Well Christmas is just 3 sleeps away and the year is almost done.
Time to chill , snuggle up by warm fires and “count your PACE blessings” .
You’ve come far this year my bright young things and though the PACE year is not over – the Spires Theatre Scene One , sadly is.
Spires Theatre Scene 2014 has produced a bumper creative bag. From Bleakest Northbridgae to somewhere down a Dickensian styled Sewer and everything in between ; and by everything …I mean the little things, that to you , should mean a whole creative lot.
The new PACE friends you will have found , the better textual ‘Understanding’ of it all , the feeling of emotional change in your air , the passion within ‘to learn’ again , to be the core of an elite band of performers who put their Youth Theatre star , right back at the topmost branch of their creative trees.
That’s a lot for anyone …in one creative year. Yes for sure …you have come far …farther than many of your generation.
2014 year has been a year of harder work and great performance results for it – not everyone maybe got to feature ; but the supporting cast that waits impatiently in the wings, now stand more ready than ever , for what 2015 has in artistic store for them.
What a difference a year makes…what maturity comes through experience alone; For just being there !
The prospect of the STS journey may seem “too long and hard” for others , but if you are prepared to board this ‘train’ and visit , all the inevitable stops along the way – the view from the other arty side, is well worth the extra creative ride.
But …an artistic director’s thought…
…Getting off “the STS Acting train ” early, has its consequences – who knows when another one may come by ? or even if the station you decide to step off at , has what you are ‘looking’ for ? …will there be a place for you on the next train by , one that may or may not appear in time , and with your baggage included ?
A thought indeed …
…because it’s always a bit of a risk leaving the scene …before your natural exit.
The Play , as we learn in time , doesn’t make sense …unless you follow it through – to the very end – but maybe only if you wanted to play this drama train game, from the start, for the right personal reasons and not for popular ones.
Remembering why we come to PACE can get confusing amidst all that goes on here, perhaps like standing alone in any Grand Central Station not knowing which platform to go to…surrounded by determined people who all seem to know where they are going – busy getting on with their fast paced lives…
You are never alone , there comes a point for all of us , when we just “stop and stare” and hope a sign appears, to show us the way …
…maybe this post is a sign of hope for someone today ..to keep them going forward, despite and regardless.
To Be, or not to Be ….that is actually an answer.
What we should definitely BE at the start of every new STS year we decide to stay for , is resolved “to do it better” and ” with more feeling” …next time round; to care more passionately when we are here about why we come and to make the training ride we choose , matter personally , in the longer run of our life’s future.
There are lots of different kinds of Performance trains you can board here : fast trains , slow trains , commuter trains, scenic-route trains , cargo trains , up hill steam trains, vintage styled “Orient Expresses ” sleek with endless possibility and even good old school “Thomas the Tank Engine”. Because every engine has its own way.
The best loco-motive to push you farthest in STS , is for me , always going to be ” the Polar Express” – because it’s the only one that makes you believe – that anything is possible ” when you open your mind to the potential of the impossible and the significance of what you once felt – childlike – “more naturally”.
The Acting Bell like the movie’s , will only ring true, for those that choose to listen with better , more open ears and see with more soulful creative vision.
Which brings me seasonly on to the subject of films and television this Christmas.
With the advent of the SPACE , Chrysalis ECCO and NTC15 – (yet more exciting STS training ways to go ) we have to consider what our old friends ” the big and small screen ” can offer us this time of year?
No I’m not talking about “phones” here. I’m talking about the thing that sits in the corner of your living room around which we used to gather ” en famille” to help celebrate Christmas.
As a child, I remember the TV Christmas films were something that we waited eagerly for each year. With no DVD , Sky or Video, this was a chance to relive the magic of cinema from our sofas. A thing not to be missed , a moment to saviour for the year ahead
Yes I suppose they were simpler more innocent times in some ways.
They certainly compelled you together with others, for shared festive experience, and that in itself is never a bad thing.
There is a magazine that still stands for these days of Christmas Past – it’s called The Radio Times , it’s not so popular relative is the TV Times ( don’t know why , just Xmas fact ).
Both magazines give listings of programmes over the Festive Period. Yes TV Guide does the same on your set …but The RT gives crits and recommendations along side the programmes and helps viewing choice become less of a lucky dip and more of an ‘odds on favourite’.
You may already have a copy in the house , you may be able to find it as an app on one of your devices .and with the marvel of Sky+ It also means you can now record things any time, any place , anywhere …no longer a reason for missing out then?
From today onwards till early January, TV generally gets better. Good dramas , with better acting are few and far between these days, so take advantage of it while you can , if you can’t there is always Netflix to trawl your more creative way through – I’ve yet to come away from it saying ” there’s nothing to watch “.
TV wise however, here’s the STS guide to channel surfing :
ITV does (I think) produce a better choice in terms of one-off drama and series – a bit of something for everyone.
