Back in October Jack auditioned for, and got into, the junior cast of the Gosport Gang Show.
For those who don’t know, Gang Shows are theatre shows put on by Guides and Scouts (and Brownies and Cubs). They are based on the old musical hall concept with songs, dancing and drama sketches. In Gosport, at least, they are not some quickly cobbled together, school stage affair, they are properly laid on theatre shows running for a week and performing to probably well over 1000 people. All organised by a tremendous team of volunteers.
What has it meant for us? Well it has meant that Jack has been out a lot (not alot!). Rehearsal one evening a week at which he stayed late most weeks (since the friend giving him a lift had a daughter in the main cast too) and on a Sunday daytime too from February. It has meant that we are extremely grateful to my friend who scooped him up with her brood and drove him there and back every Thursday making it possible for him to do it. And it has meant we have become very thankful for the car (the car that we weren’t sure we wanted, never mind needed) being able to take him there on a Sunday was good and as for show week when he was there until 10pm/11pm every night, well it was worth its weight in gold. It has been a constraint! We have not been able to go over to South Wales for the last 6 months as Jack had committed not to miss rehearsals, weekend trips have been cut short, we’ve had to be home by 3pm on a Thurs to make time to eat before rehearsals meaning we’ve missed home ed group activities… The late night on a Thurs did effect moods (his and therefore mine) on a Friday and not in a good way. And as for show week (and the week before) well there was no point trying to achieve anything at all then for anybody (I think Pete and I were more tired than Jack).
Was it worth it? YES!
Jack has had the time of his life, he loved every minute of it. Which makes everything else insignificant really.
Rehearsals gave him the opportunity just to hang around with kids all his age or older. He is older (if only by a month in some cases, but in others by a year or two or even three) than pretty much all his friends so he appreciated not being the oldest. Because they were older they were less supervised and given more responsibility and freedom, which they seem to have used up playing Top Trumps. There was also a (cheap) tuck shop which was a draw He made new friends and reignited old friendships. His best friend from pre-chool, whom we lost touch with over the years despite them living 2 mins walk away, was in it and the boys got on as well as ever and are now at the age where they can just go down the park and keep the friendship going themselves without need for the dreaded ‘playdates’.
His confidence and independence have come on massively. If at this point last year he had been required to get up on stage in front of several hundred people dressed in a skirt, wig and bra top and do the can-can (no unfortunately I couldn’t take photos )then I’m not sure of the response, I had enough trouble getting him into costumes for his drama plays (he didn’t want to ‘look a fool’). He didn’t bat an eyelid, indeed he was rather pleased with himself and acknowledged that skirts are comfy but no he won’t adopt them as his style
But this confidence is more than just about practical things he is not afraid to do. I can see it coming through internally, he is more confident in himself. I see it when I watch him with groups of other children, he is less of a follower and has more sense of his own value. He is still quieter than most but a lot of that is down to manners, he is never going to shout his way to the front of a group he is too polite for that.
This inner confidence is also coming through at home. He is less reliant on my good opinion and guidance and more keen to go his own way. Which although in practical day to day terms is not necessarily good, leading to a period of renegotiation of boundaries and relationships aka shouting and door slamming, it is as it should be. I am a control freak, it is better I learn to back off a bit now and let us build a more equal relationship (although with well established boundaries) as we head towards teenage years. In 10 years time hopefully he will have grown up and flown the nest, best to gain independence by degrees and with confidence in himself.
Here’s Jack’s view of show week
Mum said I had to write a post about the Gosport Gang show so here it is.
The costumes I wore were Bronze shirt for the opening. Edwardian, Skirt and costermunger for music hall. Scarecrow and music note shirt for Never Forget. Then we had an interval. Then we dressed up as cowboys for Hoe down. Cave man for Cave dwellers. and Our cub uniform for the Finale
We did the same every day except some days I did the Finale and some days I didn’t.
We also had to wear make up but most people accidentally licked off their lipstick.
It was fun.