What do you say on holiday as you lie back on a sun lounger? Maybe you let out a little sigh and then “this is the life!”
But forget all that – the term has begun and holidays have gone. New term. New beginning. New cliches about fresh starts with brand new books or plans to go the gym.
There is something special in that ‘first-day’ syndrome. The uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach as you encounter new possibilities for getting it wrong or framing it in a positive way – to learn. When we were young we probably had a churned-up butterfly feeling with a new teacher, a new start, and a new timetable. But we survived. That change pepped us up.
After all, if we just breeze through everything without a care in the world we’d probably not gain anything from the process. As a species, we don’t like change as it unsettles us, but in the performing arts change is part of the process and the best teachers are those who demand it every week. Dull are those who just do more of the same, those whose classes are totally predictable. We’ve all experienced that from school; yawn yawn.
Far better not to know what’s going to happen, to be apprehensive and a tad unsure of what to do. That’s a great place to be because, unexpectedly, you do find a way of dealing with it and the more you do that the more you can deal with it in the future. We are always creating theatre projects, finishing with a bang, and then starting over again with something new. What a way to learn about organising yourself.
There’s always a bit of anxiety when you start again but your previous experience helps you give it perspective. Of course, the greatest stars of the theatre world know this more than anyone because everyone just expects them to deliver, and there are those who like it when you don’t.
These days there’s understandably much talk about not putting young people under too much pressure and of course it has to be handled sensibly but the more chances you get to shine the more you will shine. Now, where’s that sun lounger?
Seriously I’d like to take this opportunity to wish our pupils and everyone involved with Theatretrain a happy new year of work in the performing arts. Believe. Achieve. Exceed.
Kevin Dowsett is Theatretrain’s Founder and Artistic Director; read our full interview with him here.