2008 WAS THE YEAR when the stage became my home from home, societies and groups of enormously talented people became second families, and I discovered my huge and ever-growing love for the dramatic arts. Overcoming one very scary and nerve-wracking audition and progressing to a part in a large-scale production with the Oyster Lane Theatre Group was the stepping-stone which has led to my participation with other local groups such as Wexford Pantomime Society, Wexford Light Opera Society, the Wexford School of Ballet and Modern Dance, Screen Panto Society and the Wexford Festival Opera, to name but a few.
I remember the sunny day on which the audition took place on in the Friary hall. Groups of people of my age were gathered outside the door with great anticipation. There were at least 100 people waiting with anticipation. I was nervous staring at my peers, recognising some of the from performances that I had previously seen, which made me more of a nervous wreck.
They all seemed so prepared, with jazz shoes and doing vocal warmups and stretches, which was even more intimidating.
I had only heard about the auditions the night before and felt totally unprepared. I wanted to leave because I was so overwhelmed; however, my mother calmed me down and said: 'We're here now, we'll give it a go and learn from this experience'.
Those are words that I'll never forget and if it hadn't been for the support I was given I would have ran like a coward. I took everything in and was so glad and proud of myself for seeing it through. It taught me a great life-lesson in determination.
The auditions were in June and rehearsals began in July and continued up until the performance in October. During those four months I learned greatly about performing and about the theatre in general due to working with very talented and hugely experienced mentors in every field.
The experience was greatly beneficial and thoroughly enjoyable. I have gained information that will always help and stay with me and I've made the best of friends – it feels like I've known them all of my life.
Performing on stage has made me more confident and improved my social life and skills. I have become more of an extrovert! I have caught the bug of performing.
Rehearsals for any sort of large production can be quite time-consuming, so it is very important to be well organised. With self-discipline and motivation I can organise rehearsals, home, work and social time effectively. When I arrive home from school I have to use my time wisely: this means getting my dinner, doing my homework and getting ready for rehearsals.
I found that the time management required to complete my homework in the time I had before rehearsals also helped me greatly in the actual Junior Cert and other house exams. I worked very hard because I knew that if I didn't get my homework completed before I left I would have to bring it with me, which would dampen the fun and enjoyment of rehearsals, I'd have to continue it when I arrived home, which can be rather tiring and long drawn out, or I would have to get up earlier the next morning to complete it.
A healthy balance is also vital. As the saying goes, 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. Even though practice is so much fun, because you're with good friends and doing something you like, you still need to balance it with other social activities.
I would strongly recommend anyone who has a love for the arts to audition for one of the many talented groups in Wexford. We don't realise how lucky we are to be living in a town that is steeped in an enormous amount of talent of all ages.
I have now performed in numerous large scale shows since 2008 and I'm still getting huge excitement and enjoyment out of each one because no two shows will ever be the same and they will never have same group of people all together. So each one brings new friends and new stage lessons and an ever-growing love of the theatre.