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Wandering through my library of theatre memories.


It used to sadden me.

Coming to the end of a theatre project.

It meant letting go and I struggled with that.

These people and I had created something together.

We each knew what it took to get there.

We were all seen and celebrated.

The intensity of emotion that floods us when the final curtain closes on our show is overwhelming. There should be a soundtrack playing in the background (I’m thinking, the Super 8 Suite by Michael Giacchino. Gosh, Spielberg knew how to milk the emotion out of the final scene of a movie).

But then there’s …. nothing.

You silently walk off stage.

You reluctantly remove your costume, and as you quietly walk out of the theatre, you’re suddenly drowned by every emotion you’ve held since you stood in that audition space months ago.

What do you do with all that emotion? How do you process it? In the week following the closing of The Music Man, these thoughts began swirling around my mind.

When I close a show I’m not losing anything.

I’m actually building a library.

A place to return to.

A place that safely holds all my treasured memories and emotions.

It’s safe to package all my treasures and move on because I can return to any of them at any time.

I can package all the joys, fears, moments in rehearsal, performances during the season that can never be recreated. I can keep them. I can place them on a shelf in my library.

With each theatre project, the shelf will fill.

I’ll begin new shelves.

Before long my shelves have become a library.

A library full of people, memories, experiences and emotion.

I’ll have days when I’ll wander into my library simply to enjoy, other times through need and encouragement that I know I’ll find on those shelves.

My library has many shelves now. They’re full of photos, messages, every card I’ve ever been given on a theatre project. I marvel at the stories on these shelves - that I got to live them. I can pick up a book and marvel that I was present and part of a story that will always be far bigger than myself.

(Cue closing bars of that inspirational soundtrack).

(She looks to the horizon and smiles knowingly).

The best you can do is all you need to do!

Sherryl-Lee Secomb writes her blog, An Idiot On Stage, specifically to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary. Sher has been building brands for performing creatives in Australia since 2011 and now advises theatre organisations and performing artists in marketing their work and building awareness of their brand.


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