While abroad, I have had many experiences of teamwork, however, the most influential experience was my contribution at my institution for our first-ever Black Student Showcase.
In the United Kingdom, Black History Month is in October, and many students at my institution wanted to create a showcase for Black students to present their artistry, passion, and talent. In the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts one hundred sixty one years, a showcase or program had never been dedicated solely to celebrating Black culture and arts. Therefore, we were setting out to do something groundbreaking.
Coming together with over twenty students across the year and crafting a show that mixed acting, dancing, singing, poetry, and more required everyone participating to work together diligently to form our show. For our initial rehearsals, we all watched each other’s performances and critiqued and found better ways for us to improve the show. For example, by encouraging us to complete vocal warmups and improve our vocal clarity, we each strove to advance our performances. Moreover, even outside of critiquing each other’s performances, we also practiced positive affirmations with each other by thanking everyone for their performances and filling them with positivity.
Throughout our rehearsal process, we kept our clear goal in mind, which was to create a Black Student Showcase that wonderfully depicted the talent and artistry of Black and African students at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. There was also an emphasis on looking into the different experiences we all share as Black artists. Through my monologue performance, I bridged my American experiences of my Black identity and brought it to a British audience. Additionally, other students brought their African culture to the stage with vibrance for the British audience. As we neared our performance, we were buzzing with excitement.
On the night of our performance, every student performing felt nervous. For some students, this would be their first time sharing their talent with a live audience, and for a few others, like me, this would be their first time performing in a different country. As everyone waited backstage before the performance, we congratulated each other for the amazing pieces we worked on and perfected during rehearsals. We told each other to “Break a Leg!” The unwavering support we cultivated through our collaboration was imperative to the show’s success. The show was a whirlwind of Black excellence, imagination, and culture! Each performance moved the audience and the performers, creating a catharsis for Black artists and viewers. Once the show ended, everyone ran up to the stage and congratulated each other on their groundbreaking performances.
Working on the Black Student Showcase opened me to exploring teamwork and collaboration in my new country. I realized through this experience teamwork is so important not just because it leads us to a common goal but also because it enriches the experiences and lives of everyone involved. Experiencing teamwork in the United Kingdom was an experience that will forever impact my collaborative skills.