Good two or three part dramas or one- offs – and all repeat on ITV Encore at some point – thrillers , mysteries, love stories , life stories …human interest and film dramas made for TV
(Warning – don’t let “dated-looking” production values put you off – good plot and good actors are drama universal – same for older and “black & White” films – give them a chance – the brain will except difference eventually once it hooks into meaning – same goes for any subtitled drama – Borgen , The Killing , The Bridge , the Tunnel and The Returned are all brilliant foreign dramas to watch – stunning acting , great plot and twists , just not acted in English and usually on
BBC 4 – another great channel for pushing you out your viewing comfort zone )
BBC 1 tends to like series-based dramas , to hook an audience in on a regular basis – Sunday night no exception – it has in my opinion , become a little guilty of popularism over the past few years , but still does classical and period dramas like no other channel (except ITV and DOWNTON ABBEY – a series to cut your baby acting teeth on and grow up STS style with !)
Recent BBC1 drama ” Remember Me ” was really fantastic to watch – a 3 part ghost story – scary and addictive , a return to BBC quality entertainment – hope Christmas brings more like this to the screen
“Catch up” on it if you can find it – certainly worth an acting look …
BBC2 produces one off gems for the small screen , a little more demanding in terms of intellect , but not to be underestimated as quality drama to watch by anyone.
“The Fall” was a series like this , very very mature themes , but VIDS-ful acting by the amazing cast – definitely not suited to younger viewers – screened after the 9.30 Watershed for good reason – and at times I even had to ” look away “.
BBC 2 likes to commission work that has an effect and reason – it challenges perceptions of the world and doesn’t apologise for using ” big words ” and ” more difficult concepts “.
BBC3 – in contrast is quirky and unpredictable – can be more aimed at youth and early twenties market …comedy orientated too, occasionally a treat lurks there, if you’re lucky to plan viewing ahead
BBBC 4 – fascinating channel sometimes for different programmes , fab foreign dramas, highbrow( intellectual ) dramas to get the little grey cells moving , weird one off arty documentary dramas and human and global factual insight programmes ( the radio 4 equivalent of “thinking person’s ” TV channel ) – always worth a look over Christmas too – I saw an amazing drama on the life and work of Russina Chroegorpaher Diaghilev – which inspired the movement for Panto 2013 …always something “to get” from the strangest things !
Channel 4 and E4 actively try to reach a younger audience – they can be a bit Drama hit or miss at times , but their Film 4 channel is fantastic for lower budget , non blockbuster films with real punch and heart. Their American import series like HOMELAND can be amazing to watch too . Just wait for HOUSE OF CARDS….to hit our screens ( EPIC!!!!!!!)
“Breaking Bad” is already on the way – age restriction again!
Sky and its huge channel family , opens up the world in terms of viewing, but beware of going the reality TV route too much …
TLC and WATCH can be addictive time machines that suck you in for weekly life….
Sky Atlantic is watchable when there is a great one-off drama on …they also tend to like long series , that you can get as Box Sets …to catch up with
( look out for any one-off American Emmy nominated dramas that may be on over Christmas and New Year )
SKY ARTS is wonderful – a feast of plays , ballet , music , opera and world culture – dip into it and see how your horizons just explode …nothing ventured …
Many a Verona type affair is on SKY ARTS and last year their CHRISTMAS CRACKER play series were full of outstanding performances and a mere half an hour of quality drama.
(Cara Delvigne even debuted in one of them…)
The rest of viewing is a mixture of luck, chance and being in the right place at the right time – oh my …I’ve just described an actors ultimate destiny !
The point of this ” sign post ” is not to make you have to do this , but to encourage you to open your eyes and mind to the potential More interesting views that exist outwith your “tele comfort zone”.
The strictly, X factor , dance moms, gypsy Hell bake off made in soap , kitchen , of it all …
Just because that’s all you seem to watch doesn’t make it the only thing you are capable now of watching
We are what we repeatedly do , we do what we see , we see what we become…
Don’t be lazy with your bigger picture of life.
Why not start this New Year with a better more challenging and maybe quesrioning view ?
Try and watch – ( Charlie Brooker’s ) BLACK MIRROR on Channel 4 catch up …it is fast becoming a drama series that is already a cult classic and famed for its hard hitting subject matter , some of the past BLACK MIRROR TV plays have been really disturbing to watch but highly moralistic and deeply and personally engaging however uncomfortable.
The BLACK MIRROR Christmas special, ” WHITE CHRISTMAS” aired last week but is still available, and worth an ” acting platform ” visit
(Get it on Netflix if not)
This Channel 4 commission seeks to make us look at our future through the uber eye of SOCIAL MEDIA
But make sure, if “younger” , you have your parents permission to watch it – it does contain some mature themes.
This contraversial look at the role of Social Media in the future , really opens our ” blocked ” eyes to the world today
So ‘apt ‘ for the type of work we will press play with in 2015.
A cynical view of things to come …maybe Charlie Booker is the sombre TV ghost of Christmas Future sent to save us from ourselves …the mirror is black for a reason.
What tomorrow will bring is anyone’s dilemma , especially if we go on , as we are bound technologically to do…
And on this TV chilling note I depart , my creative train of thought is “snowbound” for now …presents ,shopping , food , the last minutdom of it ‘festive’ all …you know how Christmas gets …?
But one thing I have done is bought the Radio Times and it’s waiting patiently on the coffee table for the moment I can draw breath , sit down with a skinny latte and a low fat mince pie and feast on all it might offer me…us …for next year.
Look forward to discussing “said programme” with you , in due PACE culture course
Merry Christmas to all…and to all a “good sight”