Sunday, 10 June 2012

An ambition fulfilled at the Sage Academy Summer Show

Having been overlooked to carry the Olympic Torch, I was able to put that right today. Down at the People's Theatre in Newcastle I opened the 2nd act of the spectacular Sage Academy Summer Show. My role as "Run Geordie Run" was to carry the "flame" during the "Torch Relay" scene! 

I followed several flag bearers through the theatre's aisles before taking my place on stage on top of the specially constructed podium. As I held the flame aloft, ITV's Ian Payne's voiceover (click below) explained about last year's run across the USA and the up and coming trek across Australia. With a generous round of applause from the audience, I've got to admit, that it was a very proud moment for me personally.

The real stars of the show were the 100 young people who went to make up the cast. I was lucky enough to watch the entire 1st act and almost all of the 2nd act. It was obvious from the very first scene that there was a lot of young local talent involved in the show. From the older more accomplished singers and dancers to the very young performers, there was talent in abundance on show. 

The first act's theme was Roald Dahl with performances covering Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The Witches. With so many children on stage, in some very well thought out costumes and props, it was a truly spectacular show.

The 2nd act, entitled "The Spirit of the games", started off with a solo violin performance by 5 year old Leia Zhu followed by the aforementioned "Torch Relay". Subsequent dance performances backed by rousing pieces such as "Fan Fare for the Common Man", "The Great Escape" and "The Eye of the Tiger" gave the show a level of energy that was matched with great gusto, humour and enthusiasm by all of the cast. There were some very impressive vocal performances too. I don't mind admitting that some of the harmonies emanating from the stage gave me goosebumps!

Throughout Act 2, Ian Payne appeared on screen from a mock studio and introduced each sporting discipline. There was boxing, synchronised swimming, dressage and athletics. 

The highlight of the entire show, for me, was the cast running in hilariously funny slow motion to the theme from "Chariot's of Fire". Eventually, 2 small children (Millie and Abby both aged 7 and pictured above) burst through the busy throng of "runners" to claim victory. The audience responded with great excitement and the show ended with the "Medal closing ceremony" with all cast members present on stage. Thankfully, the People's Theatre is has one of the largest stages in the region.

I took a bow with the rest of the cast feeling extremely privileged to have played a small part in such a brilliant show. Thank you to Lucy Sage, Principal of the Sage Academy of Performing Arts, for not only asking me to take part but also allowing a collection for The Children's Foundation to be made after the show. Thanks also to all of the cast and crew for making me feel very welcome.

Today's events mean that, one day, I'll be able to tell my Grandchildren that I ran across the UK, USA (hopefully Australia) and also carried the "Flame" in an opening ceremony in 2012.