As we near the end of the year . It’s always good to look back – not in anger -as Playwright John Osborne and 90’s Super Band Oasis – would say – but to look back and wonder (bit like Alice ) at all that has come to pass in Spires Land ?
As I sit here by the garden fire bowl . I gaze at the flames and see the blue of creativity leaping back at me . The Sparks of turquoise azure , that appear from the burning embers , to remind me , that if you add some special powder to a simple heated log – it will spark like MAGIC . Chemical reactions are everywhere , including the Drama Space.
Spires is always about the people who make up its’ yearly registers . Our Theatre Scene is directed by the passion, loyalty , courage and commitment of those within it .
Those bespoke PACE members who want to go – by a different name .
A few who come here to achieve more for themselves , more for their future
Yet ” What’s in a name ? ” – as Juliet declares from her Verona balcony : A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet ?
But I think , here , we cultivate a rather rosier drama species.
Something with its own unique provenance , with its own sweeter way of growing , way of brighter blooming under often more direct and organic conditions.
I think our Spires Roses , rise magnificently each yearly-end of growing season; and this very particular Juliet , high up in her artistically crafted balcony , thinks she would rather keep her own named way of doing things , than give it up , for any other ….
Yes , it’s been a creative year for my Spires Theatre Roses , just as I like it to be ?????
There’s a saying :
Pink Roses for Romance
Red for Love’s Passion
Yellow for the End of an Affair …
And though this yellow rose image , blooming beautifully over my garden trellis, might symbolise to some an end ; I think it is only the end of this year’s concentrated work , blood , sweat , Sprains , pulls , twists , hard knock life messages , highs , lows and ubiquitous drama tears …
The end of the things that make us stronger , more rounded Individuals and Performers , with clearer goals and more honest personal insight ; the end of more difficult and challenging processes to test our Endurance , our Determination , our Ambition.
The Finale Retrospective of this year’s creative Spires Road , from August 2015 – June 2016 .
Finally seeing your passionate effort paying off or maybe just realising, somewhere down the road to now, you let something slip and are eager to pull it back on track again.
We are all guilty of letting things slip . Letting personal standards drop a little when the going gets tougher . But it’s not the slip that matters , but how you make yourself return onto the Road, that’s going to make a difference in the long run .
This Road , ” the famous road less travelled in PACE ” only works for a FEW eventually .
There comes a point the drama-signals get confused , the theatre terrain more difficult to negotiate , the time it takes to make the journey worth while here , a stopping point for those with time issues .
This Road will end for many of you by summer’s end .
By choice or by necessity .
But how you exit the SPACE we share is so important . The way you leave the building you have been such a part of . And that’s only something you can work out for yourself . Don’t let bitterness Mark your departure card . Exit on better terms to safe guard good memories of this place forever.
The Spires Theatre Road will “carry on regardless” . It is resilient , diverse , multi faceted and ever changing . It goes with the flow of its journeys and passengers.
It will carry its small number of PACE travellers on to where they need or want to get to . It goes as Robert Frost also says : on…
This Spires Life will continue to provide breathtaking moments along the way , wonderful high points to feel on top of the world from , dips and peaks to improve personal stamina , the much needed camaraderie of fellow travellers who you meet along the way , epiphanal cultural experiences to blow open your mind .
“This Road by a Spires name” will always smell as sweet , as the sweet smell of its followers success .
BUDDIE knows our scent …he gets it …and eats it up …
A lion Roar started this year and it will close it .
Taking immense PRIDE in what you achieve here, from year in to year out, is EVERYTHING.
PAISLEY City of CULTURE 2021 Bid show , was the first roar of success we had in the Abbey in October 2015.
A Performance success that will now be taking 8 of your Spires Number to the Westminster Houses of Parliament in London in July this year .
Don’t I always tell you :
” …play magnificently , show them what young people can really do …because you never know where these little one-off performances might eventually lead! ”
Well this time Our Bid BUDDIE is taking us to one of the most iconic buildings in the Western world.
