In October, Icon launched its brand-new adult theatre group, Open Stage. The project takes place in the Pentagon Shopping Centre and involves weekly drama sessions, led by Creative Engagement Manager Sarah Chiswell-Hornett, that welcome those new to drama and regular performers from Icon’s Community Casts.

Through various exercises across the weeks, all our participants were able to develop their skills as creatives and performers, learning about what goes into devising and performing theatre in a fun, welcoming environment.

One of the participants, new to Icon and performing in general, Ian, has written to us about his experience with the Open Stage.

“My only experience has been as an audience member… I’d heard about a couple of previous productions Icon had put on but had never managed to actually see one”, said Ian, whose main hope going into Open Stage was “to get an insight into how theatre is made… I am really interested in how theatre-makers get from words on a page to a fully formed show.”

While sharing which elements of the project that stayed with him once the term has ended, Ian mentioned that he particularly enjoyed how exercises over the weeks were introduced with the context of how they’d be used in professional rehearsals.

“It brought to mind past shows I’ve seen that seemed to have used those same exercises and techniques… I also really enjoyed the exercises in which we worked with scripts, from the simple 3 line exercises to the ones with a couple of pages of dialogue.”

When asked if his confidence as a performer had improved across these sessions, Ian answered,

“Definitely… I know I became more comfortable in performing and sharing with the group over the first term.”

The final highlight of his time with the Open Stage was his new appreciation of collaboration in this setting:

“So many of the exercises required me to really listen to other performers and to build on what they said and did. These are important skills in mine, and most lines of work, and it was great to be able to practice them in a completely new context… They were a great reminder of the importance of play and how it can be used to generate and develop ideas. I probably thought that rehearsal rooms were terribly serious affairs and seeing how play and playfulness can be used in that setting was enlightening.”

How to Join Open Stage

Icon’s Open Stage will be returning for a new term in February 2024. You can find out more and sign up to take part here.






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