A few weeks ago we had a letter home from school about the Midsomerset festival. It is a speech, drama, music and singing festival open to all schools in the local area. There are set syllabuses for each category and age.
As I so often (wrongly) do, I skim read the letter, tossed it onto the ever mounting pile of paperwork/ shredding and dismissed it. But the letter sparked a flurry of my own childhood memories of taking part in drama festivals and going to drama school.
The memories kept flooding back. Specific memories of festivals and performances I had done. I kept thinking how lucky I was to have had these experiences and it got me thinking of my drama teachers. It felt extra poignant too as the building our drama school was based in was recently demolished. My head still stuffed with nostalgia, I thought why not? WHY NOT? Seb can read. With a bit of practice why on earth not?
So I approached the school with an open mind. If it was too ambitious, too much, I would understand. Maybe we could enter him and if it doesn’t work out we can withdraw.
The school, as ever, was supportive and off we set choosing his piece and practicing at every given opportunity – to siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, classmates and teachers.
And today was the day. I can’t even put Into words the pride I felt. Standing waiting to go in and watching the camaraderie between Seb and his classmates in itself was enough to set me off. Such a lovely group of kids. And his one to one support had offered to come with us to be with him, despite it running over out of school hours.
He was listed in the programme as up second but the first candidate had withdrawn so poor little Seb was up first! GULP!
He started off very nervously (something I weirdly loved as it shows he now does have a sense of fear and understood the magnitude of what he was doing). As quiet as a mouse with his hands on his head (they’re usually in his pockets!) and slowly his confidence grew and his voice got louder and clearer. I could not have been more proud. I had physical pain in my chest. He had a go. He gave it his best, best shot. Just like he always does.
But the oddest of all twists of fate? The very lady who was such a key person in my own memory making as child was the adjudicator! My mind is blown away by this. I still can’t believe it now as I type! Pretty bloody bizarre when you consider that I grew up 200 miles away from here, there are many, many classes going on throughout the whole of March at many locations across the city, and this was the first person I immediately thought of when I got that letter home in Seb’s book bag – and I haven’t seen her for (I would guess), 25 years!
Of course once the class and adjudication had finished, I went and said hello, and I was fighting back tears, such an emotional encounter and I was fit to bursting when I told her Seb was mine!
(and a little bit freaked out that her little boy who I used to babysit is now 35!! )