So it turns out that all the rehearsing, planning and stressing was worthwhile because thanks to a combination of talent and luck a NSDF selector has decided that your show is what this festival needs. There’s a great deal of expectation on the companies to perform shows of the highest standard and for some this pressure can be too much, so here are some tips to help you get the most out of NSDF and relax.
1. Never relax. You are ambassadors of student theatre. Every action both on and off the stage is constantly being monitored and scrutinised. If you are not performing to the highest standards at all times then you’re not only letting yourself down but also your company and the whole of student theatre as we know it.
2. Always remember that as theatrical pedigree your status at NSDF is slightly above God. Maintain a constant air of superiority to other festival goers, mixed with a few dominant hints of irritability and impatience. Verbal and physical lashing out at those who annoy you is both expected and encouraged.
3. Respond to any cock-up, no matter how minor, by driving the person(s) responsible into the sea while brandishing flaming sticks and frothing at the mouth. Cries of, ‘You’ll never work in this town again’ will give your understandable ire a weight of professionalism.
4. A list of the cast’s favourite drinks in the programme will help adoring fans know exactly how to best please you at the bar. Be sure to wordlessly accept the drink and turn your backs to them so that they don’t get any ideas above their stations.
5. If you have not brought a significant crew with you take every opportunity to make as many disparaging remarks about anonymous techies and their dark ways as possible. Some of the most stimulating and constructive debate of the festival comes from visiting that uncharted subject of how actors hate techies and vice versa.
6. Discussions can be tense as the ignorant plebs try and give you some supposedly honest feedback on your show. You’ll get the most out of these sessions by remembering that criticisms are born from jealousy and compliments from rational adoration.
7. There are awards at the end of the week and the only way to secure the best is to wage a Clintonesque mudslinging campaign against all the other inferior shows. Justification is on your side as your theatrical expertise gives you a keen insight into the flaws of others.
8. Being able to do four performances in two days is a Herculean effort beyond the capabilities of most. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you muster the effort to sleep through workshops and undermine the confidence of others.
9. If you feel that you’re unfairly suffering from a torrent of abuse in these pages then keep in mind that certain NOFFice staff are not above writing a glowing review in return for favours, be they alcoholic or sexual or both.
10. Remember that the Arts Council are here assessing the festival and if NSDF loses its funding it’s your fault. We have your name, we know where you live and you’ll never work in this town again.