Top hats and tailcoats made of sequined fabric, made the show shine all the way up Hay High Street and into the square. The kids had never experienced street theatre before, but gee’d up by Janine ( an old experienced hack at this sort of thing) no one even felt the cold, and yes cold it had been that week, snow even! But not on that day, the iced rain kept away and once the kids had started banging their drums and singing… “Hay Theatre on Independence Day
Hay Theatre to chase the blues away”… to the tune of Colonel Bogey, used by King Richard Booth as his National Anthem for Hay and Independence Day, there was no stopping them.
People loved it, everyone smiled, waved and cars stopped to let us pass, Janine at the front and King Richard of Hay waved them on, keeping them close to the kerb and safe. The drumming got louder and so did the singing as the kids confidence grew. In the square as close to The Cheese Market as they could get, they stopped and a big crowd formed, so the merry cast sang “ You aint nothin’ but a hound dog” with all the moves directed straight at the smiling crowd of people made up of locals and tourists. It was joyful and made one proud to be part of Hay. No one felt the cold anymore, so on they marched down to the clock tower for a repeat performance of that old Elvis Presley favourite, followed by the drumming and Hay National Anthem, back to the venue.
On their return to the Parish Hall and an awaiting audience of 80 , hot soup and home-made bread, magically made by the wiz Mr Bamboozle himself and served by volunteers from Hay WI, the cast immediately asked to go out again and parade again. So they did this time led by Mr Bamboozle on stilts!
On their return the audience numbers had increased to 100, people had followed them to the hall pied piper fashion , tables were being put away and more chairs squeezed in. Big Al had done a fabulous job making Parish Hall look fantastic. With his multi-national flags, coloured cloths and bags of enthusiasm, he was a joy to work with. Janine, Johnny ( Bamboozle) Sue( trustee and prop maker), Keith ( King Richard), Patrick and Jasper ( 2 dads) all helped to turn the hall into a proper theatre the day before. Hay Theatre provided the sparkly backdrop, lights, sound and of course professionalism. The show was a huge success! The exciting week leading up to this free event, “The Happy Gleeaster Variety Show” premiered as a showcase/public dress to friends and parents on Saturday 24th March at Clyro Village Hall, a very different audience of 70+ and the following Wednesday 28th March another free show was performed to a smaller, quality if not quantity audience, for Hay Day Café for people living with or at risk of dementia. Both shows were a success. Young and old mixing happily together as the cast danced and sang around the audience.
Hay Junior Youth Theatre has been running now for 10 years and the Senior group emerged 5 years ago as kids reaching 12 years old refused to leave. Long may it continue, with support from local people who recognize that we do exist, even though we don’t have a permanent base, and that the work we do in our community is of great value, reaching out to a good many people. We are meeting every Saturday at Cusop Village Hall until the end of term in July, in September we start again on 15th but this time at Clyro village hall.
Many thanks for the support from Powys Youth Theatre Development, Peoples Postcode Lottery towards the Project and Hay Fund for the sequined costumes.