I haven’t appeared on stage for over 10 years. Amateur drama was a huge part of my childhood, and something I carried on with after leaving home, but at some point I just kind of drifted away from it. It was never a deliberate decision to stop, but a combination of events – the local drama group folded, some family stuff happened that had to be a priority, and then I had kids and lost all my free time. Life changed, and I didn’t even think I missed the stage.
A chance meeting last year at a local theatre set me on a path back to the stage. I met up with a former member of my old drama group, now happily established in a different local group. After Christmas I received a phone call – he was directing a play and there was a part he would really like me to do.
Uncertainty followed. Could I still do it? Where would I find three evenings a week for rehearsals? Would I fit in with the rest of the cast? Would the family cope with me going out so often?
Sometimes the only way to find the answers is to suck it and see. So I accepted the part.
I may have mentioned this once or twice already, but I LOVED it. Every minute. From the initial read through, to blocking the moves out on the stage, to watching the set grow week after week. On rehearsal days I would wake up in the morning and think “yippee! Rehearsal tonight!”. Finally we arrived at technical rehearsal, dress rehearsal, and then 4 live performances last week. The first two nights were about half full; the second two sold out. The audience made the right noises at the right times, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
After any production there is always a low. You work with a team of people to pull something together, and then after the final show you hug them all and leave the theatre, not knowing when or if you’ll be back. Suddenly I was at home, and not having to go out to rehearsal any more. I didn’t have to drive to the theatre again. I unpacked my bag, put the makeup back in the drawer. Washed my costume and the flask I used to take coffee to drink in the interval. Removed the audio recordings of my lines from my phone. My handbag suddenly feels lighter again because I’m not carrying my script around everywhere with me. Life has gone back to the way it was. I know it’s a perfectly normal part of the process, but I think I felt it more keenly this time because I had enjoyed the whole experience so much. I was quite morose on Sunday night, I have to say.
I feel like I have fallen in love with the theatre all over again. I have been reminded why it was, and is my hobby. Why I have given so much time to it over the years, and why I want to carry on doing it. I have vowed that it will not be another 10 years before I do it again – in fact I’m very much hoping there will be a part for me in something next season at the theatre. The geekdaddy has already said he was fine with the extra childcare he had to do to allow me to attend rehearsals, and he’ll let me do it again.
So thank you, Knutsford Little Theatre, for getting me back on the stage, for being so welcoming and so supportive and just so much fun.
You can hear me talking about this stuff in my latest audio blog post as well: