Saturday, 6 July 2013

#NTCFest - My Journey to the Olivier Theatre

Written by REBECCA MILLER, Winstanley College

Since the first moment we received our scripts, the whole process has been a whirl of excitement and fun. From beginning at the start of the year, the cast has bonded into a tight knit of people, through sharing the joy of getting to Kendal to being told we’d made it to London. Since Kendal, everything took a step up. Rehearsals were infused with a lively beat instead of nervous energy and it’s all any of us can talk about. We’ve broadened our acting horizons in terms of practice techniques, such as projection practice on the field, ensuring we’re prepared to perform to over 1,000 people! We’ve focussed more on completely portraying the message of the play and doing such an emotional script justice, picking apart our lines and ensuring that poignant moments are done as well as they can be.

Actually going to perform on the Olivier Stage is an overwhelming thought – something I don’t think any of us have really come to grips with yet! It’s so exciting to think that we’re going to be performing on such a renowned stage, where actors who seem a million miles away have once performed. The experience to actually be part of a professional company for the first time for any of us is also enthralling – something any young actor only dreams of. To think that at the start of the year, we never expected to get to perform in London and were merely there for the experience and joy of the performance makes the position we’re in today so much more wonderful for us all.

The whole National Theatre process has been enjoyable, from making new friends to learning new techniques and actually feeling like – and being – a professional group of actors. We’ve been given an experience that is difficult to gain anywhere else as well as being able to see so many other groups perform and being exposed to all different kinds of interpretations. Not only on the broader scale, but on personal levels – for me, after our first performance, the reaction of the National Theatre representative was overwhelming because he was so amazed by what we’d managed to achieve in such a short space of time and his words of praise were something I’ll never forget.
Difficulties have definitely been found on long rehearsals, when the cast’s a bit tired and grumpy, but even then all it takes is a moment to appreciate the position we’re in before we’re back at it! For me, nerves especially really kicked in at Kendal as I think it did for everyone else, because it was our first time in front of an audience that we didn’t know and we just wanted everything to go right.

In the end, it’s all been like a bit of dream really. We’ve loved every minute; from the first read-through of the script to now actually having created and become our characters. The experience has been one I’ll never forget and I’ve cherished every moment!

See Rebecca perform in What are They Like? by Lucinda Coxan on Monday 8 July, Oliver Theatre

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