This circus we call theatre

It’s funny to think I have something I loathe so much for being the start of something I love. ‘SCHOOL THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED’… 2012, one of the worst years of my existence.

Have I ever been popular? No. Never. Why? That’s a good question and sometimes I just didn’t understand it. I wasn’t a bad person, I wasn’t a perfect person either. I made mistakes, more than I can count. I remember so much about my childhood, sometimes I wish I didn’t though. We all go through difficult situations that unintentionally make us question who we are as an individual. I found myself asking that question far too often. Anyway, I spent 2011 at Hillcrest High School and although I wasn’t bouncing off the walls happy I survived. Moving to a new school sounded like the worst thing ever and to some degree it was.

2012, was one of my darkest years. I was alone, so alone. My friends, were friends before I arrived and I just existed. Although that sounds like it was always bad it wasn’t there were times it wasn’t so bad. So I’m not sure when it happened but I started writing this show called Higher Grade. It was intended to be a webseries that we would shoot at the school. I wrote a few episode before speaking to a guy by the name of let’s just lie and say his name is simply H. I feel like my approach to this is so 13 Reason’s Why. H was what I wanted in a friend, I thought at least. I approached him to work on the show together due to his experience in the arts. He was, sorry is, an extremely talented actor and I knew he would be perfect for the project. He was. The commitment he showed was exciting and the friendship we formed was real, we spoke sometimes for hours and hours about such rubbish.

We began working on the show and as well as it began the show would soon hit too many speed bumps. We lost our star, then we lost another, and eventually, things were falling apart. Some things can be fixed but these cracks needed more than we could give. The show ceased production only a few months after it began. I left ‘SCHOOL THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED’ at the end of the year, my friendship with H, well it didn’t survive. I can say it was his fault but neither of us tried to remain friends. Weird to even reminisce, to go from something to nothing in seconds.

My next few years consisted of different things and although I still pursued Higher Grade it wasn’t the same. I failed at a revival of the web series before realising I want it to be for TV instead. Now there was someone from the original cast that I still spoke to every now and then, Ndili Stamper. He was an extra on the show and he would always ask how the show was going.

SO TO RECAP:

Although my time at ‘SCHOOL THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED’ was mostly awful there were times that I was really happy. I owe it for three things;

  1. Higher Grade.
  2. My brief but cherished friendship with H.
  3. Ndili Stamper.

In October/November of 2014, Stamper contacted me to meet with him. He wanted me to write a show for ‘SCHOOL THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED’ to perform based on my Higher Grade concept. I wasn’t sure, to be honest, but I decided to just do it. I definitely don’t regret my decision. It took me three months to complete the draft of the script. The Head of Drama asked if I could change the main focus to a boy instead which I couldn’t agree too. The show has been in development for four years and the one consistency is the characters and I couldn’t change that for anyone. So the play was rejected and we (Ndili Stamper and myself) decided to do it ourselves. It may have started off as a joke but I think the three months we invested into it made it difficult to just walk away. We spent weeks planning on how we could do the show. After a few months, we realised it just wasn’t possible. I had written a play that was too difficult for us to stage due to a small theatre, inexperience and ridiculous amount of sets and their changes.

It took us a while to figure out the name, and how we’d be operating but we came up with Backstage Productions (I know) Spotlight Productions (yikes) Encore (yeah no) and after a while, I thought of Blank Canvas Productions.

The company started with four people but is the product of belief. Ndili Stamper believed in me, maybe more than I did myself and because of him, we both pushed to make this company a reality. If I’m grateful for anything it’s him, for making me realise that this is what I want to do with my life. Stamper was an extra in the show, whom I barely interacted with and didn’t even remember at times (if you read this don’t be offended), but he never forgot me and I owe him so much for making me realise my full potential.