How do you convert ideas to outcomes when the path is full of obstacles? Do you know who to turn to when the going gets tough? Wouldn’t you rather just give up?
Spirit & Determination
I had the pleasure of performing at a new event last weekend. The idea was that this would be an alternative and sustainable outdoor experience. It combined healthy dining with live entertainment, within a secluded, woodland setting. All of which sounds pretty idyllic.
This was the first of what is hoped to become a regular fixture. As with many fledgling ventures, it was beset with obstacles and the whole thing could have been a disaster. However, the sheer spirit and determination of all involved meant that the evening was actually a success.
The person providing sound – who was also one half of a duo on the bill – became unexpectedly unavailable. When his partner arrived with the PA, she discovered that the electricity supply was not sufficient to cope with its demands. In attempting to rig this up, the power was lost to both the event marquee and temporary kitchen where food was being prepared.
All Is Not Lost
But all was not lost. A back-up generator was quickly deployed to provide power and light to the kitchen. Tea lights were distributed around the marquee area, creating an intimate and magical atmosphere as evening began to set in. The early performers calmly played their instruments without amplification or stage lighting.
Meanwhile, others worked behind the scenes to restore a power supply that, whilst unable to fuel the sound-system, was sufficient to run lighting for both the stage area and kitchen. Which meant the noisy generator could be put back to bed. And now the guests could enjoy aperitifs and canapes by candlelight, serenaded with acoustic instruments.
There was also a large campfire, away from the marquee. This was ready and lit for when darkness set in and diners wished to stretch their legs. In fact, you would have been hard-pressed to guess that anything was other than as planned.
I Can Do Something
So, what does this all have to do with creativity? A lot, as it happens. The organiser, Michelle, had looked at a piece of woodland and said ‘I can do something here’. Michelle had imagined a space in which people could meet, eat and be entertained. She had defined her criteria for what would make an alternative and sustainable event. And – crucially – she had sought out the right people to enable all this to happen.
And that includes not only those building, decorating, performing, cooking and serving. The clientele was also a key ingredient. By being clear about the type of atmosphere she was hoping to create, Michelle attracted people that were open-minded and actively engaged with the concept behind the evening.
From a performer’s point of view, this is critical. If an audience is switched on to what is happening in front of them, the vital bond that makes for good entertainment can be forged. In this instance, quite a lot was asked of the attendees. They had to trust that the food would be tasty; the ambience stimulating; the company convivial and the entertainment of good quality.
Not only that but they needed to ‘go with the flow’ when it was clear not everything was running quite as intended. Because all were invested in the idea of the evening, the evening happened. And it happened despite difficulty and set-back.
The Idea is Key
Anyone who has been involved in a theatrical production will be able to relate to this scenario. You begin with an idea; find a venue; build a production team; enlist your performers; advertise for an audience. And, somewhere along the way, you rehearse and refine your show. But the key thing remains the idea. And your willingness to follow it through. Regardless of what obstacles may get in your way.
So, whatever your creative urges (or your pupils’), be sure to act on them. And don’t be put off by the inevitable pitfalls.
Good luck and happy creating.