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Applause Applause: Finding Creative Satisfaction On Cruise Ships

creative
By Katie Hurrey

In a climate where validation comes in the form of social media follows and likes, how important is personal feedback in the artistic community for those behind-the-scenes in creative roles?

As a performer the applause throughout a show is a propellant to drive the artist onwards. Attention is the craving of the large majority of performers who, stereotypically, are a vulnerable breed. They need positive re-enforcement to take risks and bare their souls onstage.

Of course, it is no less important in non-artistic fields to receive the feedback and constructive criticism that is necessary to cultivate drive, pride and ambition.

For those who have chosen to pursue creative positions, and are no longer in the limelight and receiving raucous applause, is the finished product and respect of the cast validation enough?

Clearly, it depends on the personality in question, but working for a large corporation can be challenging in this respect.

In the cruise industry where the entertainment department is simply one sector of a large corporate structure, where the bottom line and share-prices drive overall decision making, it can be a challenge to hold artistic integrity to account. It is difficult to fight the conveyor-belt feel of churning out review shows performed across the large fleet of ships.

Therefore, the care of the creative team in cultivating often young performers in style and maturity is essential. In the absence of regular feedback from anyone in a position of corporate authority, it’s possible to feel that as long as the show goes on, it is not noticed for its integrity of direction and choreography, or its unique execution by the particular company of performers.

To succeed in a role under these circumstances, a large amount of self-assured trust has to be placed on your ability to direct and inspire, to bring individual honest life to each performance.

To save it from looking as though it deserves the dreaded label of a ‘cruise ship show’ in a time when the cruise industry is beginning to shed the stigma and produce world class entertainment.

From a corporate standpoint we are all replaceable, that is the simple truth; so we choose to perform the job because we love it.

We have the power to affect performers, to give them an eight-hour masterclass every day in contrasting styles and techniques. If they are smart they can apply the knowledge gained in rehearsal to every role on their artistic journey.

We can learn from each other all day, every day; constantly faced with different performers of different abilities, we become better teachers and directors.

We can only hope each show reveals the passion and care of its choreography and direction, and if the final performance is not always seen by those who pay our salaries perhaps it affirms we are trusted to achieve these ideals. Maybe that is validation enough!

Also by Katie Hurrey:

Steph Parry: From West End To The Caribbean – An Interview

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