My first career was as a teacher for children with learning difficulties which I did until 2005.
Through 'Facebook' I saw that some of my former pupils were involved in a show and decided it would be good to go along with my Mum and best friend Sue (who also worked with me for a time at the school).
On arrival one of the young ladies spotted me in the foyer and beckoned me over. I was delighted she recognised me after all these years!
The conversation went roughly like this.
Pupil: Hiya, luv. How you doin?
Me: Okay thanks, and you? It's good to see you.
Pupil: How's your husband?
Me: Sadly we aren't together.
Pupil: Did you get shut of him?
Me: Well we got divorced.
Pupil: Awww. That's a shame. Got another one?
Me: Well I did have a new partner but he died a few weeks ago.
Pupil: Awww. That's a booming shame. You're not doing very well are you?!!
There was no answer to that! Bless her, she did make me smile.
The foyer was like a flashback down memory lane! Staff, pupils, parents, familiar faces from my days in Runcorn. The place was buzzing. I would have loved to have chatted to many people but there wasn't time.
The show was fantastic! It was obvious hours and hours of planning, rehearsals, dedication had gone into all the songs, dances, costumes.
The energy, enthusiasm, confidence and talent of these young people was awesome. In the early days of my teaching career (late 80's) we often used to stand the usual curriculum down after October half-term in order to put on a whole school drama production for Christmas. All our art work, music, etc. was focused around 'the play' and we worked hard to ensure all pupils, age 2 -19 had a role. Some of those pupils were involved last night. As the paperwork and targets crept more and more into the school these productions were ended and many of us thought it was a shame. To see these young people last night we were so right to lay such an emphasis on performing arts.
The show was held together by the singer Keily Hampson
She was the producer and director. Mal Hampson is the founder of the group and is also manager of Halton Speak Out
I have taken several photographs here
My only slight negative comment would be about the comedian who 'filled the gaps' to allow for costume changes, etc. Although he would be suited for Hen and Stag nights, Comedy Clubs, etc. he wasn't the best for last night as some of his jokes were not suitable for the family audience. Sorry Phil, but we wanted to see the real talents of the youngsters involved and when a member of the audience shouted 'Enough now' he spoke for many of us.
Having said that I enjoyed the show very, very much and thought it was better than some I had seen with Clive on our Royal Caribbean cruise last year!
If a show is to be judged by entertainment, value-for-money and leaving you with a true 'Feel Good' factor then Ella's 'One Night Only' rates up there with the best. For the real stars of the show there are many who could learn the qualities of passion, enthusiasm, fun, tenacity and dedication from them.
I felt very proud and privileged to have been involved in the school years of some of the cast last night. I 'lost' myself in the production and left with a positive vibe.
Well done and thank you to all those involved and when is the next one as I want to book some tickets?!