13 Nov 2015

Grit: How do you measure it?

We’ve just finished a very busy touring week, taking Grit around Torbay area schools, performing to year 6 & 7 audiences. We finished off the week with 3 public performances at the Palace Theatre in Paignton – it’s been an incredible, joyful, exhausting, overwhelming, exhilarating journey.

I think it will take us several months to make sense of what’s happened here.

We’re spending a lot of time sifting through the residue this week – looking over song lyrics, scrappy notes about script edits, photographs.

I’m not quite ready to reflect… not just yet.

But I can share some of the company’s reflections with you. On Sunday, our last performance day, we asked the 22 young people to write about what ‘Grit’ means to them, now, after this experience.  Here is what they said.

What does Grit mean to you, now, after this experience?

Grit is a musical and I love music and it’s about strength and resilience and people need to know more about their own strength and resilience.

Worrier to Warrior.

Everyone here is grit.

Strength to stand up, even if that’s just putting your hand up. 

Grit is to grit your teeth to get through the bad/tough times.

To have the confidence and fight for what you believe in.

To do whatever you need to do to be happy. Grit = Love.

I have made friends.

I am changed.

I am strong enough.


Tess is me.

I’d hug her if I could.

I am so brave.


I did things I never thought I was capable of.

I was believed in.

Spit and sweat.


I went on a journey with Tess.


Grit means to push through the times of horror and pain. It means to stop worrying about all the negatives and just accept them. Gritting your teeth allows you to move on with your life, to journey on with others. Why is Grit aimed at young people (around 11)? Because that’s the age where you are just starting to realise the reality of the world. The time where you realise it’s not perfect. It’s the time when you have to accept the imperfect and learn to live with all the flaws.

Grit means taking up a load of time and maybe missing out some stuff but it was worth it.

Answering questions post-school shows helped.

Gritting your teeth.

Grit in the oyster.

Grit, dirt, bad stuff.

Gravel, sand, tiny pieces.

Tiny pieces that come together as girt.

. – me.

…… – we are cool grit.

Grit means many small pieces, like friendship or something.

What does grit mean to me?

Well, it means a lot to me because it is one of the best shows I have ever been a part of and I think everyone who has been a part of Grit are truly amazing people, who are all talented in their own unique ways. This show has even helped me to boost my confidence more when I am on stage. Grit will always be a memory to me because it is something I never want to forget, because of how great working with the others has been. G.R.I.T.!!!


How modern life and society casts out those who chose to be their own person. If we give up and become like everyone, we’ll lose who we are and whoever you are, king or vagabond, we are all the same and that’s what makes the world turn. We breath the same air and have a beating heart. Let your heart speak to you and follow the wisdom it gives you.


Pushing through and carrying on through gritted teeth. Grit to me is knuckling down. Owning your space, your voice, being strong enough to speak out, to get messy. To laugh, cry, weep, laugh and cry again. Grit is about holding your own and being responsible for your own actions. Grit is what makes me keep going and keep my head held high. Grit is about dedication, determination, and respect. Respecting oneself, respecting your friends and being true! Always tell the truth and keep asking questions.


Theatre is one of the purest art forms. To watch everyone come together and make something out of thin air really is magical. It shows people that they are strong and capable in ways that they didn’t know and shows them that they can express themselves in music and performance. Working with this company has restored my faith in the acting community and shown me how much people really care about this art and the other people in it.


Grit has been fun, happy, emotional, stressful, confidence-building and a beautiful thing to be a part of. It has brought me closer to not only wonderful people but their incredible creative visions and ideas.  Such an inspiring process to witness and be a part of. I have learnt more about the arts and learnt more about myself and my opinions on different kinds of art. Incredible.


Grit means to me that going far and seeing the dangris (dangerous) crechs (creatures) and fasing (facing) them by telling the trooth (truth) and bleaving (believing) and worcing (working) together and say when you thingk something is rong (wrong). (Sophia, aged 6)


To me, Grit is a synonym for life. The different worlds they travel to are all actually just our world, what ifs are just normal people at school, the marching people in conformity world are just normal people trying to fit in, the people in the bar scene who think they are getting everything are in fact getting nothing.


Confidence is a big word. People use it a lot and don’t know what it means. Confidence comes from other people and I think we achieved something. It’s something that I learned is how to give confidence. Grit is such a perfect word. It obviously means different things to everyone in the group, which is a cool concept. When it means different things to everyone, it means we’re creating somethingfrom everyone.


Grit means to keep going in the face of all odds / to fight back against sometimes impossible forces. To speak back to schooling systems which can be broken and unfair and twisted and to do it together, to do it as a company, to stand and try to say something together/ to try and find a way to say it that we can all share/or at least words we agree are beautiful. Grit isn’t pretty. It’s real and dirty and scrappy and fighty and yes in spite of no and keep going. It means making and creating in a world where that’s hard.


I liked performing in the show Grit because it brought a lot of people from lots of different performing backgrounds together. I personally have met people who I now class as good friends which I am willing to say, back in my days at school, I would not have been friends with because our interest would have clashed.


To me, Grit means that you should always be accepted and you should never change who you are just to fit in. I have felt so accepted in Grit and I thank you all so much. I hope I can go on another journey like this soon. I love you guys so so so MUCH! Like, so much. It’s insane. You guys are great. And funny. And creative. Love you!


Grit to me has given me new friends and a new passion and an amazing experience. I was invited to this group not knowing anyone but I believe I found some really great friends and some brilliant inspirations. It’s really important to do this because it opens up new and exciting hobbies to do and that’s something I couldn’t have had without this Grit performance.


Grit means to me an opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings in a way that I want and not in a way in which I am to told. Grit has opened up amazing opportunities, its helped me make new friends, helped me enjoy writing music again and it has also reminded me about my passion for performing which I never thought would happen. Grit has helped make things make sense because we can relate to it because we made it. J I can be accepted for who I am.


To me, Grit means not giving up, having confidence to speak your  mind, knowing what’s right and what’s wrong. Knowing that there are people to count on and you can always find new people (like the Grit cast). Grit is about overcoming the hard times with your friends around you to help you through it. Grit!

What does Grit mean to me now? Grit means strength. Grit means courage. Grit means finding who you are. Grit is also a group of people, new found friends, new skills. Grit is the discovering of different lifestyles and different types of people. It’s the exploring of difference and exploring abstract writing, abstract acting, writing in a way tht has made it feel so real and it has been amazing! How do you measure it? That’s how you measure it: experiences.

What does Grit mean to me?

I don’t know if you remember, but being a teen can be hard. Ace at times, but at times, seemingly impossible. The world is often crushing and hopeless, and everyone just needs more hopefulness, more resilience, and more Grit. It is so important for us to share this musical, reaching out to all those at school and home, those with difficult families and missing spaces and telling them that: you know what? You’re not alone, and you are special and needed. You are precious, you have a place in this world. And it’s okay to suffer. We have each other’s back and there can be hope even in the darkest of situations.