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I Missed Acting

For the first few months after graduating university and moving back home I felt like something was missing from my life but couldn’t quite place what. It was only after seeing my mother play the villain in Savvy Theatre’s excellent panto in December (an uproarious production of ‘Robin Hood’ performed by members of every one of Savvy’s companies) that it finally clicked – I missed acting. I’ve always loved performing on stage and was a member of Croydon Young People’s Theatre (led by Savvy’s very own artistic director Sheree) as a teen, as well as performing in a sketch and improvised comedy troupe whilst at university. I decided to join Savvy to get back on the stage, to do what I love, and hopefully make some friends along the way.

I’m not sure I’ve ever made a better decision.

Since joining two months ago I’ve jumped head first into the crazy world of Savvy theatre and loved every minute of it. Savvy has taken an approach to learning performing skills that I’ve never experienced before. So far, we haven’t spent any time blocking scenes or rehearsing scripts (though I’m assured that Savvy has its share of those too). Instead, we’ve had a whirlwind of workshops on all manner of skills.

There have been sessions on improvisation, learning to ignore the niggling doubt in the back of the mind telling you that you don’t know what to say or do. We’ve studied stage combat, learning from a professional fight director how to be safe, how to make it feel real for an audience, and how to tell a story within a fight. Punches, strangles and sword-work have all made an appearance as we develop the confidence and control necessary to make a convincing fight part of a performance. Most recently we’ve had commedia dell’arte workshops using masks, led by the fabulous Russell Dean of Strangeface Theatre Company. There’s nothing quite like turning your physical mannerisms and voice up to 11 to develop a character because your facial expressions are covered up by grotesque and hilarious masks.

When I joined Savvy I never imagined the sheer range of activities I might be doing, nor quite how much fun I would have whilst doing them. From what the other members have told me however, all this has just been scratching the surface of what Savvy has to offer. Speaking of the other members, they have been fantastic. Everyone is incredibly supportive and passionate about collective improvement whilst having a good time. I can’t imagine a more welcoming environment to join and I’ve quickly made some great friends. It might sound corny, but the people are absolutely the best part of Savvy and I can’t wait for whatever Sheree has lined up for us all to do next.

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