May 25, 2022

Zigger Zagger

The first school play I directed, about a zillion years ago, was about football fans and it was called Zigger Zagger. It felt like it had a cast of thousands, but it was between 60 and a 100. For our set I decided that we needed a proper football stand, so I contacted a scaffolding company and they agreed to supply everything we needed for free. It probably wouldn’t be allowed these days.

My father was a woodwork/metalwork teacher, and he helped me create a safe design with cantilevers and all sorts of clever stuff. So, one day a secondary school in Solihull had a large scaffolding lorry arrive. I was summoned! “This looks fun mate – where do you want it?” I directed them to the school hall.

Up to now the rehearsals had been ok but chanting and singing football anthems wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But now I could feel the excitement of the cast – this was going to happen. This was going to be a bit different.

“It totally dominated the large school hall – taking up the entire side.”

“Where’s this bit go, sir?” You can imagine how easy it is for some people to get carried away – and if they are not careful, have someone’s eye out. So, we calmed everyone down and gradually it took shape. There was a basic framework and each added piece strengthened it more. It was cutting edge, although I say it myself – fancy handrails included. It totally dominated the large school hall, taking up the entire side. There was a central entrance, like the players’ tunnel and then stands left and right with planked seating and places to stand. It was quite imposing. Even the Birmingham Evening Mail contributed a large advertising banner on each side.

Once the cast were in place waving scarves, banners, whistles, and even rattles, it looked fantastic. Even the singing, hitherto a bit lacklustre, went up a notch and you started to feel the excitement of the live football match. It was a popular play about a young lad who leaves school with no hope and only lives for his team until he sees that he also needs a life.

“I think his courage had failed him at the last but luckily for me and the cast he arrived and on we went.”

One character played a policeman, and I had gone to the trouble of hiring a real policeman’s outfit. He was a tall boy and it fitted him perfectly. He gave it the right look of authority. On the final rehearsal he didn’t turn up. I went round to his house, heart beating. I think his courage had failed him at the last but luckily for me and the cast he arrived and on we went.

Years later I went to a reunion of the staff. The headteacher was retiring. In his speech he mentioned an incident that he had never forgotten – the day a scaffolding lorry arrived at the school and cracked most of the slabs outside the main entrance. But I prefer to think that nicer things came out of it as well.

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 taster 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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