Friday, 4 November 2011

Reflections of a new TIE performer

The following post contributed by a first-time performer/facilitator:

This week I went on tour with the Anti-Bullying Roadshow for the very first time. The team drove from the South-West up to the Midlands for the first leg of this compelling 6-week UK tour. The Sunday we left I was really scared, out of my wits, to put it mildly. The long drive didn’t help to put my nerves at ease. I slept restlessly and the next morning my team-leader half-jokingly told me to get used to the lack of sleep - all part of the job of national touring.

Our first show was at a secondary school, we worked with the whole of year 8 (hundreds of them). It’d be fair to say that it wasn’t an ‘easing into it’ performance. The group were loud and the teachers seemed to hold little authority with the students. During the performance I thanked my lucky stars I was stage-managing this particular show and not acting in it. All the same the students were engaged and had lots of fun in the show.

After the performance had finished it was my job to introduce the workshop. Out of nowhere, pseudo-confidence kicked in, and I even managed to get a few laughs. The young people were more engaged in the workshop than I had imagined.

That night my sleep was as restless as the night before, touring and working with unknown groups can be quite scary - this continued throughout the whole week. Tuesday came, and this meant so did the time for my first performance ever: two puppet shows and three workshops for a primary school. Fifteen minutes before we were due to start, I decided to double check the sound queues. They wouldn’t work! The laptop had been updated the night before and had messed up the files. I panicked but luckily found the back up CD. The puppet shows went well, the children loved it, and were engaged. The tricky part came when attempting to do drama sketches with reception aged children, they were shy at first, but they soon got into the swing of it. My team leader then repaired the laptop ready for the next sessions.

On Wednesday we worked in a very welcoming primary school. The friendliest to date. With a successfully engaging puppet show in the morning with the infants and an extended workshop with the juniors in the afternoon. Our smoothest session of the week. My confidence is growing.

Our week climaxed on Thursday where we worked in a children’s home working with two teenage girls. Although this was the smallest group that we worked with, it was the group that tested us the most. We were due to start at half past nine, but the first hour was taken up with the girls arguing, swearing and shouting at each other and trying to indirectly (I think) demostrate who was in charge (them lol!). But after that, they calmed down, and took part in the workshop, with one of the girls constantly laughing and having fun throughout. She was so interested and engaged that she started on her competition entry as soon as the session had finished (see our last blog post about the free Actionwork competition for anti-bullying week.

So those are the adventures of the first week. Stay tuned to find out what happens in the second week of the tour.