Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
This truly was an amazing experience. The production started as a dream for a lot of people who had so enjoyed being in Jesus Christ Superstar that they were desperate for us to do Joseph. The rehearsals and the final performances were filled with such joy and good will that the whole experience was life enhancing for all concerned. Rehearsals began in February and the cast worked really hard to learn all the harmonies. Simon Evans-White, our musical director, was an inspiration and made every rehearsal such a pleasure, whilst also getting the best out of everyone. We were able to recruit 14 children for a choir and some extra adult voices to boost the sound. Both on stage and off people loved every second of the shows.
The cast contained a real range of people; those with a faith and those without, those who were seasoned performers and those who had never had the courage to perform before, those who are naturally gifted and those who had much to learn, those in full health and those with health challenges. But when the performances began it was clear that they had become one big, happy family and that everyone was equally valued and respected for their contributions. New friendships have been forged. Quite a few people have picked up the bible for the first time and been very surprised that it is a book full of the stories of ordinary human beings just like them and with similar faults and failings. They have discovered that some people's lives are different because they see the promise, compassion and enduring love of God in the good times and the bad times of life. Others have started reading their bibles again having realised that they are less familiar with the well known stories of the Old Testament than they realised.
We have prayed together regularly throughout the time we have been together, remembering friends who were ill and unable to join us this time and rejoicing in their steady recovery towards health. We have learned to love one another deeply; to care and share together and to all pitch in to ensure that the myriad of jobs to do got done; making props, costumes, getting our heads around the safeguarding of our younger members, making tea and coffee, collecting contributions to rehearsal costs, carrying stage blocks around etc. Whatever needed doing there was always someone volunteering.
And the audiences came. We had nights when all the tickets had sold and we were squeezing late comers in. We were amazed when we started getting standing ovations from the second performance onwards. We have seen many familiar faces and many new ones. We were glad to see so many of our Little Fishes families from Minehead, residents from Westerly, most of the students of Foxes Academy and neighbours and friends, shop keepers who had supplied materials and so many members of the community who we do not normally see in church. What they experienced was a place full of colour and life. Once the performances were under way the whole cast seemed to take off and the audiences saw something really worthwhile. Members of the audience were singing along and hand jiving and one member from Minehead Church said that she had been tempted to get up and join in with the dancing. A lady from Bournemouth was truly surprised to learn that it was not a professional touring company she had been watching!
We were all sorry when Saturday night came and went and the production was over. Several members of the cast asked what we will be doing next year! If only Lloyd-Webber had written another church based musical. Any ideas?
Lynne Wooldridge, Director and Producer
Winds: SE at 14 kph