With the Fringe Festival now just a twinkle in the rear view mirror, another chapter in Be Happy Theatre’s playbook has been closed.
As much as we’d love to rest on our laurels, give ourselves a pat on the back and have a nice sit down – there truly is no rest for the wicked.
Taking a Be Happy show on the road is often an intense, emotional roller-coaster – that some performers simply cannot commit to on a permanent basis. Of course, we’ve got plenty of mainstays that have been with the Company for a few years now, but these are often road-worn pros who understand the importance of mental stability and finding a sense of home, when one is away from their family.
Due to the transient nature of many of our performers and the term-based cycle of productions, the end of September is always a time of upheaval and regeneration. The talented amateurs and professionals, that make up the constantly rotating menagerie we have here, often need to make a move from the company at the end of a show.
With about half of our summer performers leaving for fresh pastures, we’ve got a sizeable number of places to fill for our Christmas show. As ever, we’ve got no idea what story we’ll adapting for this year’s Seasonal show – our cast sizes have been known to vary from as little as 8 to as many as 40.
The way we recruit our performers has not changed since the inception of the Company. We don’t have requirements or restrictions when it comes to age or previous experience. We simply travel around the country holding open auditions, with zero limitations. Attracting a wide range of performers for different disciplines, once we have reached a decent number of players, we’ll then begin to formulate a concept for the show.
Although we’ve had actors as old as 65 in Be Happy productions, this year we’re going to be targeting a slightly younger age for our new recruits.
Every year, young people go through seismic life changes inherent in growing up. Leaving primary school, a child goes from being the biggest kid in the school to the smallest. The teachers that they’ve grown to trust and understand have been left behind in a different town or village. At the start of a new term, they’re faced with the daunting challenge of building a myriad of new relationships, that will not only determine their social status but also they’re future well being for the next 5 or 7 years.
A similar, but perhaps more crucial change occurs when a generation of teenagers leave the Secondary School establishment and enters into the realm of adulthood.
The pressures of choosing between A-Levels, Vocational Experience or simply finding a job can weigh heavy on a young mind. Individuals, crowded by peers that have mastered the art of appearing in control, might struggle externalising their inner conflict – the performance of theatre and improvisation can help with this.
That’s why we’re making special effort this year to reach out to younger would-be performers, on the cusp of adulthood and in need of a life-changing adventure that could change their entire perspective on life as they know it.
For the first time in Be Happy Theatre tours, we’re going to be travelling around the South of England’s Secondary School and Colleges. We’ve developed a short-hand version of a show we ran 5 years ago and we’ll be taking a skeleton crew of 10 players out to inspire a new generation of actors.
Although colleges and schools often have their own Drama and Theatre productions, Be Happy offers teenagers the opportunity to realise a dream that some thought might have died decades ago: the dream of running away to join an acting troupe. By employing the use of cunning college marketing and advertising techniques that we’ve learnt from some friends across the water, we’re going to be trying our best to recruit as many fresh young faces to our cause as possible.
The allure of travelling overseas to East Asia is potent, drawing thousands of young British people every year. We offer a slightly different Gap Year alternative. A year travelling Europe, working with professional actors, performing in a full-length show in some of the most prestigious venues in the Theatre world.