Promenade Promotions (Prom-Prom for short: www.prom-prom.com) is one of the UK’s leading companies specializing in family-friendly seaside entertainment, outdoor festivals and street performance. It’s head, Tony Lidington, this year offered a free training opportunity for young people aged 17-25 who were interested in learning more and developing their craft as professional performers. Two trainees were selected, Lara Darke and Josh Meredith.
“This training opportunity was made possible thanks to funding from the Helen Foundation and Exeter Council Community Arts Grants. Following training, the locally-based trainees were contracted for at least 8 full days of paid performance work In July and August. The trainees had two appearances on BBC Spotlight and performed regularly at Teignmouth, Dawlish Exeter Quayside and Torquay. We engaged with thousands of people across a range of different venues and reached tens of thousands on local and regional media. The trainees provided a model of practice for young people, developing their artistic and professional skills, as well as involvement in cross-generational, accessible social engagement, civic pride, self-confidence and teamwork. As a result of the traineeships’ impact on local communities, we have been nominated for an impact award by the University of Exeter. However, perhaps most importantly of all, it was a lot of fun! We would like to thank the Helen Foundation wholeheartedly for their support and hope that we can work together on another project in future."
"This summer has taught me so much in terms of myself and what I can handle. I always felt like my improvisation skills were slightly lacking, so being thrown into an environment where I am constantly on the spot was quite intimidating. However, after a summer of this I now feel so much more confident and trusting of myself to be in this situation. I enjoy improvising in a way I never have before and know now that the trust in the preparation work is enough to be put in any situation."
"Interacting with the public is so completely different to interacting with people in a theatre; the public haven’t paid to be here and haven’t chosen to be around you. This is both a beautiful thing and a difficult thing. Some people find us interesting and are happy to get involved and interact and love the fact this is all free entertainment. However, some people find us strange and do everything they can to ignore and not be involved with it. The moments when you can get the latter category of person involved, even just a laugh, are the moments that feel the best. You’ve made someone who wouldn’t otherwise engage with something feel or do something – how incredible is that?"
"This summer was a huge challenge for me. Performing on stage was nerve racking enough but doing it outside in public was a whole new level. During the rehearsal process, I was stressing about performing in public but found that it wasn’t as nerve racking as I thought. I loved the fact that being on the streets performing you get more people smiling and laughing than you would ever do in a small theatre.
The actual training given over the 10 days was incredible. I definitely gained confidence throughout this whole experience which is going to help me so much with my future career. When I went into this course all I was expecting was to be taught Street Performing. However it offered far far more!
I feel very lucky indeed, as a young person, to be given this amazing opportunity as it’s absolutely going to benefit me in the long run. A huge thank you to The Helen Foundation and PromProm Productions for making this happen!"