Peace In Our Time

JFK and the Cuban Exiles. Photo credit: Graeme Braidwood

It takes a bit to get me on my feet at the end of a theatre show but Year 6 deserved their standing ovation last night. If the progress they have made in the last two months is remarkable their improvement in the last week has been astonishing. The confidence flowing from Wednesday’s first successful performance powered them through Thursday’s matinee and further confidence from that performance fueled by fatigue and ice-cream helped them improve another huge leap in the evening performance.

Our ambition was to make a show which ‘neutrals’ would enjoy. This was the challenge we locked ourselves into by determining that all three performances should be open to a paying public. I know I would have enjoyed the show if I had had nothing to do with it but knowing cast added a powerful extra dimension as I saw the cast flourish and knew that for some just to stand in the light, in front of that crowd and make themselves heard with lines they had learned was a huge thing. For teachers who had known them far longer and more closely this impact was more profound still.

Craig did an amazing job directing the show, his patience and persistence, sensitivity, imaginative flare and wit are all over it. I waltzed in and out but he pushed this show up the hill. All hail him.

And whilst we’re all at it let’s save a little hail for Kay who today admitted she was a bit anxious about kitting out this vast cast in costumes in such quick time. Hail goes to Johnny for guiding the cast and teachers in the construction of many of the show’s props – the U2s and the submarines were my favourites. No less hail to goes to newbie Luke Deane for working with the cast to compose the show’s songs and Christine Cornwell with whom he conjured the essential incidental music. Should hail remain it goes to Reel Access for working with the cast on the beautiful short video that opens the show. Respect is also due to Mick and Jim who together put in numerous good old shifts to get the lights, microphones and video all up and running amid the chaos of rehearsals. Double respect goes to the Year 6 teachers with whom we would have been sunk. What a massive team effort – in some why if feels as if school shows are the essence of what theatre can and should be, but I do enjoy them much more when they are about the Cold War.

As people have been asking. What next?

Who knows. Until then a first batch of images for this show are now on the website here.

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