Just when I was inwardly noting that this page , seems to have met a bit of a “brick wall” – suddenly here there are some new voices, voices from the deep dark echoes of lonely cyber-culture-spaced PACE, slowly beginning to be heard.
A presence , an expression , a question , opinions , thoughts , feelings …new drama stuff !
Yes, have to say I’m delighted to see 32 comments instead of the usual 2 …delighted and happy to see a question asked of others ; responses beginning to happen between you ( which means you are getting alerts to comments and taking the time to talk back , to engage in what this post space was intended to offer – a PACE SCENE page for those and those , that are about and loving the more “theatre ” and creative vibe of Spires
It takes about 10 minutes to read one of my longer posts….
15/20 probably to read it again and note down some of the suggestions I might make , in your theatre journals ( which you should try and keep ( a diary or online record of progress and your ongoing attempt to get better ) or just even to look up anything you don’t understand …the “bigger” words I might use …even look at a link to something that is attached …because that way it all starts to make a bit more sense than just a quick read of something you feel you have to do , In case you get caught out ” in drama class ” not having done it .
Now that some are at a better stage , a turning point in their PACE journey , that extra half hour , once a week …to find the time to shut your door in your room , come off your usual social media stream and switch to a more cultured one , a drama getting better one …is definitely going to make a difference. Believe me.
Because that precious half hour , connects you to the bigger picture here , to the ones who are already seeing the benefit of living ” a life less youth ordinary”
There is no doubt though , there is a definite shift to being more open about you all needing ” a more open and cultured approach to things ” – a ” youth theatre culture” that isn’t going to accept that just because you’re young , doesn’t mean you won’t get it , can’t understand it or won’t appreciate it anyway.
Now those who have mocked it , or resisted it here up till now . are more in the minority , not the majority . And that my young pace friends is as it always should be . Because a higher status of thought is better than always having to dumb things down to the lowest expectation group denominator, isn’t it ?
We always said this shouldn’t just be another type of secondary school peer environment , where you have to fit in to a certain group , do what others do and change yourself at the expense of your own individuality in order to “get through” and out the other side.
We always said this Spires School of thought , allows the Unusual , the Extra-ordinary and Special side of you to flourish in a more open way.
Some may say that’s weird …we say it’s weird not to want to be ” your complete self ” .
People always fear the unknown. It’s easier to laugh at something you don’t understand , to make those that think it…feel bad …because that way you are protected from ever having to have your own thoughts.
Anyway a ” mocking ” Laugh at things is fleeting , leaves you kind of empty …guilty even for pretending you find it amusing. In a “More fool you” kind of a way.
To be able to laugh in life is something we all need to do – to release pent up emotion, to connect in a happy way with others , to feel optimistic about things . Yes to feel more alive, aware and full not empty.
Like last night in SPIRES
It was okay to laugh at the Art of Drama. It was okay because we were moved by what we saw , laughing with the moment , not at it.
A finger up the nose to pretention …because in that moment’s context – it worked.
Laughing I suppose because sometimes Art , Performance Art and the Art of Performing itself can be ridiculous , be extra ordinary , be unusual and very special .
I know most of you are dying to just get “to a play” . I know you see others having had that and want it for yourself.
But dont you realise …last night , you were PLAYING …just acting in a different way , no lines just ideas and more physical self expression.
A play could easily have come from it , and this is always the way we go about workshoping things , linked to text work we do here – most processes here , pre shows , involve this necessary physical creative process , because better acting always comes from the time spent on addressing the group dynamic , the ideas around the words expressed bodily – to think it is just learning the lines , is almost to call acting cheap imitation.
And by flipping your mindset , you’ll see that all the extra stuff we do , the physical barrier breakers , the stuff to de-inhibit you from yourself , will make how you perform better , so necessary at this stage
The further we push you ” out your comfort zone into a world that seems really weird , strange , sometimes less enjoyable and seemingly “not for you” , is a way of forcing you to often face those “uncomfortable” truths about yourself , that you pretend aren’t there , or avoid dealing with but that will stay in the way of “you and your drama” until you ” right” them
I hate my body
I can’t dance
I can’t move
I can’t communicate like others
I’m not clever enough
I will fail at this
I don’t get it
Of the rehearsal room all …
Because in these things lies the root cause of any group of youth theatre underachieving with their creative potential
People are quick sometimes to say to me , that some people only come to PACE as a hobby , that they don’t want the stuff I do.
