This week, after an 18 month hiatus, I returned to the stage and joined a new theatre company.
The West End Centre is a local live music venue and performing arts theatre in Aldershot, Hampshire. They run a variety of theatre groups ranging from primary school age to adulthood.
I was introduced to the adult drama class by a member of my previous drama group, The Young Company. I went to watch their performance of “Technobabble” in July which I enjoyed, then applied to join earlier in September.
In the classes, we work more or less on a three term structure that takes us over the year. This September term we will be working on a Christmas show which means that all four companies (around 40 actors) from 8 years old to not quite 80 will come together in the final weeks of rehearsal and put together one big show which will be performed for two nights at the centre.
The January term is solely workshop based and the 10-12 weeks are produced in order to help actors with new skill sets or more experienced actors fine tune those skill sets.
The Summer term is about writing and directing as well as acting, this is the term where the adult company can if they want to submit original material (usually around 10 minute long pieces) and see it acted in front of a live audience in a July performance. It sounds great fun and very exciting.
This Tuesday was my first session and it was entertaining. A majority of the evening we took part in some improvisation games.
It was later announced for our Christmas performance we would be doing a modern version of Oliver by Charles Dickens.
We haven’t been given the full script yet but just the opening song. The show will open with a parody of “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles.
The performances will take place on the 10th & 11th December 2018. Therefore we have 11 weeks (approx. 24 hours of rehersals) to learn and perfect this performance… no pressure then!
In terms of my accessibility needs and accommodating my sight loss, they were really good. The building is all on one level, so no need for lifts or ramps here. The teacher running the class emailed me the “Eleanor Rigby” lyrics prior to the session so I could save it on my phone and enlarge it which was really helpful. Plus the group were generally friendly and welcoming.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in the performing arts and lives in or near North Hampshire or West Surrey and fancy getting involved, visit West End Centre.
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