The weeks leading up to the festival absolutely flew by. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed. Before I knew it we were loading out our vast assortment of PA equipment, guitar amplifiers and drum stands from the car for the tech and dress rehearsal. The week leading up to this had been long and slightly stressful due to the fact it can be a very complex procedure to ensure that all the necessary equipment was transferred first to the 24:7 offices and then to New Century House without anything being left behind (plenty of heavy lifting had also turned my lower spine into a fine, powdery dust). However, once we arrived and set up things began to ease up as I realised that the musicians I had brought in for the project were all highly dedicated, well versed in their parts and completely professional. This time the nagging, self-doubting voice that inhabits the inside of my head could only muster a faint whisper thanks to the dedication of the band and the rest of Team Vera.
Once settled, I found the run highly enjoyable throughout. It’s amazing how quickly you adjust to the pressures of performing every day and how what should be an extraordinary experience becomes routine after only a couple of days. It was lovely to walk into New Century House every day, greeting a host of happy people along the corridor before performing alongside the rest of Team Vera. The festival created a great community of artists and New Century House was the perfect hub for such an event. During my spare time between playing in Vera and working on other projects I saw as many of the other 24:7 productions as possible and felt a huge sense of pride watching each play, knowing exactly how much effort and passion had been put in by each company over the past few months.
As show week drew to a close I began to reflect on my experiences during the run up to and within the festival. I can’t say that every single moment was completely stress free, within every project there are always moments when you have a lot to do and very little time to do it in (my favourite example being that I had about ten minutes to get to my graduation ceremony after finishing the tech and dress rehearsal for Vera and the taxi decided not to show up…Don’t worry, I made it… Just!) but throughout every difficult moment I always knew why I was striving to achieve something so complex. With such a supportive team of performers, writers, directors, choreographers, stage managers and band mates behind me, it was worth giving as much time and energy as I possibly could because I wanted to create a performance that best reflected the vast amount of talent that exists within Team Vera. Overall I believe that during the project I have made great steps towards becoming a better composer and I’m incredibly grateful to Jayne and Chris for putting their faith in me, for the patience of the actors who gave me the time to figure out how to best make things work and the musicians for their unwavering dedication and support. When I started the internship with 24:7 I felt lost after completing my final university project, but now, after achieving so much with Vera Dymond, I feel a lot more confident about my future as an artist. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to conclude my three years at university learning how to become a professional actor and musician. It’s been a privilege to have been involved in 24:7.
Tom – August 2014