The Battle Hymn for T.I.E. Actors

Once more onto the bus, dear friends, once more!
And valiant bear your early morning dread:
In resting times, we felt not 6AM,
Could sleep til noon, knew showers, breakfast, friends –
But when the children’s shrieks blow in our ears,
Remember then you are a working actor:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise poor costumes with conviction true;
Then lend your voice a bellowing aspect;
Let it ring through the chaos of the hall
Like a brass cannon, lest children o’erwhelm it;
Prepare as for a thousand interruptions,
Suggestions, questions, contradictions,
Where teachers rest and you take up the reins;
Now set your feet and stretch your hamstrings wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend and hum and siren
to limber up. On, on, you noblest Actors
Whose training comes hard won from drama schools!
Who dream’d not of Theatre in Education;
Who learned twelve parts; and morn till three have fought
And fall’n asleep among the props and costumes:
Dishonour not yourselves with feeble praise
Because you tread not boards in the West End;
You bring our country’s children their first theatre,
And teach them with your play. And you, good actors,
Whose limbs are sore and aching, show them there
The magic of performance; let none say
That T.I.E. is easy; for it is not;
Yet there is none of us so tired and worn,
That hath not noble lustre in our eyes
When we do stand before a packed school hall
Waiting for us to start. The play’s afoot:
Follow your blocking, and upon this charge


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