Since February we have been preparing our 100th large-scale show which will be presented at the Royal Albert Hall next weekend.
Yesterday we brought 1,500 young people together from all over the country for the first time. We began to feel the excitement of what young people are capable of when they gather together. They are excited to see the other people involved in the same project and feed off each other. The combined energy is a force to be reckoned with.
A lot of people think it’s just a case of learning moves, songs or steps and then repeating t it until it’s good. That’s not so. A really important ingredient is what THEY bring to the party – of themselves, of their own feelings. It’s important because they are not robots – they are individuals and need to find a place to bring their own creativity.
In one of the rehearsals, I asked 4 students to stand up. I asked everyone else to look at them and observe how they looked. No one likes being stared at by loads of people so unsurprisingly they looked a bit apprehensive and unsure.
Then I went up to them and whispered that they should look at all the different t-shirt colours in the room. When they were stared at this time they looked different – they were more focused and sure of themselves. They were in their own world in front of everyone – using what was in their head.
Performers learn to bring their own feelings, especially in this show which is an exploration of what is going on in the world. They all have feelings about that.
And then the drama offstage. We had to end the rehearsals early because it was just too hot. The big sports halls where we rehearse became too hot to continue in.
So they are going into their first performance without some of that final putting things together. But you know I have total confidence in them. I don’t think they will look apprehensive and unsure in fact I have total confidence that they will own it and be on it. I think the audience is in for a treat, a surprise and maybe something very special.
Good luck to all those performers including many travelling long distances like Exeter and Chester and some even further from Italy and a township in South Africa.