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July 15, 2017



Hello! I (Charlie) wanted to wrap up my time on the Performer’s Playground course. A friend of mine once said to me that reflection is a vital part of the learning process that is so often missed. Without it there is no time to consolidate the lessons learnt and the journey made so far. So here we go!


Let’s start with the show though. What a show! As I said before the devising process really took over the last three weeks of the programme, and suddenly we were navigating the realms of working creatively as an ensemble together with utilising our new performance skills. I have to say I am very proud of how we managed these relationships, tensions did rise at times, but the ending result felt supported, and the work we presented was great. I think everyone’s heart was in the right place throughout. We each tried to facilitate each other, even if sometimes our view of the work or style of a piece might have differed.


The show itself was predominantly bouffon. We used bouffon to play with our relationship to the audience, to create fun between us, but we also managed to make it so that we had some beautiful monologues from Elizabeth, Sean, and Chantelle, all framed by this “pushy parents” family. This was something that felt very on point, as our aim for the showcase had been to find ‘the bastard’ in our own lives and that of our largely middle class and liberal audience.


Of course when I say “we devised” I am giving far too little credit to Mark and Alice. They have been fantastic throughout but real credit must be given to their shaping of the final showcase. Personally, I’ve had a few of my friends tell me how much the enjoyed the section I was in. One friend congratulated me on how clever it was, and all congratulations need to go to Mark on that behalf as I had very little to do with the construction of the scene (for those interested, it was the one with the lovely English homeless man who hopped onto stage in a tent). Sometimes I feel a need to take creative control of a scene, but it was great to feel free to relinquish that and simply find the fun in the performance. I think that degree of trust in the work really paid of. There’s a sneaky little lesson for you. (Or is this entirely for my own selfless needs?).


What else to be said? Special thanks to Helen who, unable to make the bulk of the rehearsals, stepped into a stage managerial role and general pinner of costumes, and whose support was invaluable. Thank you to everyone who came to watch what was a pretty unusual show (and particular intense for a 3.15pm showing on a Saturday – so thanks to those wonderful audience members). I got to be onstage in my underwear which is always a dream come true, so thanks to everyone really for putting up with that. And just to say what a brilliant ending to a course, a perfect opportunity to use all the skills we learnt and really note the changes in ourselves as performers, and I know that Mark and Alice would say that is largely down to the time dedicated to our own personal progression, and it’s so true. So again, a massive thank you to Mark and Alice for dedicating their time, and to Z-arts, the Methodist Church, and STUN to putting up with us. And of course thanks this bunch of clowns.






BUT WAIT. Still want to see more clowns? Well Alice and Mark, instead of taking a breather, are instead putting on Manchester’s first Clownfest! 28th & 29th July, Exchange Square with some incredible performers coming to Manchester. Come come come!


AND the next course begins 4th November 2017 - 17th February 2018 (12 weeks)! DO IT!

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