From the hundreds of students that attended workshops with Sam and Luke over the past few months, 120 of the most promising were invited to an audition.
You’ve all seen the movies, I know what you are imagining; a long room, wooden floors, high windows. A single fan issuing little to no air perched on a windowsill and a solitary CD player. One long table at the front of the room, separating six stern dance professionals from wide-eyed young hopefuls.
I know what you are thinking; how could we do such a thing to boys who just love to dance? To young men who may have never danced before? Well don’t worry. We didn’t. Well not like that anyway.
I’ll admit there was a long table, but the judges barely stayed behind it. They wandered around the room, went up to the balcony to get a birds’ eye view and talked to the boys. Before each audition they introduced themselves with beaming smiles and a breezy attitude making sure the boys felt at home.
The audition team that faced the boys that fateful day were: Scott Ambler Choreographer/Director of Lord of the Flies. Alan Vincent the tour director, Adam Galbraith, tour director, Daisy May Kemp Assistant to tour director, Helen Prosser producer, along with our very own Luke Saville and Sam Broadbent. Also hovering around the building looking after auditionees, parents and the panel alike were Team Lowry – Kelly, Jane, Sally and Me.
The first day consisted of three auditions of 40 boys each. After a tough warm-up that had me sweating just watching, the boys set to it learning routines from the show. Meanwhile Eccles town hall, who were kind enough to play host to us over the weekend, was over-run with nervous parents and friends. Most of whom seemed more nervous than the boys auditioning as they chatted excitedly and indulged in tea and cakes.
At the end of the night sixty boys were asked back for a re-call audition where it all began again.
Sunday saw two groups of thirty take a three hour workshop. The parents, old hats at this now, wished them luck at the door and left them to it. The building was calmer but the stakes were higher. Re-visiting some of the routines they had learnt the day before choreographer Scott Ambler talked them through the routines. They learnt how they would turn from polite, uniformed choirboys into savages; the boys drank in his wisdom. When it was time to show the routines, my word did they perform! In a few short hours they had embodied Scott’s choreography, expertly dancing his codified chaos. It was spectacular to watch, I am only glad it wasn’t me making the tough decision of who was to carry on with the project.
Following the choreographed routines the boys had a chance to tap into their own savagery and create short pieces based around the phrases. This was my absolute favourite part of the weekend, the pieces created were wonderful. A testament to Scott, Sam and Luke who had guided them through the day. With leaps, lifts, tricks and high-end performance quality the boys are already fit for the stage.
Both days were physically challenging, but the boys loved every second. After the auditions, dance shoes had been taken off, numbers handed back and rucksacks slung over shoulders I grabbed a quick chat with some of the boys. All of them agreed no matter what comes of the weekend good news or bad, they had taken part in two wonderful workshops, learnt so many new things and met a wider variety of people who shared their passion. *cue that warm glowing feeling*
The results are in, phone calls have been made and we have our cast.
Now comes the hard work: The Rehearsals.