Monday, 5 June 2017

Just about right!

It's rare to say any production is 'without blemish', but that's what the Adjudicator said of our recent production of 'Just' at the Welwyn Youth Drama Festival before awarding it first prize and the Adjudicator's Prize for our chorus work. A tremendous achievement for the group, but tinged with sadness as it will be the last production at Best for most of the cast. But on further reflection there is a warm glow of satisfaction as we see them fly the Best nest.

In their time with Best, each has faced and overcome their own challenges. Each has their own individual blend of ability, hard work and commitment. And bearing in mind we have NEVER auditioned for this group, all they have achieved is down to their talent, attitude and receptiveness to input. They have each taken their own very different route to where they are now.

Some joined us in First Class as 4/5 year olds and developed through Best, Best School of Acting and TheBYTE. Others joined us later, already committed to theatre, and brought with them new energies and artistic dynamics. They come from very different family backgrounds and school experiences. But they have forged unbreakable social bonds which we hope/trust/know will last them for many, many years into their adult lives. Yes, they've enjoyed huge success with Just and at the National Theatre in 2015, but they were merely points of validation.

So as they head off to university, RADA and LAMDA they have a foundation of absolute trust, genuine respect, huge confidence, close friendship and (yes) love upon which to base their futures.

We'll miss them, but wow! what a time they've given us...

Hard on their heels comes the next super-talented bunch and we are excited to think what they might achieve too. 'The Birds' at the Roman Amphitheatre of Verulamium is their next big challenge. Come and support them - tickets available here!

And now we're recruiting the next team of young people from years 7,8 and 9 who will blaze their own exciting trail over the next few years.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Musings on a train

brief moment of calm on a train to take a deep breath in the middle of what is the busiest period we have ever had at Best - 9 full public shows and 3 private showings in the space of 4 weeks. Add on the dress rehearsals and techs for each show and the costuming, marketing and administration and you'll start to get an idea of what we've taken on. 

If we total the casts in each performance we get 364 young theses treading the boards at 6 different venues.

The house is totally chaotic, my to-do list is ludicrous and yet...

...this is what we do! 

We (Annette, Lisa and I) often discuss the realities of working in the theatre world - 99% of it is  plain hard work! Loading vans, lugging stage weights, packing costume, screwing bits of wood together, painting wobbly bits of set, sorting out non-functioning tech, sourcing bizarre props from unlikely sources, organizing casts etc. at Best most of the cast and the parents are totally removed from all of this and perhaps it's only when they get to TheBYTE that they begin to appreciate some of these aspects.  And for people like us it becomes what they love about the theatre. Getting shows on no matter what the odds. Doing the jobs that need doing. Putting in the hours. All without complaint and with a smile. All for one and one for all! 

We insist that our students show absolute aspect to any member of theatre staff they meet, whatever their role. This is why we were so thrilled with the way TheBYTE conducted themselves at The National Theatre in 2015- exemplary. And hopefully they will exercise the same courtesy whatever exalted heights they reach in their careers. 

It is this kind of grounding that makes a true professional - not someone seeking shortcuts through reality TV or the diva histrionics so beloved by gossip columns. A true professional understands just what it takes to get a show on and even if they are called to the stage from dressing room #1 or to the set from a luxurious Winnebago that grounding in reality will earn the respect and cooperation of any crew. Never forget how much hard work of so many people has given you the platform for your success!

Anyway, enough musing. This Sunday we're at the Hertford Theatre with our wonderful Hertford school for Dreamcatcher. The glitterball is arriving on a motorbike, the rest of the tuffcrates and costume rails will be piled into Lisa's van and five months hard work by the cast will have but one day to blossom. Then it all gets packed away and we move on to the next one...