Theatre in the Parks.
Who says drama has to be confined to theatres? Kids just wanna perform! This summer has seen an explosion of outdoor theatre teams visit the Merseyside region. This is great for the cultural programme but will it be sustained?
The audiences are there and the stages are set. Open stages like parks and gardens point the spotlight on good actors and creative teams who do not earn their living in the theatre, but who bring to their communities a talent and passion that can equal the best. “Give me a Croyden carpark” says one of the team I spoke to recently.
Our beautiful parks provide a superb venue for such happenings and draw in the crowds, the crowds of children who are eager to enjoy and partake in the cultural offerings. Tapping into, and giving drama to a generation of youngsters will surely reap rewards in the future by allowing them to understand and enjoy live theatre.
There are a tremendous amount of drama students on the market all hoping to astonish and delight with an explosion of art and creativity. I hope Liverpool gives them a springboard to entertain. It would be brilliant if we could build on this successful summer entertainment in the parks.
We have had Shakespeare performed by Liverpool Network Theatre Group and, what a professional performance they gave. Illyria Theatre Company have presented “The Twits” in and around the Wirral along with Off Ground Theatre Company who have had outrageous success in Birkenheads Upper Park with Peter Pan. Macbeth has been presented by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in Ness Botanic Gardens and our own Liverpool Croxteth Park has had Off Box Theatre performing “Dickens, Drood and the Best of Tomes”. I certainly hope next years summer offerings have just as robust a programme of theatre.
Perhaps all this could be supported by a return to the open childrens talent shows we once had at Sefton Park and Calderstones. The impressive outdoor theatre at Calderstones adjacent to the house, is still there in all its glory.
A few weeks ago a colleague told me of how her 4yr old daughter was called up onto the stage for a birthday celebration and was asked to sing something. She sang Frere Jacques without a hesitation and with full confidence, infront of a full theatre!. Her mum cried, cried tears of delight.
The media has presented us with talent shows but there is little opportunity on our doorstep “big style” to develop this interest free, for the majority of our children during the school holidays; the best time to mould little minds. Teachers can do their bit, parents can do theirs but it’s the arts and culture people that provide the opprtunities, that’s venues and stages to take it all that step further in a professional way.
Children are the potential customers of the arts in the future. It’s great to provide entertainment. Let’s help make entertainment by developing the talents of our early learners.