As part of the MFA programme at RCS (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), we get to spend a month at the Globe. We do voice, movement, text work, and we rehearse for a showing of scenes on the Globe stage. This sounds amazing – and in truth it was. It was also In January. Yes. Quite cold. Especially when one is rehearsing for three hours. However, I would do it all again for twice as long because I have now performed on that stage – a moment I am very thankful for.
When I was 10 years old or so, I went to go see a play at the Globe. I was with my mom and brother. I don’t remember what it was but I remember a distinct feeling of awe as we sat in the pizza express afterwards (yes the one opposite). I went again with a few trips form school and was always stunned. Living in London, I was just thankful there were plays I could see for £5.
The Globe is one of those magical spaces if you are an actor. I understand why – it’s an imposing space and a unique one. Walking out onto the stage for the first time, and saying a line, was grand. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. There was a feeling of grandeur, momentousness.
This reflection has made me think of two points that I would like to share.
The first is that I am so thankful for that moment because I felt like a child at Christmas. It was the same overwhelming – almost sick inducing – excitement. After the last two years (and even before that when the realities of this profession hit me square in the face in all my ups and downs), I haven’t prioritised that excitement. It’s hard. It takes commitment. Because there are often not a lot of moments in life to be excited about. It kick started a little something in my heart.
As we rehearsed for two weeks, the space became less imposing. The outdoor stage is still enormous and beautiful. But I felt like I was allowed to be there, to exist, to perform. Working in a space like that – especially for me as part of an education programme – means that I find ways to invalidate my own performance all the time. “It’s just a programme it’s not real” (which it isn’t but I was learning a lot and I got to be there); “you aren’t a real actor yet – this is a pity experience” (which is a bizarre sentence for my brain to throw at me); “Take this in, you’ll never be back here” (a frequent thought – and an unhelpful one). These thoughts faded over the weeks and I enjoyed being up on that stage. In my experience, I’ve often made myself smaller when experiencing new moments or levels in this career. I feel like I don’t belong and I act that way. But this isn’t true. I felt that way on that stage at first. And then I kept coming back day after day and for our showing I felt like I belonged, like I owned it, like I was able to tell a story up there. One of my through journeys this year has definitely been validating myself in the space and in the roles that I get given. If I don’t believe in myself, if I don’t think I should be there, no one else is going to.