The iceberg illusion of community theatre

The iceberg illusion of community theatre

“Oh, your kids are doing a show……”

This statement is usually followed by “that is so exciting for them”.  Some of the more clued in will also add “that must take up so much of your time”.

Our kids are about to finish up the second week of performances in The Regals Lion King Junior and it reminded me of this image from our friend the Fundraising Whisperer.

I thought you might be interested in just how all the ‘things people don’t see’ manifested during our rehearsal and production run.

  • Lots of Hard work
    • I happened to be partaking in Steptember as we moved into production week, I began skipping my morning walk knowing full well I would hit my 10K target at the theatre each night. If you think of the square metres of the Rockdale Town Hall, you can do the maths and imagine how many times I ran the hallway and went up and down the stair’s backstage between costume changes!
  • Persistence
    • This one was most evident for Jacob, who was tasked with learning to walk on stilts to play the role of a giraffe. He only got his stilts 1 week before tech week and had a steep and short learning curve. He also took a tumble in one of the dress rehearsals, but he dusted himself off because the show must go on!
  • People and Conflict Management
    • It’s always hard to hear bad mouthing, even worse with a cast of kids. Bullying and bitching will not be tolerated and rest assured karma will win! ‘nough said.
  • Sacrificing family time
    • Being in this as a family meant that I have found the time together with a shared cause to be great family bonding time! Our only sacrifice being a split family at 2 productions whilst Paul finished off Les Mis.
  • New friendships and skills
    • For the kids it’s been like back to back play dates every day, that they never want to end. Shout out to the cast and crew who were most caring and encouraging to Jacob after his fall.
    • A massive costume show with fast changes saw some missed cues in the younger cast members during dress rehearsals. They needed to learn to stay calm, set costumes in an organised way and communicate clearly what they needed with costume helpers and backstage crew in order to facilitate them getting on stage on time.

  • Many hours of dedication
    • It’s not just the cast and production team that put in the hours. For this production there were literally hundreds of hours volunteered by a team of costume and prop creators.
    • If I ever paint another giraffe again it will be too soon!
  • Failure and disappointment
    • For this show there were 2 large papier-mâché giraffe heads lovingly and time consumingly designed, moulded and painted. But they ended up too heavy for the kids to lift.  A second set of lighter weight corflute heads were then tested but they wobbled and threw Jacob off balance (afore mentioned stack resulting).  This resulted in not only injury but technically a failure and disappointment for the director’s overall vision.  Jacob himself had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to fulfil his intended role.
  • Planning, paperwork and email
    • I’ve done a show or two in my time, so I knew full well that planning was going to be essential to get us through tech week. I swapped my usual weekly stroll at the supermarket to an online shop.  I wrote out a meal plan (with snacks and suppers included) to ensure we didn’t end up at Maccas or Dominoes every night (not that the kids would have minded)!
    • Many parents did the RMS fandango to get their working with children check clearance to enable them to help backstage and of course “several” emails were exchanged on all manner of topics

All that is just scratching of the surface PLUS remember that was just my family!  Multiply this by numerous people involved in bring the production to the stage!

I’ll leave you with this quote

 

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