Their story, in their words……
“How can we become confident without taking part in challenges that push us to achieve the best of our ability? Our challenge was to put on a play for the children at St. Georges hospital. Our reward was the smile on all the children’s and parents faces at the end of the play.
When we first thought of doing a play for children, it seemed like it would all be a very simple process but it was when we properly started our task that we realised that we had a long journey ahead of us. We were a group of 10 students who had no experience in acting at all. The reason we chose to do this was because it was something that pushed us all out of our comfort zones, regardless of how big or small our role was. The first step was to create a script for our play. We wanted to create something completely different but sticking to the main stories of some traditional fairy tales. We decided to write a script with elements of Snow White, Cinderella, Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty. After we had our script finalised, we needed to assign roles. We had to make sure that everyone in the group had a role so that we all took part in the play in one way or another.
Our second task was finding a place to do our play. We contacted multiple different hospitals and hospices but had no luck. However, we didn’t let that pull us down. We continued trying in different places and finally, we got a positive response from St George’s Hospital. We spoke to their head in the Children’s section and made all the arrangements that we needed to and fixed the date. Presenting to children meant that we had to do everything carefully and it had to be appropriate for children. This meant that we also had to change our script slightly to make it appropriate for children before we could start practising. Rehearsals were held at lunch and after school any day we got the chance and, every day the week before the play. Eventually, it became tedious but we had an aim set in mind and we refused to give up on it.
On top of rehearsals, we had to get everything else prepared too. Backgrounds, costumes and props were the next things that we focused on. We decided that we didn’t want to buy the backgrounds as everything that we saw didn’t reach our expectations. Coincidently, most of our group members have creative backgrounds so instead, we got together on weekends and painted the background and made the main props that we required. We had very little time left between when we got the money and the day of the play so, we couldn’t order everything that we originally wanted. This meant that we had to find last minute back up costumes that were within our budget but with our whole team helping, we managed to overcome that. Along with everything else that we bought, we also decided to give the children goodie bags at the end of the play. We had to be very cautious with this as there were certain things that we could not include and everything needed to be within our budget. We visited the hospital and spoke to the head of the Children’s playroom to confirm the type of things we could give without causing any harm.
When the day of the play arrived, the nerves began to settle in. What if we forgot our lines? What if it wasn’t good enough? Regardless of our fears, we all got ready and made our way to the hospital an hour early to set everything up.We managed to fit in one last rehearsal before the children started coming in. That’s when we realised that this was no longer our lunchtime rehearsal. It was the real thing and we had to give it our best shot. The play began and the entire room was silent. We began to worry that they weren’t enjoying the show but then the children, parents and nurses started to laugh. That’s all the encouragement we needed in order to carry on. When the show ended, the children asked to have pictures taken with the actors and that’s when we realised that we had actually succeeded in our challenge.
The Mark Evison Foundation gave us the chance to prove ourselves to everyone. It helped us understand a bit of hard work and determination can push you to reach goals that you would have never dreamed to achieve in the first place.