Sprung Advance: Behind the Scenes of Changing Climates

Sprung Advance: Behind the Scenes of Changing Climates
By Fern
8th July 2021

Today we have a guest blog from Fern, a brilliant member of our oldest youth group Sprung Advance. Fern was a key part of the cast for Winter Rites at last week’s Changing Climates Festival. Winter Rites was our nightly headline show, devised and performed by Highly Sprung’s oldest youth company Sprung Advance. Here she gives a behind the scenes look at the process of creating and performing this show, from the early days when we were back in lockdown to a powerful opening night. 


As part of Sprung Advance, I performed the original show Winter Rites, written by Mark Worth, to an audience and participating Coventry schools every night of the Changing  Climates Festival. We brought to life an apocalyptic world where the consequences of climate change were far greater than anyone had anticipated, our earth’s rotation slowing, causing the days to grow longer and longer.


Winter Rites, credit Andrew Moore


We explored the possible causes of The Slowing (as it became known) that the people of earth believed to be true. Our conspiracy theories varied from the weight of plastic in our oceans to our casual acceptance of consumerism in our society. The show also followed a set of siblings and their view on life in this new world. The first devising we did for this show started all the way back in January, on zoom. We took the movement we produced there and used it to create our “sun worshipper” dance and that became the opening of our show. With only weeks left till the festival, our weekly rehearsals started to tie scenes together as the show slotted into place.


A dark stage, lit in blue, with a yellow sun in the background. A group of young people are standing in a group and reaching their hands up to the sky.

Winter Rites, credit Andrew Moore


Our first rehearsal on the Belgrade B2 stage brought us together as a group of likeminded young people, to make sure the show was perfect. There were a lot of small tweaks that we had to make to properly “fit” the show into the space. Once you get into the theatre you can begin finalising the smallest details of the show, even down to where your foot needs to stomp to make the loudest noise.


On opening night, I was full of excitement and anticipation along with many of my castmates. This was it. We knew the show, we knew the cues, all that was left was to perform.


That evening, one of the schools who had been participating in that day’s workshops also had the chance to show off their hard work to the audience and we loved watching what they had devised.


After opening night, any stress that I had had about the show went away. Performing it became second nature. We worked as a unit, focusing on the finer details to refine the show; by Thursday (our last performance) it felt great to show what we could do. We felt truly proud of our work.


Winter Rites, credit Andrew Moore


Sprung Advance is such a welcoming environment – even coming into the group as a newcomer it doesn’t take long to make friendships and bonds with people you might never have met. The memories that you make in the festival stick with you forever. And I’m not just saying that – they really do. I hope that I get the chance to make lots more memories with Highly Sprung.


Winter Rites, credit Andrew Moore


Follow @HighlySprung on social media to see more about the Changing Climates Festival and Highly Sprung’s environmentally-themed work. To enquire about joining our Sprung youth company, visit our youth group page here. 

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