yes, it’s a shame it’s over.Tagged in: education, Fighting out of the Fringes
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