5 Years in IHDC : My story

5 Years in IHDC : My story

On the 21st of July 2010 I began my on stage journey. Back then I only had thoughts of seeing myself in lights. But after watching that year’s Iver Heath Drama Club production Bugsy Malone I envisioned myself being able to stand alongside some of those performers .

Back then I was different and so was the world. David Cameron and Nick Clegg had recently gone into Downing Street and everybody had blackberries.

There I stood in a village hall about to join a diverse group whom have now changed dramatically over the last half decade. Mostly for the better but there are still some faces who have gone in which I believe still have a place on stage and they will be missed.

From a largely youthful group (it still is in many ways) I instantly realized these younger people all had their own little groups within. Some even rivaled to each other. There was a somewhat negative vibe surrounding certain groups and a lack of long term cohesion. But this is something which has definitely changed for the better over my time there.

“People either see what you’re doing and follow or walk away.”

Today at Iver Heath Drama Club I firmly believe the group is the closest and most hard working ever seen down there, by me at least. Not to take anything away or tread on any toes of the past but I call it as I see it.

Back to year one, three weeks passed and it was audition time for the next show. That being Snow White. Being someone who always bites more than I chew. I went for a main part. On that day, I turned 21 and had also been given my first ever main role. I was cast as the man in the mirror!

 

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silver tights from my first ever role, take it in ladies

“There have been good successful shows and some bad, that’s the art of performance.”

In my first few years in IHDC a miniature revolution took place. A small influx of adult performers paired with our hardworking attitude shifted the gears in terms of standards. Shows got better, the performances got better, the production value increased and audience members spiked. They still improve today and without any arrogance, one thing I would like to say I contributed to is the hard working attitude that this crowd now have. It’s their core value.

“To make it in IHDC you need to have the right team working attributes and attitude for hard work. Fitting in and talent are two things that aren’t a necessity but they help. Overall if you are seen to be putting in a shift, the top parts will come your way. Trust me, I’ve been there.”  

Yes I have had high points, playing hamlet is one of my personal favorites and requires no introduction. Bringing our first ever Shakespeare production to life was challenging, the dialogue is something that present day people are not used to and gave everyone involved a bigger scope. Plus who doesn’t love wearing a shirt like meatloaf.

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Playing Hamlet alongside Richard Gittens as Horatio was one of my finest moments

But being granted the role of Robin Hood in an IHDC pantomine will always be my favorite achievement to date. The various promotional appearances and newspaper articles I made will always be a great memory for me. But it was hard work, being a name that people know carries an expectation, one that I hope did Robin Hood justice. That production in particular convinced me that things have changed for the better in IHDC, there’s a certain work ethic about the place now.

Even though I am kind of tired from Robin Hood I am still more than ready to take on another challenge.

Thank you to everyone who has had some level of involvement to IHDC over the years. It’s been a ride and one that will continue for me.

Next year my writing will come to life on stage when I bring my one act murder mystery farce Hotel Doom to IHDC. Performing with this diverse wonderful group has brought me confidence to write, to blog and to continue in all of my performance rated endeavors.

“The people I have met are my friends for life and what we have at IHDC is a family of ragtag sometimes dysfunctional queens, but they are my queens and we do well together.”

 

Here’s to many more years and below are some of the fond memories…

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Science up close: My experience

I don’t talk much about what I do between the hours of my average weekday, mostly because I am not really into mixing work life with personal. But over the weekend and for the first time in around 15 years my place of work opened its doors for the general public.

Now if you work in retail that isn’t so special but where I work is the very forefront of cutting edge science.

Science up close was an event that took place at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire this past Saturday. This was my first real experience, like many, of dealing with members of the public, who I can say were thankfully enthusiastic and wanted to listen to what I had to say. With anything that is half the battle, whether you are selling a book, or performing on stage, if the audience don’t want to be there, well the struggle is real.

To me this was a first because wherever I have tried to engage large numbers of people to gain their interest, it has been me trying to interest them. But before the doors opened these enthusiastic and somewhat curious group wanted to be there. Curiosity and questions is the very pinnacle of what science is. Finding the answer is sometimes the outcome.

Throughout the laboratory site there were many displays happening, mine in particular consisted of a high voltage electronic area within the central laser facility. This particular area known as the Vulcan Capacitor Bank (yes Vulcan, but there wasn’t a captain Kirk in sight, honest), powered the Vulcan laser. Now this laser is damn powerful and one of a kind. In fact so powerful, it’s unit of measurement is in Petawatts (1015 Watts).

So the capacitor bank works by charging up high levels of electricity and then discharging them through a flash lamp which in effect amplifies the Guinness world record holding laser.

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A flash lamp in operation

It’s surprising how much you know that the general public will find interesting. This is an area which I spend my work time, carrying out repairs and thinking of not much else. Whereas the public and even staff set their eyes upon this set up for the first time and looked in awe.

The range of people visiting consisted of young kids who were interested in visual science to older fellows who had worked with electronics or science in their lifetime.

Overall my experience with the public visiting my place of work was a positive one. Early reports are suggesting the whole day went really well and around 15,000 people came to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

It’s important that we have days like this, to inspire the future scientists who will equip us for this ever changing world.

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Me at work in the Vulcan capacitor bank (blue cases are the caps) this area was open to the public