Winner of the St Helen’s Playwriting Competition, Isabella (9M), describes her exciting journey from first draft to final curtain of her one-of-a-kind show Jazz Junction performed in the Studio Theatre during Lent term.
I was absolutely thrilled to win the Playwriting Competition last summer and have loved working with Miss Baldock to direct and produce Jazz Junction. From the nervousness of the first audition when I was convinced that no one would turn up, to an intense rehearsal schedule, creating props, costumes and stage settings, developing Joshua’s song and the importance of the music, and then marketing to encourage people to come along, it has been the most unbelievable and exciting experience. When you see characters which were just lines on paper become voices and take action on stage, it is really special.
The story follows a young woman, Stephanie, too caught up in the extravagance of London life to pay attention to her true companions. When death occurs close to her heart, she inherits the site of an old shoe shop. Remembering a dream, she turns it into a magical jazz club, to impress celebrities and stars! However, not everyone who glitters turns out to be gold and with no support from anyone in London and having declined all the locals, she finds herself alone. This is until a stranger appears and helps her find her feet. Together they apologise, perform and win back the support and friendship of the local crowd. Ultimately changed, Stephanie proves herself when, in the final scene, she decides to go with a local performer over a celebrity (only there due to cancellations). But, we are left with one question at the end: where did the stranger go? Was she just a ghost?
My favourite moment of the play is the ending scene where the club lights up with atmosphere and enjoyment. Everyone was dancing and smiling, all the actors were doing extra bits of improv and I felt that it was truly a joy to watch, seeing everything come together like that!
The message of this play is to never forget what is important, and don’t let yourself become influenced but be true to who you really are.
Thank you to everyone who helped me, from my amazing friends, the advice I received from students in the older years, the amazing lighting team, all the support from the Music and Drama departments. But, most importantly to Miss Baldock for all her inspiration, advice – and patience!