It’s probably no surprise to people that I’m a bit of a drama queen. However back in the December of 2012 when I made my acting debut as the smoking hot smoking caterpillar in the Greenfaulds High Production of “Alice in Wonderland”, I realised for the first time that being “a bit of a drama queen” was not necessarily a bad thing. It was single handedly one of the best things I’d ever done and would commence the making of some great memories over the following two years.
After my most successful year in photography since leaving high school it was nice to come back to the place and relive the memories of where it all started. As I’ve stated before my nostalgic nature may seem premature as its only been two years but as the building wont be there after the end of this year - it seemed like a very “it was now or never” type situation. While I was in the middle of putting together my end of year photography showcase I had received a message from my old school show director (Alan McDonald) who wanted some old footage I’d taken during my time there for a big video presentation on the closing night of the last show he was directing, it was at this time it hit me that this would also be the last ever school show in the original building. Of course I was happy to help and on dropping the videos off, it was so weird being back in the old theatre watching as they were rehearsing for their current production of “Beauty & The Beast” - particularly seeing old friends like Lauren Main (Beauty) and Hugh MacDonald (Beast) who I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with during my time there - Lauren was even the flounder to my scuttle aha. As we were catching up, Alan asked if I could come along to a dress rehearsal to do some for the photographs for the foyer and then as momentos for the cast on closing night.
I had some reservations about coming back to take pictures of the school show, my own Dad, in relation to my other project with the school was very vocal on how it looked like I “couldn’t let go” - but I knew this wasn’t the case - I’d spent a long time learning how much physical nostalgia meant to people and how I could use my skills to deliver this in an aesthetically thought provoking way so to miss out an opportunity and experience to help a lot of people wasn’t gonna stop because some people, or what I feared some people would think querying over my motivations. I had had a very difficult year 2014-15 figuring out what kind of career I could have in photography and it dawned on me that I wasn’t gonna have one unless I started taking risks and asking for what I wanted.
All of this anxiety I soon learned was very superficial - everyone was so nice, I mean during my time we’d never had a volunteer like myself to professionally photograph or film any of the shows I was in so it all went in to making their experience so much more enjoyable. It was quite funny because I’d done a show of my work, just a couple of week prior to this, which was a three month process and I didn’t get nearly as many compliments there as I did on the opening night of the show. It was the first time I could really appreciate how my work could affect so many people, because it was special to them. At the end of the day what was so nice about being there to see the full thing come together was witnessing all very different kinds of people coming together for the reason of wanting to create something to entertain people with and create fantastic memories - and that energy was in the air because its exactly what I came away from school show with.
On the closing night, I was in the audience with a lot of old cast members and after the final presentation we were were all called up to the stage and we watched as they did the big emotional group circle - the memories of all the ugly crying came flooding back - on reflection it seems a little silly but to this day that time I had is exactly why I don’t compare my success with anyone else’s - if doing school show is the last time I perform in front of a crowd I hope myself and everyone are glad we all did it, cause its not comparable to anything - it will always be an experience in itself. I might chase after that same feeling of putting myself out there, and hopefully many others will too - but we’ll always have that time, and that legacy we were proud to be part of. But It was also a kick up the ass that was saying, always remember and enjoy the memories of the past but also use that as inspiration to create new memories and to take new risks.
Moving forward without Mr McDonald in a new school, less facilities, different attitudes - I hope to see the drive of wanting to entertain the community still strong - they still have the GHS name - the legacy will not die with the school it continues in everyone who participated and will participate in a Greenfaulds High Production and they have the opportunity to revive that legacy in an incredible way.
It was so amazing to be part of the last time in a place you were first made to feel truly elated and accepted by a community of people. I realised that school show doesn’t have to be the last place where I can have that - I could find it again in photography if I wanted it. I at least know now for me that it was all to do with creativity - coming together to make something - goals of creation, and sharing it with people - no matter what it looks like and if your scared of failing whats important is that you’ve created content and memories that didn’t exist before and you’ve made connections with people - don’t let the fear of failing scare you into not doing what you want to do.