ASPIRE BLOG: And this week we welcomed…

This week we welcomed some guest tutors to our usual ASPIRE rehearsal. Composer Chris Williams, Actress and Writer Rachael Coopes, Vocal Coach and performer Avigail Herman and Contemporary dancer and choreographer Cadi McCarthy.

All four guests worked with their respective ensemble for a two hour workshop before gathering together in the theatre and having a Q&A session, where ASPIRE cast members were given the opportunity to ask them questions about their careers and working professionally.

As I walked around observing the various workshops, I was very proud of our cast members who acted with great professionalism as they worked with their guest tutors. The tutors asked our ensembles to give their all and really commit to what they were doing. To listen to and observe each other intently and soak up as much as possible in a relatively short space of time. They challenged the students, they weren't prepared to say things were ‘O.K.’ or ‘would do’. They expected the best each performer had to give. I was proud to see the cast really committing to giving their best.

It was a true reflection of what it’s like to work in the arts industry, as our guests commented in the Q&A you have to work hard, really hard, like harder than anyone else if you want to succeed. It’s good to hear that from people who know. Because it is hard work, the answers aren’t obvious and as a performer in whatever medium you have really commit to a project, constantly work to make yourself better, understand more, develop. That development never stops, the learning is never complete.

The other piece of advice they gave our students which I loved was to fail spectacularly. The arts is an area where it’s a given you’re going to fail before you get it right. So try everything and give your all every time you try, even if that means you are going to get it fabulously wrong before you get it right. It’s how you learn, it’s how we get better at doing what we do.

The rehearsals for ASPIRE go so quickly that sometimes we forget that part of the learning is to get things wrong. We are so obsessed with learning all our material and getting it on stage that we forget we need to play with it, explore it. Some of this exploration has to be done in your own time, which is what our guests meant about working harder than anyone else.

It’s timely advice as we approach the holidays and a two week break from rehearsals, so I would ask the cast to use the time to explore their parts and try things out with energy and commitment and fail spectacularly. I look forward to hearing about everyone’s experiences after the break.

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Anna Kerrigan Image
Anna Kerrigan

Anna is the Artistic Director of ASPIRE, an audition-based drama, dance, music and creative and performing arts program produced by the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle.