Preparation, Practice and Performance
Obviously a huge amount of effort had gone into each performance, hours of preparation and practice and everyone knew their lines to perfection. All of the musical numbers were wonderfully entertaining, beautifully sung or played and delivered with confidence and feeling. Those on stage were clearly supported by a highly professional and efficient off-stage team and had evidently been inspired by producers and directors to deliver a truly exceptional performance. The sheer pride and pleasure at what they had achieved was palpable as the cast and crew took their final bows. It was a joy to see.
Where does Talent go?
It’s not the first time I have been bowled over by the amazing performance teenagers can deliver. It’s not the first time either that I’ve been left wondering what happens to all that talent, passion and enthusiasm when those teenagers leave school or university and move into the world of work. Maybe a small minority will take up a career in the performing arts and continue to experience the buzz, but the majority won’t. So what is it about the small handful of companies that seem to be able to harness the energy and creativity of their staff and generate that same passion for performance that the majority don’t? What is it that they do?
Attracting Talented People
One of the first things that struck me about the performances was the everyone who was involved wanted to be involved. For whatever reason, they had all decided they were happy to put in the huge amount of hard work needed to get the performance right. Maybe it was their opportunity to shine on stage, maybe it was wanting to be part of something that was going to be exciting and fun or maybe it was a way of expressing a particular talent they felt that they had. Whatever it was, they were drawn to get involved; so perhaps that’s the starting point for companies – creating somewhere that attracts talented people because they know it’ll be great, it’ll be somewhere where it’s worth putting in the effort and somewhere where they’ll be recognised for what they can offer.
Create Clear Roles
The second thing that occurred to me was that everyone involved in the productions had a really clear part to play. The guy doing the lighting was no more trying to sing the opening number than the main chorus was helping to shift the scenery. There was no confusion about who was doing what and it was really easy to see how the parts fitted together to create something fabulous. So maybe that’s the second thing for companies – complete clarity around the ways people can use their talents to contribute to a clearly defined end game.
Driven by Belief
A large, healthy dose of self-belief seems to come into play too. The belief that anything is possible is strong among youngsters but often fades as they get older, to be replaced by cynicism, doubt and perhaps rightly, a degree of realism. Companies led by people who truly believe the impossible is possible stand head and shoulders above their competitors. When their culture is based on the same belief, everyone is inspired to think the unthinkable and to believe the unbelievable. So perhaps that the third thing for companies – creating the sort of culture where there is an almost tangible sense of belief in what’s possible.
Getting good feedback
I was also struck by the part played by the audience. Everyone involved can have been left in absolutely no doubt that their show had been well received. In short the audience went wild! That’s not to say a considerable amount of rehearsal didn’t take place to enable the brilliant performances on the night, it did, but the spontaneous applause happening throughout the show must have contributed to its success. Add into the mix the fact that the audience was completely on-side and willing the show to be a success and another simple differentiator between companies starts to emerge – that those with an embedded culture of feedback and support and a willingness to celebrate and share success will see the best performances.
So, well done to all those who took part. It will be a fortunate company indeed who manages to inspire similar levels of passion, talent and enthusiasm.