29 Mar

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On Monday 6th March Lumenus Key Stage 5 took part in Oldham Coliseum’s secondary education devised project performance. Lumenus performed alongside another three schools from the North West and this was the first performance in a series throughout the month of March.

This fantastic opportunity gave the students a real insight into what it was like to be a professional performance artist. You may have seen some of their sneak previews as the students had spent the last month and half creating a devised performance based on the stimulus ‘What makes a Superhero?’ They had written a rap, choreographed a movement piece and written a script using their excellent skills in improvisation.

After registration at 9.10am the students made their way from Medtia to the Coliseum to be briefed on health and safety issues, exits and to be introduced to the other performers and hear the running order for the day.

At this point everyone was beginning to get a little excited. Lumenus were the first up for a tech run; this is where the lighting, stage and sound technicians find out what their cues are..

This didn’t go too smoothly…….unfortunately all the music and sounds that had been sent in the week before decided not to play!! So Lumenus’s slot moved to later in the morning and the students settled in to the green room, rehearsing their rap and going over and over their lines.

After what seemed like an eternity but was really 11.30am the students found themselves backstage ready to tech, the music was working, the entrances and exits had been worked out and the students were very excited. Cue a number of students to develop stage fright!! After a few tears and a good deep breath the performers got into their stride and all the lighting and sound elements came together. The students rehearsed the performance all the way through and had to remember a number of changes that had occurred due to working in a slightly smaller space and not being able to exit in the same direction as they had before. Adapting to a new space is difficult for all of us but like true professionals they took it in their stride..

At 1pm the students returned to Medtia for lunch and a quick rest. It was sooooo very tiring all this waiting around and excitement for 5 minutes in the limelight, some of the students needed ten minutes asleep!

At 2pm the students returned to the Coliseum to complete a full dress rehearsal, due to a number of reasons we had ended up with four performers instead of seven so Mrs Chappell and Ms Begum had to step in at the last minute to multi-role for the missing Superheroes, much to the amusement of everyone in the audience! Pictures were taken and the students had their first taste of an audience whilst performing to their peers, they laughed and clapped at the right times and this really helped the students develop their confidence and believe in their performance..

A little later than anticipated the remaining performers left to go home to refuel and to return to the theatre in their costumes ready for the big performance……

7.30pm ….. the time had come, the audience were seated the performers were ready, not a hair out of place or a wonky mask and cape in sight. Backstage a little hum of excitement and nervousness was keeping everyone on their toes, ‘break a leg’ was heard at least ten times and the students had a little boost from some of their peers from the schools involved who had all said how much they had enjoyed their dress rehearsal.

The house lights went down, the disco lights came on, a voice over introduced the evening to the audience, there was a polite clap from the audience and the stage manager said “Ready?” The music started and Tara set off to start the rap. There were laughs, there were claps, there were whoops and there were cheers. One cape was very stubborn and wouldn’t come off but the actors were professionals and carried on regardless. Fifteen minutes later it was all over, they had taken a bow and were a little sweaty but loved every moment and straight away asked if they could go on again!

At 8.15pm the students went into the auditorium to watch the other schools’ performances. They were all brilliant and engaging and it was a lovely opportunity to see the hard work everyone had put in. At the very end David took on the responsibility of reciting the verse of a poem as a solo written by Sarah who co-ordinated the entire event. It was made extra special by the students who signed the last part of the poem to the audience to a round of applause.

Tired, but very deservedly happy the students left with their parents and guardians at 9.15pm, ready to get back to being regular students again on Tuesday!

Feedback received was fantastic from both Oldham Coliseum and colleagues from the partner schools. One teacher said,

‘The performance was amazing. I could hear everything, the story was great and the performers fab.’

Lumenus have devised three different workshops to accompany the performance and to share their devising experience. If any primary schools in the Oldham area are interested in receiving one of these FREE performances and workshops they will be available on Thursdays from 28th April until the May half term – please contact echappell@newbridgegroup.org for further information.