I love it!
Watching it, doing it, breathing it, sleeping it.
It’s what I do.
I’ve been involved with performing arts for as long as I can remember (and probably a good few years before that too).
My mum took me to ballet classes when I was 2½. Not because she wanted me to be the next Margot Fonteyn, but more that I had far too much energy and she thought it might burn some of it off.
But I loved it.
By the time I was 4, I was doing drama too.
My childhood was spent, literally, doing dancing competitions and dance and drama exams.
I did it because I loved it, not because I was pushed to do it like so many of my friends were. My mum always said if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to do it. My dancing friends’ mum’s made them do it, mostly because they wanted to see their daughters succeed where they had failed.
I knew I would never be a dancer – too tall for ballet, and entirely the wrong shape – but that didn’t matter, I didn’t want to go to dancing school I was far too academic and liked studying. I just loved to dance, still do in fact. I still try to do some ballet exercise, but these days I tend to do ballroom and latin 😉
Drama, on the other hand, was a completely different kettle of fish.
Oh I loved it, and more than anything I wanted to act for a living. I did go to drama school and got a scholarship, but it was not to be – I still dream that one day Adrian Noble will spy me in a local production and ask me to be in his next production at the National. I know this will never happen, but it’s nice to dream 😉
When I was 15, I branched out and joined the local operatic society. I got to sing, dance and act, all at once in a musical (which were, and still are my most favourite of films to watch). In my twenties I joined the local acting company too.
What a thrill. I could do what I loved, do shows I’d otherwise only ever dream of doing and still go out and earn a living. And more importantly, it was fun.
The one thing that has recently come to light was a conversation I had with a couple of people about am-dram. They were of the firm belief that the only people who did am-dram were those that wanted to show-off, people who want people to look at them.
In my opinion, this is not true of everyone. Oh, I will admit there are some people who do it because they want to show-off and want attention – and in my experience these are the type of people that you see on X-Factor who think they are great, but aren’t (you know the type).
First and foremost am-dram is a hobby. Yes, it takes up a lot of time and energy, but at the end of the day it is just a hobby like golf!
And the first rule of any hobby is enjoyment.
I am not saying that the people who just do it to show-off don’t enjoy it, but that should always be the crux of doing it.
I am not one of those who does it to show-off. I do it because I love it and it’s part of who I am. Even when I haven’t been in shows, I have always been able to find something to do with performing arts.
I am happy skulking around at the back of stage in the chorus, or in a lead role. And I don’t go for leads for the glory. I go for the challenge. the challenge of getting the part and then creating a believable character, getting under their skin, and living in their world for 2 hours – or however long the play is.
And Doctor Theatre is a marvellous tonic, because for those 2 hours, I can stop having to think about my life, and live in a world of imagination and make-believe.
And if I was one of those showy-offy people I wouldn’t get quite so nervous as I do – to the point of sickness. I understand nerves are normal, and I have mechanisms for coping, i.e., doing the same thing every night before a performance, from getting to the theatre at the same time, listening to the same songs in the car, doing the same things in the same order, etc.
But I do not like people staring at me. I hate it! It makes me want to curl up and hide away.
And that’s what a lot of people don’t get, or understand. They say “how come you can go on stage wearing this and doing that, but you don’t want to stand and make a speech?”
The answer is quite simple! If I was making a speech it would be me, when I’m on stage, it’s not me!”
But when it stops being enjoyable, I stop!