Play in a day in Saddleworth

On the last day of the February half term holidays, a group of about 12 budding young performers arrived at the village hall in Denshaw, Saddleworth. They knew that they were going to take part in ‘A Play In A Day’ but no more than that. After a few warm-up games, Nancy (script-writer, costume finder, props maker, casting director and producer) gave out copies of the 16 page Peter Pan script and we had a read through for the first time, knowing that 7 hours later, there would be a performance for carers and staff. That thought did help to concentrate the mind! Nancy gave out the roles according to the actors’ confidence and age and we started rehearsing and bringing the words to life.

Nancy broke the play down into several scenes which we rehearsed in isolation and then, just before lunch, we put them all together for a run through. We’d come a long way in a few hours, but there was still a lot to do before the performance. After the sandwiches there was a bit of a slump in concentration levels, it seemed harder to get through scenes without confusion and mistakes and we started to wonder if the whole plan had been too ambitious; we shouldn’t have doubted Nancy’s energy levels or the young people’s enthusiasm!

Play in a day Saddleworth

There was a final rehearsal in the last hour before the show and though there were still a few rough edges we were confident that it would be alright on the night. It was then time for make-up and costume fittings before the audience started to congregate. The levels of nervousness on the other side of the curtain started to rise as the lights dimmed…

Before we realised it, the play was over. No-one had made any big mistakes and the small ones that had been made only added to the audience’s enjoyment. The young people that had barely spoken during initial read-throughs somehow transformed into confident, clear-voiced thespians who may one day be treading the boards at The Old Vic or The Globe.

Putting on a play is a great way of bringing people together and working as a team. We all have different roles to play and our own strengths and weaknesses. Through working hard, supporting each other and believing in ourselves, it’s amazing what can be achieved!

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