Cardiff group's debut performance

It’s the second to last rehearsal for the Huggard Centre Cardiff group’s first performance in their hometown and things are starting to look more polished. Everyone is remembering the words (some of which are in French), notes and choreographed moves for a five-minute section of Bizet’s Carmen – no mean feat!

Over 6 weeks workshop leaders Dan and Sian have broken down the material into bite-sized chunks to make it easy and accessible to learn. They’ve added gestures created by the group to add drama and create a sense of ownership of the piece, worked on acting skills and come up with staging ideas with everyone’s help.

‘I’m really impressed by how it’s all come together’, Sian says after the session. All the different sections have been layered together and staged so that she can sing the role of Carmen, make sense of the original words yet stay with the group to support them. Streetwise leaders always sing and direct from within the group during performances rather than standing in front to conduct.

There are definitely some nerves about performing next week; one of the performers said that he definitely wasn’t going to perform six weeks ago but has since changed his mind. We chat about what to expect and how the evening will go, ‘I’ll be chicken, but I won’t chicken out’ he says and that seems to sum up the feeling in this small but supportive group.

‘How do you think you’ll feel afterwards?’ I ask them. ‘I’ll be nervous but afterwards I’ll feel great, really high’ someone says. And this is exactly why performing is so fantastic at raising people’s confidence; people take on a challenge, feel they’ve succeeded and that feeling spreads into other parts of their lives. They question what else in their lives they thought they couldn’t achieve.

The group is tentatively looking forward to the show next week -  ‘at least if we make a fool of ourselves we’re all in it together’ is the general feeling. But when they’re standing on stage and the audience is applauding them, I know they’re going to feel an amazing sense of achievement.

The performance takes place following the screening of our film opera 'The Answer to Everything' at Chapter Arts next Thursday 12 December at 6.30pm. Buy your tickets here.