To perform in front of 200 MP’s , elected officials and the Secretary for Culture . We are going to be VIPs for a day . But what a day !!
Who’d have thought these famous secret Vaulted Doors would open for us and let us take a rare life-changing peek inside the corridors of real power !
Paisley has a Heart of Youth at is core who can also now effect a positive change for their Town’s powerful good .
PACE is unique in this and no where else can offer you such diversity of Performance opportunity , such invested life coaching through a different creative approach ; an approach that actively resists the temptation to harness its “grander popular success” purely on commercial appeal .
But then , I’m biased . I’m forever biased in your favour?
Isn’t that a great word to use , to describe our Road here ? Doesn’t it just stand for everything we Aspire to achieve anywhere our roads take us ?
At the moment YOU are potentially prepping for the biggest creative drive of your peer styled Spires Education-Life.
And I think …it’s going as it should be going : up and down – the old roller coaster of emotions whizzing you round scarier bends and loop the loops and hauling you up massive high hills to plummet, hands waving in the air , screaming down and over the other side …
And I know YOU are , some of you , still hanging on for dear life .
Wildly excited maybe ? but also scared, anxious , panicking I imagine about what is finally going to take place on June 22nd /23rd and 24th this year ?
But it’s okay . It’s normal to still feel scared at this time of year , despite the massive turnarounds many have experienced this past SPIRES year ; the moments of drama and theatre- epiphanies and the highs and deep Lows of project processes .
It’s all right to want to do your best and worry you might let others down . It’s all right : because you won’t . YOU WON’T.
We’ve had it all this past year . We’ve gone through a lot – together . We’ve seen the STAGE LIGHT and SHONE BRIGHTER.
So now , as I can only watch you from the Spires sidelines , it’s all right for me also , to worry – to still worry about you.’
That’s as your Theatre MoM – That’s natural , isn’t it .
I worry maybe that you will take the foot off the pedal .
That social will once again distract those more prone to weaker focus .
That maybe you will became complacent and assume you know what to do (without putting your foot firmly down on the gas ! )
I worry my little swans won’t remember to use their newly feathered wings and forget how to really fly
I worry my braver warriors will turn their backs on the prospect of yet another drama campaign and give up the fight
I worry those outside in the Spires Cold won’t find their way back inside our space , to warm themselves by our magic Fire
…I worry , because that’s who I am , despite my telling you all year ” not to ” ! ?
Maybe it’s just because at this time of year . I have to take that necessary back-seat and watch you drive away from me , drive forward .
Learner-plates off and onto whatever road you chose to follow .
As your road instructor , If I’ve taught you anything this year , maybe it’s to always trust your instinct in drama . Go with your gut and you will never be wrong.
Teaching Acting or Performance to young people , isn’t as easy as you might think .
But I’m a firm believer in ” unlock the individual , unlock the performer ” . The key is right there within you . I just have to encourage you to turn it round .
I think a few more of you this season have broken free of whatever held you back before .
I think a handful more have the key in their hand and are still wondering whether they want to ever use it ?
I think to get any more from this PACE method – you will have to crack that combination . Otherwise throw this key away and find another before it’s too late . Locked doors will sat locked till you want to open them , where-ever .
Verona placed at the end of any PACE year carries its own pressure .
Maybe the pressure of having loads of you , suddenly going through exams , was one .
… but I think the pressure to create 2 better HOUSE choruses this year , was quite another
Admittedly some Spires suffered this side of the year because the Spires Theatre Scene focus shifted to ensuring another generation of composite performers was coming through the system .
The CULTURE Club started but paused
The ODYSSEY ship launched but sadly returned to PORT with heavy weather warnings
The MODULE conundrum forever changing its dimension
The PRACTICAL Class attached firmly to the Practical Performance SPACE and now where else .
The SHOW promise reneged on or down sized .
Yes , I realise some of you suffered and we may see some casualties unfortunately from this ; some inevitable untimely departures from the Spires playing field .