Yet I would argue , what is “that stuff” that makes me different and them chose how they will approach drama ? What do they know , of what drama is ? Who decides that this “less hard” is enough for anyone ?
Surely anyone who chooses to take drama , to do drama , to act in a more artistic and creative way …would never place the restriction of normality or everyday upon them selves . To come and only do what is already their life ? To have a switch set to ” no more than that ” ?
I have never changed in my method , in the 26 years, I have taught in PACE .
I have never , not pushed – in a different way , in my way of doing drama and inspiring youth beyond what is expected of them by others who see them as ” only kids ”
If I had set my teaching switch to ” no more than that ” – I doubt PACE would have lasted as youth fully long…I think it would certainly be different.
It’s just now , with other things and more people through our weekly doors , I just get to work practically with less people , unless they find their way to me , sooner rather than later.
And that’s really down to you .
We can offer the RIGHT START programmes . The NEXTSTEP workshop many went through last night , but it’s down to you to come , to push yourself to be seen in the space , to show me here in this BLOG site , you want more.
If you make the decision not to attend , to chose not to push yourself , to never read or comment …to turn your back on a more open and cultured life even at this younger age . You make your own PACE destiny.
You take PACE just on the one level , set your switch to automatic , and maybe yes it makes you laugh now and again , maybe every week you leave sort of content ….but how much more could you laugh , how much happier could you feel knowing you have tried harder , pushed farther , switched on more and got more … In the Creative End.
Then and only then will you be ready for the text work , the play , the empty space , the stage of great PACE work to be really proud of.
Not just the weekly workshop group , but something different , something far more rewarding than a good drama improvisation , a “cool group” tableaux or a chance to hang out with yearly friends.
There is a programme on SKY ARTS at the moment called :
A Season at Julliard
( you can catch it on I player or search for it , where people go to search for things they can’t find on mainstream ? – there will always be someone who can help point you in its direction )
I know there are a few of you with NY stars in your eyes . No bad thing ..until you face the reality of how to get there …the real competition you face ..the talent coming from other PACE-like places …all wanting a chance to study in the worlds most prestigious Performing ARTS school
Did you know only 7% of all applicants make it to the final student” cut” . 7% of thousands who apply from all over the world .
And Marcus Crawford Guy from Spires Theatre School did, he appears in the programme and it’s wonderful to see…him living his dream.
Marcus was an awesome 11 year old in Spires 1 with a twinkle in his starry eyes , who became a fantastic talented 12 year old year by embracing the culture of all things around him …the stuff he didn’t understand, the hard stuff that others found boring, that made him a much better 13 year old potential for theatre work
….and when he turned 14 he was already leading the way in the more creative Spires 1 space with his alternative take on drama , performance and the Arts.
By 15 , few could touch him in terms of his focus drive and ambition to succeed …
By 16 he lead his Capulet House to Victory in the most cultured of ways . A Hollywood bound generation who followed willingly …Abby McCann and Cameron MCNee ( albeit in the other house ! ) included , in their first ever Verona show as stage struck , starry eyed Spires 9 year olds .
And here they are today leading their houses in VX1 – so you see the cycle of learning never stops turning and the different style of learning continues. Pay it Forward …as the saying goes , as Spires work goes , an altogether ALTRUISTIC affair , where we learn to give back to inspire others on…
In such short years he had here , Marcus went from 0-100%, to his true PACE self.
It took an incredible amount of focus , determination , will power and self sacrifice for him to achieve his young 18 year old status as one of only 20 year 1 Julliard drama students.
To see him in the Julliard setting is kind of no different to seeing him in Spires ( your commitment and drive should; never change , dependant on your environment in drama)
…but what was different to see , was the same drive , determination , focus , will power and obvious talent he was now having to compete with , in others around him , to make his dream , his reality.
And whilst I know few ever want to actually be a performer when they leave PACE – the ones who do , should really try and catch this documentary , not just for the drama department , but for the dance and music department ethos too. Getting to drama school is one thing , surviving it and through the other side and into work …a monster effort other !
And for you all left from this performance collective , who chose other destinies , please know that your own future “type ” of Julliard school , university , college course …is waiting , just a short while away too .
Be it Law , Teaching , Medicine , Design , Journalism , Forensic Science , Astrophysics , Geology , Climatology , Architecture , Sport , Police Force , Civil Service , Accounamcy , Vetinary Medicine , Research Science , Religious Dtidies , Community Work , Nursing , Fashion , Business and Enterprise , Politics , Media ….
