Rent – Closing Night

Sorry for the silence, 2014 kick started in an amazing way and this is the first chance I’ve had to put up the post I wrote on the closing night of Rent. Let’s get you caught up …

What a week and what a run! The turn around on this show has been incredible. Feedback from the audience and members of the industry has been outstanding. I am delighted for all involved and very proud of what we created.

Our first two shows were pretty rough technically but something clicked in the performances. The actors realised they were in a good show and the audience was with them. It never ceases to amaze me how much a show changes and improves when the performers and the backstage team take ownership of it. Confidence is key. The fact that they are all students learning and putting into practice a variety of new skills for the first time under pressure makes it all the more remarkable that they were able to pull off such a complicated show in terms of the piece itself and the technical aspects of the production.

More than a kilometre of steel to construct the set, multiple sliding steel flats, 2 oil drums on fire during the show, spinning flight cases and shopping trollies, a live band and full company in radio mics, various animated sequences on monitors, a climbable Christmas tree made out of street signs, a snow machine…. The list goes on and on.

The piece itself is an imperfect masterpiece. I have to say that I liked it but it wasn’t one of my favourite musicals going into the project. I treated it like it was a new piece and largely ignored the stage directions of previous productions. I had never seen another production of it and didn’t know it that well. By the end of the process, I loved the piece. It is rich in its complexity and depth. Joe Hood (Musical Director) and Lee Proud (choreographer) were fantastic. Both pushed themselves and the quality of the show to the limit. I am so grateful and lucky to have had them on board and so dedicated to the piece.

Joe is off to work in Geneva and on Billy Elliot the musical in London. Lee is off to do Hairspray at the Curve in Leicester&Curious Incident in Iceland. I am sure we will be collaborating again in 2014.

As for the MA class of 2013, they are a wonderful bunch of people. I push hard for results and they delivered. We wanted them to go beyond what they thought they were capable of and I think we achieved that. As they head out into the professional world they should do so with their heads held high. They did Royal Welsh College and themselves proud.

On to 2014!

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