‘The Woman in Black’ and other drama

I love theatre. I have done since I was young. Every year at christmas we’d go to the theatre, to see a pantomime…and every year I’d fall more and more in love. It wasn’t just the idea of going to the theatre, it was everything. The atmosphere, the architecture, the people, the characters, the story being told, and from the actors side the way you could be someone completely different to yourself as soon as you set foot on stage.

When I was eleven I approached my mum outside in the front garden and announced proudly “I know what I want to be when I grow up…I want to be an actor on stage”. At the time this didn’t seem like a big thing, but as I look back on it this is the only thing I’ve ever said I really want to do career wise. Which is strange because I’ve never been career driven, but this I seemed sure about. As soon as my mum heard this she was thrilled. She’s always loved theatre too, so I think the main excitement came from the fact we had something massive in common; as I’d always been a daddies girl until then.

The first thing she did was search for me to join an amateur dramatics club, and lucky for me my next door neighbour had a friend that was involved in one close by. This was the start of my ‘career’ as an actor. From this I went onto taking part in 7 amazing shows, including both pantomimes and musicals (to which I was a Dalek in one…random but best time of my life). As I got older it became clearer that I was out growing the drama group, however by this time I had begun taking my GCSE’s and of course Drama was one of my choices. I love drama at GCSE! It taught me so much about the different types of drama and opened me up to new genres which I thought were so much better than pantomimes, for example Shakespeare. As my knowledge in drama increased so did my love for it, and by the time I reached A-Levels and was able to devise my own play (with the help of a group) and I was certain that this was the type of thing I wanted to do at University…

Anyway during my GCSE’s there was the chance to go on a school trip to see ‘The Woman in Black’ at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield (just as a side note this was before the film came out and made it a massive thing). I signed up and off we went. I arrived with an open mind not knowing what to expect really, as the teachers hadn’t given me a brief as to what the play would be about but Oh. My. God. It was incredible!!! This performance was the one and only time I’ve ever seen a horror being brought to stage with such perfection and atmosphere! The fear being built up throughout the play was amazing. One by one you could see the audience being dragged into the fear of the woman in black. The way that she shocked each and every one of us as she floated through the audience in an eerie manner.

I have to say with a cast of only two people (three if you count the woman in black), a minimal set and a mimed dog it is by far the best performance I have ever seen, and I dare say I will ever see. It just captured in me in such a way that my heart will never be set free from the theatre. This was definitely a turning point for me and my love for theatre. Sadly since then I have lost my way with the whole acting thing but this will always be something that I feel strongly about…and If I ever do feel like going back into acting I always have an agency’s number in my phonebook…

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