Those gentle readers who have become accustomed to my – er – ‘style’ will doubtless already have gathered that the recent ‘nostalgic’ post concerning my youth theatre past was an essential part of the extended meditation on the subjects of home-sickness and significance with which I have of late been grappling. Big topics both!
You will probably also have figured – had you been of a mind to plough through those tracts – that the object of my cogitation whilst beset by that malaise in the run up to Christmas was indeed that very period in my life. For reasons that I could not immediately determine I found myself exhaustively replaying memories of the several decades and more from the early 70s to the mid 90s during which I helped to run a local authority youth theatre in the south east of England.
When I was but a young man I desperately wished to become a professional musician. Others with whom I played did achieve this – some to great success – but it became clear pretty early on that I was not sufficiently gifted to belong amongst their number. When I got involved with the youth theatre and began to write musicals for them I took that very seriously as well, hoping – with my co-writers – that we might at some point merit a professional performance of one of these works. That didn’t happen either. Now that I write plays – having run out of partners with whom to write musicals – I still harbour hopes that I might eventually get one published. The odds are long, I know – but this is a dream that I still cherish.
Through my great fortune in having being given the chance to work with the drama departments of two of the UK’s greatest schools – each of which has more than played its part in the generation of the new wave of brilliantly talented young thespists – I have slowly come to the realisation that my true role lies in the encouragement and promotion of a passion for creativity in young people.
I am not qualified to teach in BC and I would not in any case wish to go back to work in education. It became very clear to me during my pre-Christmas funk, however, that my true role is in doing almost exactly that which I was doing more than two decades previously. I should be involved in youth theatre. I determined there and then that, should I not be able to find a suitable venture with which to become involved, I would just have to start something myself.
Things have been set in motion, about which much more anon. They best thing – from my point of view – is that I am once again beginning to get a sense of what I am here for…
…and that is a very good thing!