Stage Fright and Opening Night

Since my early teens I’ve absolutely loathed performing, but adored rehearsing and being part of ensembles and choirs. This is something of a tricky situation, as everyone else in these ensembles and choirs is working toward a performance! Please excuse the length and rambly nature of this blog post!

The prospect of performing, whether that be playing clarinet, saxophone or very worst – singing, would leave me hyperventilating, sobbing and feeling sick. Whilst a touch of stage fright can help a performance, this level of anxiety basically made performing a write off. To be frank, I didn’t really mind for years, it was something of a relief to have consciously decided that theatre and performance just wasn’t for me. I’ve read as many books as I can lay my hands on about performance anxiety, I’ve watched YouTube videos on breathing exercises and relaxation techniques and I’ve even resorted to a WikiHow article on overcoming Stage Fright.

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Eventually, it took a show I loved, a group of friendly faces and the relentless support of some lovely people to help me get over this fear. I mean, it’s easy to say that performing and music aren’t exactly important things in life. Particularly in the instance of local theatre, they are the folly of the privileged. However, when something provides so much fun, brings people together and ignites such passion inside you, is it not, in it’s own way,  important?

Godspell was such an amazing show to be part of, with some ridiculous moments, loads of amazing songs and one of the most emotional climaxes of musical theatre. If you’ve never seen the show, I’d really recommend it. Based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, Godspell is a really innovative and energetic way to tell parables from the bible. Whilst I did not perform this as part of a religious group, of course there is a religious narrative to the show, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all it is about! Stephen Schwartz (who also wrote Wicked) has provided some amazingly catchy tunes and I was lucky enough to play the part of Robin, who sings Day by Day. By opening night, after a sketchy few weeks of final rehearsals, the cast were about to burst from energy and it was so exciting to hear from the audience that they felt that energy was infectious, and wanted to join in the fun.

Being part of Godspell was an incredible amount of fun, and over the months of rehearsal I took hold of my fears and developed ways of controlling them. It turned out that I needed the motivation to get over anxiety, and Godspell, with it’s lovely cast, director and MD was that motivation. After five performances last week, the bug has absolutely bitten me yet again. I can’t even write a big enough thank you to the people who put up with my panicking, and who pushed me to keep going and who held my hand physically and metaphorically, THANK YOU!

 

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