It was a rainy Monday in late September when I received an email sent by the headmaster informing of the creation of a new theatre workshop in our school. I remember feeling curiosity while I was reading the email. I was tempted to do theatre for the sake of improving my speaking skills. Nevertheless, the email asked for some commitment from people who were interested, and this made me seriously hesitate whether I should participate or not. Acting is challenging and requires more skills than just some good will. Finally, I decided to send an email to Isabel, the coach of the theatre group, expressing my interest to try out this activity and discover if the drama workshop was a right way of improving my English. One week later, we had our first meeting. We were a group of around 15 people, with more girls than boys, with different English levels and very different ages. Some had some previous experience in acting but most of us were fearless and inexperienced adventurers.
During the first 3 weeks, we worked on some team building and confidence exercises and, afterwards, we practiced theatre techniques like gestural and oral expression, stage awareness and improvisation. From the first moment, Isabel made it clear for us that nothing was impossible to do; it was only a matter of practice. She pointed out that the most important things to improve and achieve our goals were our will and motivation to try it again and again. Some exercises were far from easy but her support and advice made them feasible. Perhaps, if I had to highlight one exercise, I would choose the one in which we learned about the importance of internalizing why we were saying something. The simple fact to stop and think a little bit about the aim of our text made memorizing easier and helped us to have a better and more natural intonation and pronunciation.
After Christmas, we were supposed to choose the text for our play and to start the rehearsal. However, people started to drop out, every week there were fewer and fewer of us. It really was a critical moment for the continuity of this initiative. Some said we should give up and stop the activity of the group. Personally, I didn’t agree. In fact, I felt more and more relaxed every week, and I enjoyed more and more the time spent in the theatre group. Fortunately, thanks to Isabel’s support and the enthusiasm of those who kept on coming, we agreed to continue with our program. However, since we were a smaller group of people, we decided to adapt the text and begin rehearsing. Despite the inconvenience of being fewer actors, which forced some of us to play more than one role sometimes, the rehearsal was truly fun.
Finally, the presentation day arrived. The venue was full of people, some of whom were former members of the group, and others were our teachers and classmates. We felt pressure and even stage fright but, at the same time, we trusted each other and believed that we would be able to do it. And, without any doubt, the performance was a success.