This blog post was written by Hugh Malyon, a 20-year old Paignton-based emerging artist who worked with Doorstep Arts on the recent original production of Grit. Many thanks to Hugh for taking the time to record his journey… and an even bigger thanks to him for his director’s eye, insight and ongoing leadership for the company. It’s been a pleasure working with you!
My Experience of GRIT and the Support I was Given
A guest post by Grit Assistant Director Hugh Malyon
Browsing one day on my computer, a very fortunate e-mail happened to pop in to my inbox. An invitation to attend a open rehearsal for the musical GRIT. I instantly jumped to the opportunity and was exited for the behind the scenes roll, including assistant director. I also went to the rehearsal as a unofficial agent for my friend/actor Luke Grant.
The open rehearsal must have gone well as we both received ” congrats you’re in”. Meeting the full company for the first time I was stuck and impressed with the diverse age range. With the youngest 12 and the oldest a lot older, this newly formed company has the potential to create something special, entertaining and memorable for audience and cast alike.
This project was interesting and different in many ways. First of all, it wasn’t a completely scripted piece nor a completely devised piece, It was somewhere weirdly in the middle. Secondly, it was a thrust stage. This basically meant that everything the actors learnt in drama school had to go out the window – as you can imagine it was a steep learning curve.
During the summer we had time as a company to complete the gaps in the script, a task we were doing right up to the matinee performances. However, during that summer we had time to grow as a company and enjoy working with the characters and narrative – a time where every idea was considered and creative life was GREAT!
Unfortunately, this was short lived as we entered into rehearsal schedule and looming deadlines. This is where assistant directors come into their own: bossy, loud and stressed out! No, luckily for me I didn’t have to become dictator of directing nightmare. This was down to the sheer talent of the company members and the fantastic support from DOORSTEP ARTS.
In the musical there were three unique, batty, creative, supportive and out of this world characters. Now I’m not saying that these characters based solely on Erin, Jade and Meg ( The three directors of DOORSTEP) but I have my suspicions. They all put in a real shift to make GRIT a professional piece as well as giving the young people the chance to learn and grow as young artistes.
As an example of them going above the call of duty, they introduced me to Unlimited Impact. They offer small bursary for disabled artistes across the s/w. This successful Grant allowed extra support for me and my disability to participate fully in the group. It helped fund accessible transport, useful software for me, as well as lamps E.C.T.
One of the biggest barriers we had to overcome as a company is the everyday common cold. It hit our company like a plague and I think most people had a version of it including myself. I have a distressing memory on one of our first tour performances at a local school. My throat was sore and I lost my voice for the whole day. I had lots of notes to give and break a legs to offer but most of that didn’t happen due to my deteriorating throat and voice. We pulled through and that was credit to the friendly and supportive environment of the GRIT company.
I will always look back in fondness at my journey with the GRIT company. There is some incredible talent in Torbay just waiting for an opportunity like DOORSTEP ARTS offered and will continue to offer. The feedback session that the company participated in was emotional, inspiring and a honour to be part of.
HUGH MALYON, PAIGNTON. 16.11.15