Sandy Davidson blog: Performing with Northern Stage

Streetwise Opera Gateshead performer Sandy Davidson shares his experiences of performing in Northern Stage's Manifesto for a New City:

22 September
I've had worse days, yesterday was my first day at rehearsals for Manifesto, the Julia Darling musical, and man, we was making some really beautiful sounds, and when I got home I found out my youngest daughter, Maya, had got her first job, at 16, working as a lifeguard at Wet n Wild, so well done Maya and hooray for us and all our family and friends!

29 September
Phew! End of second day of second week of rehearsals, and I had the first run through of my solo number. I were sweating and shaking by the end but I held it together and it went well. I hate to single out people or organisations for special thanks, as everyone and everything is important in this life, but I feel compelled to give special mention to Thomas Richards, Mario Biagini and the rest of the crew at the Grotowski Workcenter for all their time and efforts helping my with my practice, I felt it all kick in today. Early days I know but the vibe is sooo good, and this team is so talented, think we're gonna do something a little bit special. 

30 September 
Haha, life can be so poetic! Manifesto is about what would happen if 'the people' rebelled and took control. End of the day today a few of us were outside the rehearsal space in Byker, it's next to a school, we started talking to some of the kids and they told us how the rehearsal space used to be a great local resource for them, it was a youth club but one that had attitude, it was lost to them in the cutbacks. Then as kids do, they tried to smooze their way in, I don't like no one trying to smooze me so I put 'em straight and unfortunately we had to close the doors. Half an hour later I looked out the windows and a mass of kids was at the keypad trying to work out the keypad number with the obvious intent of storming the building, haha, children are our future! Anarchy for the UK, it's coming sometime, maybe!

2 October
Got in this morning for the final day's rehearsal of the second week and everyone was delightfully happy, and we were all dancing and singing. We learned some new songs, practised some learned ones and then had a run through of the first part of the show. There were lot of glorious moments but what always sticks in the mind is the shambolic collapso moments. So there is the decision hanging in the air, do you err on the side of caution, play safe and achieve a set aim? Or throw caution to the the wind and go for glory and run the risk of disaster? Anyone who knows me well, knows that I will always advise caution but that when the clarion call of battle touches your soul it's not about what you want to do but what you have to do. 'Tally ho!' I say! The great thing about the show so far for me is that everyone has a different favourite song which means that overall the quality of the songs is very high so no padding, no waiting for the good bits to come along. Of course we've got to produce on the nights but so far the signs are really positive.

6 October
What's so tough about being a performer? I think going into a room full of strangers, cutting open your chest, pulling out your heart, sharing it with everyone for four weeks then putting it back in and stitching yourself back up before moving on to another similar situation is what's so tough about it.

Read the second part of Sandy's thoughts about his experiences here.