A year’s end is always an emotional affair; emotional and a bit tired; kind of like the Christmas decorations that hang there still , ready and willing to go into their box for another year.
All good things must come full circle and I think this year in PACE has seen cast circles growing and closing for good.
I went for a walk today …really didn’t want to , the rain was pelting down and the sky a huge grey mass , no light , just a heavy presence , as if it too knew this year was almost done.
But I put on my new Bear Gryll’s winter dog-walk jacket and headed down to my favourite park, a park that’s seen its fair share of show muses and cast bonding sessions….
And it all rather came back …in a flood of broken branches and fallen leaves sort of a way.
Like one of those FB memory collections , the snaps of the past you suddenly remember , just when you thought they’d gone forever
A year ago it was all about a tree, many budding leaves and 12 solid branches. It was about a group of teenagers rediscovering their childhood on a flying fox in deep icy midwinter . It was hot chocolate and flocking , standing on logs and trying to find character , a group in search of a play start , a remote adventure waiting to unfold
And in the middle of the park was a tree , boughing down its bare branches , ready to lift up those that wanted to climb ; climb all the way to the very top .
We climbed that Tree slowly, purposefully , and maybe we did alter our perspective on things . We certainly changed , we weren’t the same people after it , we were fuller inside – where it drama matters .
We said goodbye to our Tree , sometime in June , a Holi affair , that let everyone finally show their truer colours and we left our Lyceum stage higher than we had dared to climb before .
Reaching The Top is such a cliche , a limiting expression I feel , for our grander experience ; Let’s just say , we came , we saw , we appreciated each other so much more and something shifted , just below our rib cage , somewhere left of each and every heart.
But as our nature journey closed , another was simultaneously beginning, a lonelier ODYSSEY that was to bring forth a greater performance for its voyagers.
What do they say ? In SPACE , no one hears you scream …
True for some perhaps that never completed their mission. But always hope for those that persevered and made it aboard the Spaceship Endeavour 2015
The “star gazers” were amazed at what they saw . Did anyone expect it to be so dazzling a Mid Summer sight?
For in so little time, came forth such a Big Creative Bang , that would launch a better SPACE for many to aspire to be part of in more determined PACE future.
Many stars shone that June night , a few kind of burned out , and some sadly disappeared for good , into other further galaxies.
It was the best of times…the worst…at times …but harder work and a few stiff talks , brought greater reward and a connected once again company came together but for the briefest of Theatre moments.
Summer days , summer show nights and then “the dramatic fairies” appeared to us , to lighten our way once more ….
It’s “the way” that matters here. Oh yes it is …
Spires Theatre is less “youth” theatre and more a Method youth fully of Acting.
It’s in the way we do things , the rules we understand more instinctively how to play by, the pursuit of excellence in everything , the not-just-because were kids policy that sets us apart from others “out there”
Breaking on through to the other side , is always a bit of a PACE V SPIRES gamble . What if it doesn’t work out ? But …what if it does?????
MAHONIA means “evergreen” – did you know that ? and once again I’m reminded of the Park I walked in today
No matter what time of year, there is always something green , something ready to bloom again, something worth watching , worth saving -for a change.
There are shows and there are EPIC experiences and speaking for myself , for once , I can honestly say what happened in a short week last summer , was truly epic.
This evergreen environment was the place to find yourself again after time away , times gone by …time passing …it was a theatre legacy to be prouder of …
Tick Tock , tick Tock , the town hall clock chimed our Autumn PACE restart , but with faery feet and folk rich hearts …it was as if we’d never been away.
PRIDE fuelled our pace , as we strode out in new dramatic fashion with renewed cultured purpose in our CAPMON style.
DIOR may have been our showy FRENCH muse but a 2021 CULTURE CITY TAG become our new guiding light, as PACE bidded welcome , a brighter town future with better THEATRE , ARTS and youthful CREATIVE DESIGN.
SHOW ME SOMETHING NEW ….
So said the brand slogan of THE TURNER PRIZE 2015…
So we did , as SLEEPING BEAUTY spun its way magically into the hearts and souls of thousands of its audiences , pivoting on its axis of creative stage play , professionally managed by those who created the Scene.
Watching the show again today , I was struck by the diligence and commitment of it’s younger team cast
The Professionals were the same, as one would expect in a longer run, but here were 20 others who had changed so dramatically in their own special way.
I’m sure it was the same for all the others , I hope you understand that I saw only this team again because of a more “familiar” connection I have to it . Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m not just a PACE Theatre mum , but a mother to someone in it.
This aside, I think I stayed away this year so much easier , because I had in my Panto Tutor , someone who cared as I do , about quality over acquiescence.
Someone who just knew instinctively, how to keep all the theatre plates spinning – drama well .
In conversation with her today , we both agreed that this year’s youth chorus probably had their fair share of ups and downs , some …more than others; but as a whole …this lovely Play , has come beautifully Full Circle.
Each Team opened and as I write this , the last Team will close . The way it should be, the way it has been for years.
I was touched by the genuine tears of two much younger members this morning after they left their stage …they cried like their whole world was over …
And I knew how they felt , how for them , this wasn’t just a social occasion …it was a life time of moments they would never feel again …until next time , but …maybe next time they’d be different, better or worse for school wear …?
Who knows …time will tell .
One thing’s for sure …PACE will be here to help them , every step of the way.
I think they both have much to learn , but I think they started opening their circle , that little bit wider , to let some creative light in …to guide them better in future. And that’s no bad thing in this complicated age we live in.
Life’s a circle in the end , and so is , cliche though it seems – PACE .
As I stood under our PACE Tree in that Park , I realised …we’d lost a few this year , that I thought might go all the way.
Because it’s quite a thing , to last the PACE here , to go ” all the way to the end …to the Top of the PACE Tree. It’s harder than you think it’s going to be and more so when the outside is pulling you some other way.
But as some always go , some always appear …like new buds on old branches , ready to Wynd their way skywards …in search of better light.
That’s always a comforting thought . Just when you think it’s all over , a new leaf springs forth to dance round your head on its own creative breeze
Even though it’s dark and grey and cold in the Park , I can see so many leaves in my head , ready to dance , ready to turn over new pages in their PACE journals , ready to write their ” untold stories ”
A sigh …a breath …a thought
Time to go …
Soon the Bells of 2016 will sound and what this year will bring is just such wonder-full speculation.
I was struck by a text that winged its way to my phone as I almost left the Park. I’m glad I stopped by the pond railings to read it …
It was one of those messages that you know is worth taking the time to read properly , even though you have a million other things that need doing.
I’m glad I did.
It’s message at heart was this :
I know I’m not perfect
I know I’ve let you down
I know I’ve let myself down
I want to get better
I want to be the best version of me I can be
I know it won’t be easy
I know I’ll sometimes falter
But I want to make you proud
I want to make myself proud ‘
I want this year , to be the year …of being me!
And with this a swan flew up behind me and beat it’s beautiful white feathered wings at the dying of the sun and rose high …high up in the sky , a brilliant light against the apathetic grey of the everyday …
It flew round the waters edge , it flew so high everyone stopped and stared …it quite took our breath away…
As this young person will do , in time…when they see their golden reflection shining back at them in the eyes of those that matter.
You can’t put an older head on young shoulders
All you can do is keep lifting their eyes …to the sky.
Happy New Year to you all
See you in 2016