The audience applauded and the lights faded. Another performing arts concert was over.  The beams of pride on the faces crowded onto the stage were infectious and enough of a reward for any club leader. 

I’d dabbled with performing arts club on several occasions, mostly assisting or being the guy in charge of the buttons. This year was my first time as leader and I was very aware of the responsibility I was taking on back in September. Of course I wanted the children to enjoy their extra-curricular club but I also wanted to provide a theatrical experience to the richest possible point. I wanted them to understand and share my passion for performance and hopefully develop a thirst for the stage. 

My idea was to give the children as much control as possible. I didn’t want this to just be another tick box job that’s rushed through. A drama club for the sake of having a drama club. I wanted then to learn and take enjoyment from it

Having ownership over the production ensured rehearsals were fizzing with energy and excitement. I discussed characters with each lead – motivations, backgrounds etc – and enjoyed watching ideas form in each actors mind. I encouraged improvisation (which often had hilarious outcomes) and I made sure the final script was jam packed with the children’s ideas. 

The result was fabulous. The energy this week has been excited but relaxed. We’ve had minor problems with prop-finding and line-remembering but all have been easily overcome. It’s been a very relaxed and pleasant final rehearsal process because the children were clear on what they were expected to do. I didn’t need to stress out because I knew I could trust them to pull it off. 

And they did! The positive messages from the audience (children,  staff members, parents) have been overwhelming. The actors handled each performance with a professionalism many would assume would be beyond a primary school drama club. 

It’s been a fun ride, not without its difficult moments, but I am itching to get going on next year’s production already.