Mine was the theatre. I loved everything about it - watching, performing, learning lines, rehearsing, the "roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd". All of that stuff was my world as a teenager. I went to a theatre club every Saturday morning and I took part in Am-Dram at every opportunity.You never really forget your first love and the joy it brought. I never did. I just put it on the backburner.
Last night, it all came back to me. One of the 'kids' who shared my teenage dreams was Andy Graham. We were close friends until we went away to college and contact kind of "fizzled out" the way it sometimes does. I took the path of studying Modern Languages and became a teacher. Andy studied drama and has pursued a career in the arts. I'm not going to tell our life stories, they're irrelevant really, it is enough to say that thanks to the miracle of Modern Technology we located each other via Friends Reunited a few years ago and renewed our connection. We met up a few times, but contact has remained mainly electronic.
For the last six years, Andy's been working on an international arts project called "The Longest Story in the World" involving children from all over the world. Yesterday, I was privileged to attend a showcase performance by children involved in the UK section of this project. I was "blown away". The children, from three different schools had worked together for just three days to produce an excellent piece of improvised drama,mime and dance under the leadership of Andy and his team of international artistes. None of the performers had any previous experience and several of them had various kinds of "special needs", but every one of them was a star last night. For me, though, the brightest star of all was Andy. The ambitious, stage struck teenager is now a modest and unassuming man determined to use his talents to make the world a better place through the arts and the younger generation. (I remember when we were the younger generation.)
"The Longest Story in the World" still has some way to go, and the project needs support in order to fund the work that they are doing in poorer countries. So here's the crunch, folks. I'm posting a link here. If you've got any spare money - contact "ai,ai" and see how you can help. I'm told even tiny donations will help. They are a charitable organisation, no-one is making big bucks out of this. (or even small ones.)http://www.aiai-arts.org/
On a much more personal note, it was wonderful to see Andy in person again last night, well worth the 250 mile round trip for which my son Gareth acted as chauffeur. We must not leave it so long again, so maybe I'll take up the invitation to come to Spain soon.