Exit, pursued by a bear…

In 2016 a large cohort of Edward’s Boys left the company. They have commented thus:

  • Being a member of Edward’s Boys for seven years, doing ten different plays, has placed the company at the centre of my time at K.E.S. I feel sure that early March without technical rehearsals and a tour will feel incomplete and lacking
  • Humour, levity and friendship… it cannot accurately be described, but will always be remembered by those who were present
  • The process obviously involves line-learning, ‘blocking’ and precise textual focus, but what really makes the performance is the stories, discussions and mental ‘canters’ that bring everything into context. The unparalleled freedom of the rehearsal process allows for this to happen routinely. This is at the root of what we do
  • We never needed to be asked whether we wanted to be involved again or not because we wouldn’t even contemplate missing the opportunity. He still asked though…
  • Every member of Edward’s Boys that I have known shared and helped to create the atmosphere of humour and mutual support that is at the core of what we do
  • My first performance was a huge risk, but fortunately this risk came with an even bigger reward. Audiences have loved our shows. Once I stepped on stage for the first time, all it took was one laugh and any nerves I’d had dissolved. That first feeling of being welcomed by the audience was such a rush. Once I knew the audience were enjoying the show I had permission to enjoy it myself, and for me, that’s what Edward’s Boys is all about
  • The Edward’s Boys in-jokes definitely created a sense of belonging which put everyone at ease, and got the best possible performance out of everyone involved
  • One could be forgiven for assuming the memories we’ll take from Edward’s Boys are all glitz and glamour – spotlights and star-struck fans… Not so. Some of the more lasting memories are actually less predictable. What sticks out instead are little fragments of speeches and ‘golden’ lines – and not always one’s own. A really funny joke from a rehearsal, or scathing political debate at the back of the tour bus
  • The main motivation for the majority of the company, however, as Finlay has wisely observed is: “Because it’s fun!”
  • Edward’s Boys became a part of my life in early 2010 with the production of A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and since then the company has been a key component of my time at K.E.S. From the start I felt I had really stumbled on something quite special
  • Seven years and ten plays later, my love for the company is still present and the knowledge that the company continues to grow fills me with envy for the next group of actors coming through the ranks as they still have, what will be for most of them, the best acting experiences of their lives ahead of them
  • Having had many unforgettable experiences with this company, and countless times where I have literally cried with laughter, I look forward to hearing about their future successes and stories and watching them continue to flourish individually and as a whole until that already battle-weary director finally calls it a day
  • Of course it’s fun! This is true beyond doubt. However, for me, the privilege of being a member of Edward’s Boys for all seven years of my secondary education has meant so much more than that
  • Through the years my fellow ’09-intakes and I have (slowly) grown, (slightly) matured and begun to take the roles previously inhabited by old boys gone by. Roles that are sometimes not so important on the stage, as off it. I know this, because as a nervous eleven year-old boy, beginning a new school, the older members of Edward’s Boys (and a director who will not allow himself to be named) were the people from whom I learnt the most in all of my seven years at “Shakespeare’s School”
  • We learnt, for example, that in Edward’s Boys, as in life, the most important thing is to not take yourself too seriously; this does not lend itself well to dressing up as a girl in front of all your mates.
  • We learnt very quickly, therefore, how to have a laugh; but more importantly, when the time is right to concentrate
  • We learnt the importance of choosing just the right words to highlight from Lyly, Ford, Beaumont and Co.
  • I learnt to respect my elders, but not too much…
  • We most definitely learnt teamwork
  • But the most important thing of all is that these lessons were taught to me and my fellow ’09-ers, not by “Sir” or “Miss”, but by our mates. By being in the company, we had been in the presence of boys far older, more mature and better than ourselves right from the start of our school lives. We could not have helped but learn something from them. Even James has learnt one or two things, I think…
  • More recently we, as a year group, came to realise that now it was our responsibility to be those more mature boys. It was now up to us to try to teach some of those most wonderful lessons we had learnt as younger boys to those now coming into the company. We had come the full Edward’s Boys’ circle and now had to lead the company as those before us had done. Whilst we could never do as good a job as those gone by (Alex, Alex, Jeremy, Jack, Dave, Matt, George, etc.) we would try our best, just as every Edward’s Boy before us has done. This is really why we do the plays, and the overriding reason for the success of Edward’s Boys

PS Nostalgia, it seems, is officially a clinical condition

 

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George Hodson, Finlay Hatch, Dan Power, Dan Wilkinson, James Williams