A Seed Is Planted (Sha la la Joseph)
By thedramabox, May 12 2016 07:05PM
Today I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with my 84 year old grandpa and my mum. It is one of my favourite musicals and I know all the colours off by heart and could do you the full thing beginning to end.
I was looking forward to seeing it and drove us all up from Ayr. We had a lovely lunch and then headed to the theatre and sat in the stalls. When music began playing today at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow I was completely caught off-guard when tears started spouting from my eyes! No one had even stood on the stage yet. Joseph hadn’t been sold to be a slave yet. Poor wee Benjamin hadn’t been accused of stealing Joseph’s precious golden cup yet. I was just sitting there listening to the intro music.
As the show began I pondered why I had such an emotional connection to even just the idea of this live show. Then I realised that this had been the start. The start of everything for me.
I was sitting next to my wee grandpa who is in his mid-eighties, so just to have the privilege to still be in his company and enjoying shared experiences and common interests is an absolute joy. It was my grandpa who had introduced me to the theatre. He took my brother and I along to The Gaiety Theatre in Ayr on a regular basis. As well as getting to see The Gaiety Whirl and the pantomimes, there also used to be an annual tour of Joseph that we always went to see. Oh my word I loved it. I was a wee mesmerised child; taking it all in. What is this? People exuding energy, singing smiling, dancing, having fun, telling us a story with humour and continuous ever changing spine tingling music.
From then on my drama training included a cassette tape of Joseph, a tape player, a bedroom, a whole load of energy and my dad shouting up the stairs at me telling me to shut up.
Like many of us, my joy was listening to music in my bedroom. I believed that if I put on my Kylie record - yes a record, we are back in the 80s here, that the sun would come out. Sometimes if I wanted to go out to play I’d leave it on with the sound right down so the sun would stay out while I was out.
Days were spent dancing around and singing along to anything. One day my step mum asked me if I liked dancing so much then why didn’t I start going to classes? It was not something I had ever really thought about. I was a horse rider and that took up my Saturdays.
Then one day when I was in p5 a poster appeared on the Heathfield Primary School noticeboard about a new dance club opening in Heathfield Community Centre, Karen’s Dance Club. Monday nights! I was going!
A couple of years went by of dancing a couple of times a week and then at the start of primary seven Mr Vincent announced that we were doing a production of Joseph in the summer. You are kidding me!! YES!!! The excitement was too much.
There was a sign up sheet where you were to write down what part you would like to audition for. All my dance pals said that they were putting their names down as dancers, so I did the same. I did a wee singing audition for Mr Vincent. Now Mr Vincent was a pal of my dad’s, they had gone to uni together to do their teacher training. Anyway… after my wee sing-a-long to Joseph Mr Vincent said “Tell your dad you’re a good singer!” YES!! I was beaming. I got home and told my dad who burst out laughing and told me he was only saying that because he was his friend. Burst.
Anyway I did not let him get to me and I was excited to hear what part I had. Aww naww I hadn’t got a part. I’ve written about this moment before as it was a big moment for me at ten years old. Mr Vincent said - and for this he continues to be a role model to me - “If anyone is sitting thinking that they are really unhappy with what they have - now is the time to say”. I wasn’t the brave one who put my hand up, but Kimberley McGraw was, and inspired by her braveness I put my hand up too. Mr Vincent said “Oh Kirsten, you hadn’t put your name down for a part, OK you can be Levi”. Thank-you Kimberley for your guts! Oh and Kimberley became a brother too.
What an opportunity; to get to recreate the show that has been in your local theatre in your own school hall. We had a really enthusiastic PE teacher who did our choreography, I can’t remember her name but I do remember her good energy! There was one rehearsal when a group of us had to come in late as we had had our cycling proficiency test. Mr Vincent was stressed and snapped at me to read my script and not play with my (Tuffty Top) cycling helmet. Come on now Mr Vincent, us primary sevens have a lot on our plates calm down, anyway I don’t need the script I know all of the words! I didn’t say any of that, I took a massive beamer and swapped my helmet for my script.
Wow, what an amazing few months it was rehearsing and performing that show. This was it. It was the start for me. I have said it before, but I do not know what would have become of me if I hadn’t found my outlet. It is my mission to spread the magic of drama across the world and inspire more drama in more schools so that more children can reap the many benefits that drama bursts with.
I am the biggest ambassador for drama in primary schools. It’s the energy, freedom and the outlet that is the magic. Just yesterday a pupil said to me that there should be more drama in his primary school as it is better than doing work. Doing drama is work; to him it is ridiculously fun work. Amazing!
In the training that I give to teachers I strip it right back to basics to allow a starting point that is simple, easy for teachers to deliver and super effective in providing pupils a creative and exciting experience. Good drama experiences do not have to include putting on a show. All you need is a room, some great ideas for drama games and exercises (this is what I am here for!) and your pupils.
Anyway back to the Joseph show I saw today. The audience were buzzing. My grandpa was singing along the whole way at 80 odd years old and there was a wee girl in the front row standing up dancing the whole way through literally lit up by the show. The lady on the other side of me, her wee girl was in it so she was brimming with pride and the performers were giving everything they had to us. A room full of electricity.
So I knew what the tears were for. They were tears of gratitude and tears of recognition of the start of my epic drama journey.
From Joseph to youth theatre to panto to studying musical theatre to a drama degree to working all over the place teaching drama to coaching kids to be in shows just like that to setting up a theatre school to working in schools all over the country to the Education Scotland Drama National Working Group to being a teacher trainer and spreading the love of drama to writing this blog. That's what I have grown so far from my seed.
Every time I am in a school I sprinkle some seeds and wonder who will grow theirs and what it will grow into.
It all starts from a wee seed from somehere.
Go go go Joseph.