NTS Five Minute Theatre ‘Youth’ by Kirsten McCrossan, 30

“It was exciting for me to see my students finding their own styles. Team Facebook is a group of aspiring stand-up comedians and the style that the boys used in their piece reflects this.”

Kirsten McCrossan, Director of Love Drama

Team Facebook

The last of our four videos for National Theatre of Scotland’s Five Minute Theatre project on ‘youth’ has just been submitted. Being involved in Five Minute Theatre is a rollercoaster of emotions. I will tell you why…

It is an honour to be involved in such a prestigious project. At Love Drama we have a pupil who now has three Five Minute Theatre performances under his belt and he has not started High School yet – that is exciting!

As the theme for July was ‘youth’ I decided to completely hand over to a group to do the whole thing themselves. The reins were handed over to the 11-16 year olds of the Love Drama Improv Academy. This group is a group of seventeen young people who train every week in improvisation techniques. The group split themselves into four teams and wrote their own pitches which would be submitted to NTS.

The groups had complete freedom in what they came up with and the ideas were very varied. The groups chose to base their performances on: Facebook, rumours, teenage image issues and on children throughout history. The pitches were all submitted and a few weeks later the groups found out they were all successful!

In the short space of time available I had to try to organise a rehearsal day that the whole group could make. This was impossible due to the holidays coming up so we had to have three separate rehearsals. This was going to prove expensive so we sold refreshments and photos of the groups to parents at our Improv Demo and managed to raise some cash towards it.

Our first team met at Loretto School In Musselburgh with the bare bones of their idea. They had two hours of rehearsal time before the film person came to help us out with logistics. After an hour the group decided to scrap their original concept and start again from the beginning! So only an hour to go and no minutes and no seconds ready…

The group really worked hard to piece their story line together in the short time left. It was literally a race against time as the group created and edited their material. It then took another hour and a half to go through everything with Helen who had come to film. There were a fair few tweaks to ensure the camera could see what the group was doing and before we knew it the audience had arrived. Our idea of papering the wall was only half way in progress so the group frantically papered the rest of the wall and if you look closely you will see one neat side and one very messy side!

To think that the group came up with this piece in only an hour is amazing!

The following Friday the next two groups were ready to go. Team Facebook and Team Behind the Mirror. Team Facebook had been practicing independently and were confident of their piece. Team Behind the Mirror had their idea but were starting from scratch.

The most frustrating thing was that we didn’t have a decent back drop to perform infront of and we tried every corner and wall to get the best setting, but church hall walls are not the best! Team Facebook decided to perform outside as it suited their piece and Team Mirror set up in a corner of the hall which rerpresented the teenagers being in their bedroom.

Again time sped by but both groups had managed to come up with great material.

Team Facebook did a great job. The boys used an idea which they had come up with for the ‘protest’ piece but as a group we had decided not to use it as not of of our group were on social networking sites, we all agreed though that the idea should certainly not have been ‘binned’ as it was so good and so the boys jumped at the opportunity to work on it for the ‘youth’ theme. Unfortunately the camera looming and the big boom mic put off one of the actors for a few seconds but the group knew that it was live theatre and that the show must go on and so a wonderful recovery was made! ‘Stand Together and Improvise” as a wise boy once said!

Team Mirror’s piece really moved the audience as it was very emotional. I think I even spied a little tear in the eye of one of the mums. It was a powerful piece and the girls did an amazing job in such a short space of time.

The following Monday the final team Team Time Travel as I believe they have named themselves had their their three hour rehearsal time. The group had met up at each others houses and rehearsed by themselves which was great. The hall we were in has the worst walls ever and I have already started to save up for a portable back drop as this will make Five Minute Theatre less stressful in the future! The group worked hard and polished their piece and the audience really loved the concept.

So all four groups were done! It was then time to get the videos ready to send to NTS and then wait until they go live!

I was so proud of all of the Love Drama pupils as I watched them write their pitches, come up with ideas, work together, self-direct, work independently and of course perform.

When I think back to when I was their age I remember Scottish actor  Alana Hood and myself at school being left to our own devices and we made up a mini musical changing the words to the songs from Godspell and singing about a tree that made tea! Coming up with ridiculous idea like that did us no harm – but it was inspiring to see the Love Drama students really taking the task so seriously!

It was also exciting for me to see my students finding their own styles. Team Facebook is a group of aspiring stand-up comedians and the style that the boys used in their piece reflects this.

We are all very much looking forward to the Five Minute Theatre Live Event!

Saturday 14 July 2012 1pm-7pm on www.fiveminutetheatre.com

#fiveminutetheatre @lovedramacouk

Kirsten McCrossan

Founder and Director

Love Drama