No Surprises Living in Devizes: Return of the Mac

A Mac's Theatre School rehearsal in progress

YEP, I’m back like a bad smell on your shoe rack. Apologies for the temporary strike; there were personal hurdles, and to add to the general misery, the laptop gave up the ghost. The PC Doctor of Rowde came to the rescue for this minor setback; look him up when your machine decides it can’t go on.

January; such a depressing month even computers turn suicidal; last thing you needed was a tirade from me anyway. Couple this with a fortnight drumming the ethos life is too precious to spend ranting, but y’ all apparently appreciate my grousing; dammit, it’s all I’m good at. So we continue, happy as can be.

All this leaves me with loose ends; recapping where we left off, there was a running theme I was building, stemmed from reports that “bored” teenagers were terrorising staff and customers at a town supermarket. So this is old news now I know, but you know me, I planned to tackle it from an alternative angle.

I opened a Pandora’s Box when I asked Facebook group The Devises Issue, not for their reaction to the negative news teenagers received, but to prove the stereotype wrong. For I firmly believe the majority of youth these days are motivated, upstanding and most importantly, more law-abiding then that of any previous generation.

Yeah I know they don’t trust the effectiveness of roofing, opting to wear their hoods up inside, and I’m aware of the aggravation caused by their disrespecting slang and abbreviations, omitting language in favour for an emoji. Also, that nothing is definite; rather everything is resigned to be “like” something, as in “That is like so unfair!”

But that said, kids these days will prove you wrong if you think they’re all out to loiter and skive, they just do it via text message.

I mean, the grievances with modern young are tame compared to previous generations. Think about youth cultures, mods and rockers rampaging Brighton beach, punks who made it their life’s work to stand around spitting, and even my own rave generation who only had two states of mind; partying or planning the next party.

And also, what this current government is dragging us into leaves a depressing outlook for our young, in my opinion. Their lies and deceitful propaganda is hardly setting a good example and there is a decided lack of retaliation from their idols; pop stars simply don’t do the political revolutionary stuff anymore; imagine Ed Sheeran singing London Calling for example.

So with such a huge response, both teenagers and their parents wishing to focus on areas where they are productive, creative or active, I’m going to have to tackle them individually over the forthcoming weeks.

To start I want to highlight the wealth of talent in performing arts. There’s a stigma surrounding local amateur dramatics in any small town, but since grafting this column I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quantity and quality of home-grown performances, from the Wharf Theatre to Devizes Musical Theatre’s Les Miserables and forthcoming High School Musical.

From The Invitation Theatre Group’s awesome performances of Sister Act, War of the Worlds and their forthcoming Into the Woods, to outside acts via the Arts Festival and Moonrakers Comedy Club, and solo efforts like Gail Foster’s poetry or the readings of Ian Diddams at the Vaults (teasers on YouTube,) it’s easy to see Devizes has a strong and lively performing arts scene.

Intrigued and impressed I was to learn we have our own theatre school, Mac’s. Not that I’ve any ambition to see my name in lights, being as, in technical terms, I haven’t got the bottle. Although my Shakin’ Stevens impression at the talent show on my Cub Scout pack holiday gained me a shocking first prize, it’s all my performing résumé contains (you had to be there).

Mac’s claim their aim “is to create and produce theatre that excites, entertains and inspires. Giving young people a chance to shine, to challenge them and exceed expectations.”

If you are passionate about performing, directing, set building, costume, lighting or sound, perhaps you should become a member. Join via their website

Membership prices range from £15-30 depending on what you decide to do and it’s currently open to 11-21 year olds.

This is just the sort of example I’m aiming for, there is much budding youth learning at Mac’s; I wish them the best of luck for their first performance; the Beauty and the Beast Musical, running from February 16-18, at Devizes School; tickets from their website and Devizes Books.




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