My Childhood Jubilee by Jane Maguire

Ben O'Hara

From shows to installations, we create entertainment experiences that connect people. We think unconventionally. We do things differently. We create the unique. We set the stage, the memories are theirs....forever

May 30, 2022

February 6th, 1977. Finally, Jubilee Day was here!  It was the day of celebration I had been looking forward to since it was announced on the news the previous year.  I looked out onto the street from my bedroom….

There was already purposeful movement going on; kitchen tables, wallpaper benches or anything with four legs that could pretend to be a table, were appearing from all houses on our street.  I opened the window to survey the street and smelled a damp freshness in the air. Someone shouted to a neighbour that rain was on the way. Nobody cared.  Feverish planning and arrangements had been put in place months in advance with military precision.  It was the law, that if you came to our street party, you had to be dressed in red, white and blue clothes.

Our mums, aunties, sisters, grandmas and cousins had all been going door to door, setting out expectations and planning with absolute precision who was in charge of what.  I loved viewing the rows of red, white and blue bunting hanging from all the houses, listening to the rustling sound as the wind passed through them, the crack of the flapping union jacks and the photos of the Queen.

I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in the whole thrill of this event.  It really felt like the whole street was a stage and would be a perfect warm-up to me performing in ‘The Sound of Music’ that night as part of our street party show.

All these years later, on all sensory levels, I still experience and smell the rain, hear the sound of the bunting, see the vast array of colours, the taste of the food, the music being played, the chatter of familiar voices, the touch of the rough wooden tables and sticky plastic tablecloths. How it made me feel then and continues to make me feel to this day is still intense.

I learned a lot on that day about planning and connecting with people.  Moments like these are rare, which is why, when I chose entertainment as a career, I knew at the heart of everything we had to create work which touches your emotional core and evokes a reaction on a sensory or multi-sensory level.  Do that successfully, and your audience will carry that memory and experience with them for life, just as my 1977 Jubilee celebrations did and continue to do with me to this day.

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