The list of careers is endless
And just because you don’t want to act …don’t close the door on Spires work , because
“you just don’t think it applies or is relevant or useful to you ”
Everything is relevant in how we approach our life .
Everything can help advance our dreams and ambition for yourself with a more prudent mindset , a better willing to open yourselves wider to your potential
To be truthful …I think many are a bit lazy in PACE and make the excuse of not wanting this kind of stuff , because they just can’t be bothered by putting in that little bit of extra effort now , when it could most matter.
And I know there will be some , who find this alternative PACE method of working , in other ways and other things outside : – first eleven sports teams , charity committees , Duke of Ecinburgh award schemes , youth enterprise schemes.
But the rest ?
How long before you find yourself “a bit short” on the things you actually need to make that important difference to your future ambition ?
To take an adult analogy , if you don’t start paying into “a pension scheme” earlier , how will you a mange to support yourself and live more comfortably as you would like , when you can’t work anymore ?
I know it may sound like a MHAIRi cliche , but : Starting young really makes the difference in the PACE end.
And finally to return to Last night , there was a fantastic change of energy in that favourite SPACE of ours …a willingness to push on after the camaraderie of PANTO and though in some years I can see the SOCIAL imprinting heavily on your ” re entrance ” to things , post panto season , there wasn’t a whiff of it to affect the outcome last night.
Maybe you are now realising you can get more by keeping it ” for outside ”
Maybe you just like “this stuff” better now
Maybe you see others around you moving on with their Spires lives and you don’t want to be left behind
Maybe it’s your destiny calling …
Whatever the reason , I’m happy . I know the House Directors for VX1 were very happy , in fact really ecstatic to know they had a different kind of creative energy coming through to them soon , for the ultimate good of the HOUSES.
This is the last Verona till 2018, by then many you class as your inspiration, will have potentially moved on.
Who knows ? There’s no ceiling to PACE in Spires now and the top SPACE may grow into something quite different , unique in its age design , may become “a theatre company” in its own right.
We know for a fact that Studio Times will only run till S4 and this is the right decision , because beyond that you should really only want to attend a youth theatre to perform , anything else is just a youth club and we are never that , never that limiting.
So think of this :
In the room thst Sunday or Tuesday was a future Verona House Director , a future member of one of the Creative Teams , Future HUB , future FIREFLY , future SPACE , even certainly in Robbie and Ben , future Marcus-like starry eyed ,stage-struck PACE performers.
For next the Verona 18 bell tolls , it tolls for thee all !
One thing you will need , to ring that bell loud and clearer, is theatre CULTURE .
The Culture of a more open mind , a creatively active and clever brain that doesn’t necessarily work in a normal academic way, but can see sideways , upside down and all around , not one that needs a mark on a paper to prove its worth, to make it happy !
What’s culture ?
Culture is your way up and out the maze of being an average anybody at any age.
It is opening your eyes a bit wider , not being scared to have a go , to taste the olive , the mozzarella , the mayonnaise , and seeded bread of life
The stuff we wrinkle or noses up at , because we just like chips and tomato sauce , the Margherita Pizza of everyday familiarity
The amount of times I inwardly cringe when I hear people say ” I can’t watch a foreign film , I won’t understand it.”
Sub titles are there for that , your brain easily does the rest , once you tell it , that you are open to try.
Most people in the world speak another language naturally without moaning , but we as a nation , are often averse to trying to converse in anything but our mother tongue . Nowadays we don’t even speak it that well. Text speak has killed grammar
I seen it – instead of I have seen it or I was
I done it – instead of I have done it or I did
And don’t get me started with “I jamped ?!”
It’s alright for language to evolve , but not at the loss of grammar. Not at the loss of being the best spoken you can be, in a way to express yourself clearly and articulately as one of the leading world languages.
How hard is it for someone trying to learn English now ? When they won’t recognise the language we actually speak any more ?
Last tangent , sorry.
Enough to say , last night was a breath of fresh air. And as I construct the new groups to take us to Summer I feel very optimistic about what’s to come , to finally being able to teach you what I can and what I know …
Not having to drag you kicking and screaming to new ways of working , new ideas and over and into new cultural horizons
I certainly think Stratford will be an eye opener for sure , not just the show itself , but “the being” around others “out with” your comfort zone , your “everyday” , your only “social environment” .
That’s the best kind of magic culture of all!