Reminds me of a line from Simon Adorian’s Trojans :
“…in any war there are sustainable losses ….collateral damage ! ”
“…sustainable losses …these are people’s lives you are talking about! …”
So to the “Spires People” who got caught up in my demanding struggle to create ” the New “, to establish better Verona Casts for 2016 – please accept my heart felt apology .
I had to make a decision early in February, for the good of the end of this Year .
I had to look to those Spires Members, who could give me more this Season I terms of commitment .
I wish I could have manufactured more Time to work with you all , in other small creative ways. To have given you the odd session to keep you brimmed full of Spires enthusiasm .
But the Nature of Project Rehearsals is a fickle Beast.
You can never predict each show journey , or the complex make-up of the people on it. All you can hope to do is complete the experience for the good of the ethos you strive for
My Ethos is simple : inspire to aspire . And always to surround you with people who are going to lift you higher . You know the qoute …I’ve blogged It here a 1000 times before .
But here is one to end on :
It’s so very true . Not just for Spires Theatre , but for wherever your Road is going to lead you .
Positive attracts positivity . Maybe that’s why I get annoyed at times when I see the odd negative vibe floating in and round the building corridors
I want it a safe space , not an unsafe one to come to ” be ” in .
I don’t want this to be HIGH SCHOOl . It’s hard enough for you all there . Not least of all from S1-S3.
Exams are hard , but at least they get you somewhere better , after the struggle is by .
The damage that can be done to personality between those early secondary years is something that is hard to get over for, a very long time . Social Media has only made it even harder .
I read an article recently that said that young people between first year and middle high school are under more psychological pressure than many Captians of Industry of Multi Billion Companies .
How you navigate those first to third seas is all down to 11-14 year olds , and maybe an app for a braver soul .
The 11-14 year olds I worked with this Season are all doing a great job of trying to make more positive choices for their personal development .
Some are doing better , because something has clicked for them in a “drama way” and I doubt they’ll go back to old habits , less challenging ways .
Others amongst you , will I know , be in danger of slipping off the Road without keeping your eyes on the warning sign posts that point to a better way . Making better choices . Not letting fleeting success go to your head. Realising you have a long way to go still .
Maybe I did play you all off one another as show groupings …competition is the stuff of life and a little now and again , always reminds you to push harder for things that are easily achievable with better more focused mindsets .
WHALE was of its spirited time
TROJANS was in a whole different other …of its time too
But they are gone now . Great memories to treasure forever . And who better to think of with special memories than our childhood bear friend
What a load of POOH I hear you cry …but deep down inside , I know you’ll get the picture and its innocent meaning .
The ROAD and the driving lessons start again. Vroom VA VA Vroom ….
VX1 demands advanced performance-technique that only trained instructors can give .
There are such excellent instructors in your House Leadership Team. There are also inspirational figures some with V status who are inspiring dynamic role models to aspire to become through this final Bespoke peer-lead Spires Theatre process.
I spoke to one Very worried house director recently and told her this : The Art of Winning Verona is not to have a Cup handed to you to lift High.
The “Art of Winning Verona” is looking round at every single one of your Cast on stage with you and knowing deep down in your very heart and soul , that you know them , that you could not have given any more of your self to them , that they could not have known you more or given you more of themselves in return .
That is really winning the Verona Challenge . That lasts longer than the holding of a Cup in a momentary High .
It is unfair that one house will lose when I know that you both will deserve to win .
The decision is going to be made by 8 seperate individuals’ personal taste . 8 people who say – I like it , I don’t . As simple as a Thumb Up in Social Media land …if maybe a little more thought given than doing what’s just popular .
A billion to one odds that this is in your favour .
Their taste …their decision on their voting slip.
Once you understand this , you will know that winning has to mean more than the holding of a cup . It has to be about what you gave on this day , in your Verona Play . What you went above and beyond for !
Please don’t make it as nothing , as just a winner and loser .
Please make it the most wonderful show experience you have had this year
Better than “Our Princess Rose”
Better than Trojans
Better than all the other wonderful Performance Moments that have come to pass …
Make it your Own
I am with you finally in VX1 BRIEF Spirit
Now my Lions . Go make me PROUD