“A Day in the Life…of Amateur Theatre” – Guest Blog by Lisa Stewart

Lisa Stewart has Guest Blogged in 'The Edward Files' on a great article telling her story about amateur theatre and building her confidence. Enjoy the read & love her work (Photo Credit too Kevin Low Photography)

Lisa Stewart has Guest Blogged in ‘The Edward Files’ on a great article telling her story about amateur theatre and building her confidence. Enjoy the read & love her work (Photo Credit too Kevin Low Photography)

Hello Awesome People!

Through a very special person I was quite lucky to make friends with an awesome character by the same of Lisa Stewart. At a social event we instantly connected, exchanged some witty anecdotes, connected on Facebook and as you know “The Rest is History”.

As I followed Lisa, I watched her get involved in Amateur Theatre and I in watching some of her posts she reminded me about some of the things I have gone through. She talked about the nerves and preparation of going on stage – and it reminded me of me.

When we run our own free events (such as the Profitable Marketing Forum) it’s the same for me! It’s not so much me acting, but me getting ready and overcoming nerves to deliver a super compelling event.

I had to invite her to guest blog and she told her own story in a compelling way. Enjoy!

A Day in the Life…of Amateur Theatre (Guest Blog by Lisa Stewart):

Have you ever asked the questions:
• Why are there so many bobby pins in my pocket?
• What gets spirit gum off denim?
• Where did these carpet burns/bruises/rope burns come from?
• Do you know where I can get a huge medicine bag on wheels in the next 5 days? You know, like a Mary Poppins bag but on wheels? No, I’m not insane. Please don’t hang up…

No? Then you’ve probably never done amateur theatre. You may think from the above that this is a good thing, but actually there’s a certain magic to the sense of community that is created by the shared understanding of the need to ask such questions (and many more).

I mean, sure, the other day when I shouted, “EVERYONE PLEASE STAND STILL! LINDSAY IS COMING THROUGH WITH WET HEADS!”* I did surreptitiously glance around the perimeters of the church where FAMS** was holding our third pre-show working bee to make sure there weren’t any concerned citizens hovering…but really, any publicity is good publicity 😉

I’ve only been back into theatre for the past 18 months (before that it was just high school shows I’d been involved in, years earlier), but I have to say I’m completely hooked at this point. Life is a funny thing – this has all come about almost ‘by accident’ for me…and a happy accident it is for sure.

I decided to take up singing again after a bit of a break, and my vocal coach asked me one day if I’d be interested in auditioning for a role in a show she was involved in – ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. I hadn’t previously sung in that style, but I figured she knew my voice well enough to know whether or not I could do it, so I agreed to audition and was subsequently cast as Elsie – a role I will always treasure (‘they’ do say you always remember your first ;)).

I don’t really have words to describe the giddy thrill of being on stage…so much work goes on in the lead-up to a show – the blood, sweat, tears (often literally, on all counts) of all involved – but when the orchestra begins to play the Overture on Opening Night and then the curtain rises…everything just clicks into place. The audience is the missing piece of the puzzle – those wonderful people who have invested enough faith in us to come along and see us perform are the final ingredient in cooking up a show, and giving them something they enjoy seeing is the only thing that matters from that moment until the curtain calls on Closing Night.

The bond among the cast is one of the things which really consolidates my love of this #TheatreLife – I made many new friends doing ‘Yeomen’, and we became like a family during our time on stage together, and in the lead-up…the lead-up often being referred to as ‘Tech Week’ (AKA Goodbye, everyone else I’ve ever known and everything else I’ve ever done; time to get this show on the road…so to speak).

Once I finished with ‘Yeomen’, my ‘Leading Man’ explained to me ‘Post Show Blues’…for which the only cure is another show! I decided to join the chorus of the next show he was doing, which was ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ – another Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Through that show I made more lifelong friends – it was an absolute blast. From there I went on to play the Queen of the Fairies in a Christmas pantomime, which was just so much fun. During that run, an opportunity arose to audition for a role in ‘King Lear’…I went along to audition, not thinking I had much of a chance, but suddenly I found myself cast as Goneril, Lear’s eldest (and arguably most evil) daughter – a bit of a change of pace from the benevolent Fairy Queen, Eglantine, but I enjoyed the challenge!

Right now I’m consumed by preparing for dual roles in a double bill of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas ‘The Sorcerer’ and ‘Trial By Jury’. The roles of Aline and Angelina are both proving challenging but very rewarding, and I can’t wait to get out there and feel the magic again!

Aside from being a fun creative outlet (essential, in my opinion, in the struggle for work-life balance in this busy world), getting into theatre has taught me a lot about marketing myself, the theatre companies I’m involved with, and the arts in general.

It has helped my confidence immensely, which has a flow-on effect into my everyday life in both work and play. I’ve picked up so many valuable skills I take with me into other areas of life, and I’ve realised that I was able to pick up on an old dream which I’d thought I’d have to let go of after a certain age – as with most things, you can if you believe you can! So if there’s a dream or goal from your younger days you think has passed you by, if there’s a passion you’re harbouring for some awesome endeavour you’re not sure you’re good enough for, if there’s something you wish you were doing with your life that you’re not…my advice is to just get out there and give it a go; it’s amazing what we can do when we set our minds to something!

–Lisa Stewart

*To find out why on earth I might have shouted this, come and see our show – tickets available here!
#ShamelessPlug

**FAMS Theatre Company Inc. is a non-profit community theatre company based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Edward’s Post Blog Commentary:

Lisa’s one cool operator and I love her article and the big point she made. Even though she may be doing community theatre more from a personal / fun viewpoint – it’s giving great skills in confidence and obviously presenting on stage. For me, presenting on stage is one critical & profitable ability to have and it shows there are many ways of developing such areas.

My thinking and lesson from this one? Doesn’t matter how you do it – many ways to develop oneself in fun & style.

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Love your work, and thank You for the read, enjoy the thoughts, Edward Zia sign out – Stay Awesome!!

Edward Zia is a Marketing Mentor and Business Leader who have worked for a very long time in Marketing and loves helping Awesome Small Business Owners get more clients.