Rewind back three weeks and I was heading down to London to perform for the National Youth Theatre’s 60th Anniversary Gala, after a couple of days relaxing it actually seems so long ago. To say I’m not pleased to be back would be an understatement as I can’t wait to get back into training however I’ve been missing London immensely! If you follow my Instagram story it would look like the film Fame, there was singing, acting and dancing lessons going on everywhere and in breaks you would sit and hear people singing and see people going over their lines.
The first week seemed very hectic as we were devising pieces and internal auditions were being held for the parts. In fact coming from the first week I didn’t really know what was going on and I wasn’t the only one either. I’m a reserved character and I did struggle to connect with people but as the week went on friendships were made and someone people were just fantastic. Roll on to the next week and scenes were being acted out and we were told which pieces to learn. Scenes were added and scenes were cut down and rehearsals became later but we all still powered on through.
Come the third week and rehearsals were 10am till 9:00pm. We had run-throughs which means going through each act to work out any technical issues. We had dress rehearsals to see how long everything would take and I did rather enjoy dressing up as a witch from Macbeth for the fashion show scene. A few alumni NYT members popped in to say hi, including Timothy Dalton and Daisy Lewis.
Then it was Sunday, show day. Three weeks of rehearsal had come to an end and that night we would perform in front of 1200 people on the Shaftesbury Theatre stage and for many of us it was our a first time on a West End stage. We had three hours to do a technical run-through but that was it. The wings at the side of the stage were packed with the management team, rails of clothing, props and a lot of cast members. We were based across the road and twenty minutes before the show started we were told to get ready, I was in the first scene so we waited behind the screen whilst audience members chatted away probably not realising we were there. Everyone wished eachother ‘break a leg’ and plenty of hugs went around. It was touching because everyone wanted the best and some lovely words were exchanged and then music came on and the audience fell silent. Show time…
For the next few hours actors would change into plenty of costumes and there were many make-up changes too. To get from one side of the stage to the other, there was a sub stage underneath so actors would be running back and forth for their next entrance. We rubbed shoulders with the celebrities in the wings until it was our turn to be back on stage and when it came to the interval we would run back over to the base area to grab our costumes for Act II. When it came to the end we received a standing ovation and it was truly touching. After all you do this job to inspire and move people and to see that made all the late night rehearsals and bad days worth it because nothing pleases an actor more than seeing that they have been recognised for their hard work. As for the National Youth Theatre, thank you for the opportunity to allow so many actors to perform on a West End stage and for starting so many careers in the industry.