What have I learned from co-directing the Rydal Penrhos production of ‘Les Miserables’?
Well, I have learned that Kevin Farrell is always the hardest worker in the room and Ollie Gibson really is good at everything. I have learned that Harry Hackman has such acting capability that he can play about ten separate roles with ease. I have learned that Ioan and Prompt are incredibly kind, stepping in last minute to help us out and learn a huge amount of music and staging in a couple of weeks. I have learned that sometimes people let you down and you have to find a way through it.
I have learned that your parents are incredible: Heidi Jack’s Mum is helping us backstage; past pupil Alice Waltham’s Mum has made costumes from scratch for us, as has Jacob Cousins’ mum; Gabe and Zach Speakman’s Mum has offered to come and help us backstage, and Richard Wolfendale’s Mum has been painting scenery.
I have learned that Jaydon Blears is a superstar – filling any role we need and letting us run him over with a cart (!).
I have learned that you need friends who are honest with you: I have lost count of the times that Mrs Jones and Mr Davies have said to me, ‘I can see what you’re thinking, but…’.
I have learned that my Year 13s are reliable and steadfast; I don’t know what we would have done without Miles, Grace, Heidi, Ruby, Jenny, Daisy, Sean and Joe. I have learned that Tegid, Zahra and Sean’s voices really are that good.
I have learned that Year 10 are a force to be reckoned with… (you know who you are!); Year 11 take everything in their stride, Year 12 are brilliant at characterisation and performing to the max, and that the current Year 7, 8 and 9 are the most hard-working and talented key stage 3 pupils I have ever directed; getting on with anything we throw at them.
I have also been reminded that I work with some of the kindest and most talented people out there; thank you to Mr Sherrington, Mr Bonser and Mr Sutton for putting up with my strange stage-design drawings, Sarah for selling tickets, Dean for making the programme, Mr Boyd for sacrificing some of his Rosslyn Park 7s players and to Mr Williams for somehow understanding my drama-teacher-descriptions of keys and tempos.
And thank you too, to all of you for buying tickets and supporting your friends in our production of Les Miserables.