Over the years Theatretrain has become well known for its large-scale productions. It is something unique to us and over 29 years we have developed a way of making them work. No other national company makes such large events with young people. At the O2 Arena, 3500 took to the stage. You might think that massive numbers of people would be impossible to control or that any performer would feel lost amid so many – but in the particular way we work we discovered that it doesn’t work like that.
Singing together with a large orchestra creates a wonderous atmosphere but it also unifies the participants. Inevitably the performers in our shows have rehearsed separately all over the country, so coming together for the final days of rehearsing and performing are special events. You might think that 1200 people gathered together would bring pandemonium but this is the remarkable thing; when people are excited by a project and bring it alive with others they find they are part of something bigger than themselves. Such an event puts you in an extraordinary place and can change how you feel about yourself. You discover self-discipline and elation, even nervousness inside you. It’s hard to just stand there and not be bothered. The performance grabs hold of you and that feeling can move mountains.
I believe all this is very important for the development of young people. In the occasion they catch a self-belief and grow a go-for-it response. They get a chance to push themselves further than they might ever have felt possible. After all, if everyone around you is singing their heart out it’s hard not to join in. Couldn’t the world do with passionate young people who are given a space where they can speak to us with their collective hearts?
We have followed this understanding since the first year of the company and in doing so we have played most of the larger west end theatres many times. When the pandemic stopped our shows we had reached 99 and there we have annoyingly stayed since 2019. So near yet so far! We now know that we have a date in September 2023 at the Royal Albert Hall and what a night that will be. The hundredth huge show.
Eighteen months seems a long time away but there is plenty to do. First we have to write the show, choose 30 odd songs to be sung and danced to, create the parts for the musicians and then get down to bringing it to life with the students, rehearsing and creating costumes, sound, and lighting.
I know I’m not alone in looking forward to that excited buzz when the audience is in waiting for the start and then the huge roar as the lights go down. For many of us that’s a big part of why we do it – the exhilaration and joy of sharing a live performance. And the next one will be pretty – 100 – special.
For almost 30 years Theatretrain has been providing young people with exceptional classes in dancing, acting and singing as well as providing first-class opportunities to perform in venues such as The London Palladium, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and of course the beloved Royal Albert Hall otherwise known as “The Nations Village Hall”. If you would like further information on our international award-winning performing arts schools at over 80 locations across the UK, then visit www.theatretrain.co.uk