April 27, 2022

Expect the Unexpected

I was at a rugby match the other day and it made me think again about the joy you get from the spectacle and the power of a big crowd.

If we went back thousands of years to Roman or even Greek times we know they built huge amphitheatres like the Colosseum in Rome. Here the sport was wild hungry animals versus people or people versus people. Spectators were excited to witness a life and death situation. Fortunately, our lives are less grisly but that need to beat your opponent or feel big emotions on a big stage is still there.

“Luck plays a part but so does good technique and experience.”

The successful sports team works together like a well-oiled machine. Luck plays a part but so does good technique and experience. A vital part is the ability to immediately respond to what is happening in front of you.

And so it is with performing. Young people are understandably largely focused on themselves. But if you put them in a situation where they don’t know what is going to happen next then what a preparation for life that is. And what fun. We help to make less anxious people because they learn to deal with it.

A lot of people think performing is about learning the lines, the moves, and words and off you go. Job done. Not a bit of it – that’s only the starting point. 

Like in sport you know where you are trying to reach but are you ready for the audience? This doesn’t bother your average 6-year-old. They don’t worry about what people think they just do what they do. Stand at the side of a stage and they have less fear than a 14-year-old, who is perhaps more aware that things can go pear-shaped.

“There was a pause then the child stood up and beamed a big smile.”

This is why at Theatretrain we don’t rehearse and rehearse and rehearse until everyone is so bored and ends up performing like a robot – everything planned in advance but dead. For sure there is repetition, but I think about the young pupil who fell over as they were running off with their group. The audience gasped – were they alright? There was a pause then the child stood up and beamed a big smile. The audience cheered and clapped. The child looked around entranced by the moment and went on their way. That connection between the stage and the audience was made more special.

We teach our pupils not to take everything for granted. We might want an audience to laugh but if they don’t, what do you do? Unlike working for a camera, you must adapt and vary what you do. For us the theatre is the best training because it is NOW.

This is where we come back to sport, only in our game we all know the material but at the same time we are working with or against the audience. What fun to make an audience laugh and then make them wish they hadn’t because it’s become serious. I love it when audiences open their mouths or smile or laugh. It’s hard work sometimes but so rewarding – when you get them on the edge of their seats it makes you feel like a winner and does wonders for your self-esteem. 

That’s why I often say to teachers, “I like what you are doing but can you be more unexpected?”

Our Award-Winning performing arts schools, teaching young people skills in dancing, acting, and singing can provide your child with a performing arts class that encourages teamwork, confidence, friendship, communication skills and so much more. If you would like to find out more about our weekend stage schools or your child has shown an interest in attending drama, dance and singing lessons then visit our website www.theatretrain.co.uk to book a trial session.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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