Wow! Our performance at The Scoop last week was a great success and we can’t wait to share live footage very soon! In the meantime, here’s what Theatretrain Founder and Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett had to say about it all:
On Saturday I watched a microcosm of how Theatretrain works. Young people from 22 Theatretrain centres across the UK came to London to perform. Having learnt the 13 numbers and moves online at home, 120 Theatretrain students met for the first time in a quiet corner of Potters Fields Park by Tower Bridge. This was their first chance to do something like this since the pandemic and they were ready to go.
At Theatretrain we don’t hold auditions, we welcome everyone. Those who had done this before were up for it and on it! They gave it some and their actions were precise and powerful. When they sang they opened their mouths, and a big sound came out. But there were others who had not done anything like this before and I couldn’t help noticing that they seemed surprised by the intensity of the people around them and unsure how to handle it. While the confident ones were focused and engaging their pretend audience, the newcomers were tentative, pushing their hair behind their ears and making eye contact with their friend in a sort of giggly “what’s-this-all-about” kinda way; their vocals were gentle and movements reluctant.
I felt for them, because nothing can prepare you in life for an experience that you don’t feel part of – where you even feel like an outsider. Whether they were shy or thrown by the level of commitment and professionalism around them, eventually these students grew into it and soon realised what we are all about and how thrilling performing to a live audience can be. After some encouragement they relaxed, made bigger arm movements that extended their reach – and voices that travelled a further distance. A couple of songs later they were singing with gusto and enjoying being part of something bigger. What a change, gradually this group of 120 different people became a team – one voice. Their confidence grew because they took it from those who were already showing the way.
And then the backing track player ran out of power and that was that.
Everyone wondered what would happen next. And it was going so well!
A mobile was produced and the soloist for each number held it near their ear and sang out. Without a backing track to help them the whole choir managed to get their note from the soloist – which is not easy to do. But they did it. In that moment there was a spirit of “we-can-make-this-work-somehow-together”. And it did, it made everyone an equal. So much so that when, an hour later, they took to the stage you couldn’t spot who was an old hand and who was new to this. They were collectively one team, and their confidence was as impressive as their performance.
What I was watching was the heart of the Theatretrain process. By becoming a big group everyone steps up to a place of intensity and purpose, more than perhaps they had believed they could be. Everyone learns from everyone else.
When those newcomers get back to their centres they will carry inside a different sense of how you prepare and how you perform. In a few minutes some of those people caught something of themselves. How you have to commit and bring enthusiasm and energy to make something work properly – that’s something they can carry their whole life.
We can’t wait to share live footage of the event and continue to celebrate our 30th year over the coming weeks. If you have any photos and videos from this event or any Theatretrain memories you’d like to share, please get in touch with our Content Manager, Jennifer Le Roux. We’re also always on the lookout for new Centre Directors to expand Theatretrain across the UK, so please do send your recommendations or check out more about how you can open your own centre.