Going Behind the Scenes


The factory where my mum worked took all the families on an annual pilgrimage to London’s West End.
When I was 9 years old, it was to see The Sound of Music.
I loved musicals and the theatre.
For me it was such a magical place.
Full of song, smiles, sparkles and stars.
I was mesmerised by it the moment the orchestra started.

It’s funny though, the things I remember.
It wasn’t the storyline or Petula Clarke, who was the big star playing Maria at the time.
What I remember was watching furniture move on and off the stage…with no-one touching it.
To me, at 9, that was magic.

It became my focus whenever we went to the theatre, watching the scenery and wondering where we would be transported to next.

One minute we could be in an orphanage, next in a car, then out on the street or in another house. I was hypnotised. How did they do that?

I loved that these imaginary places could be created in a flash.

I loved theatre, loved the magic of how it all came together and wanted to be part of it so I studied as a stage manager and spent ten years working around the UK in various backstage roles.

Working backstage in theatre you get find out how the magic is created.

*Spoiler alert

The creaking chair in A Woman in Black that rocks back and forth in an empty room – was me. Sat at the side of the stage tugging a piece of fishing line.
The flea jumping under the duvet in the pantomime – was Dan under the bed with sticks.
The furniture that moved on stage with no-one touching it – was Terry turning the winch (usually huffing and swearing!)

The thing is…working backstage you get to find out how the magic is created and sometimes that makes the illusion harder to believe.

Which has benefits and drawbacks.

The drawbacks are that I find it harder to get lost in the show as I am looking at the mechanics. I can still enjoy the show but not in the same way.

This may sound sad, but seeing it this way has a benefit too. You see, having seen behind the scenes I am not so fooled by how something looks any more, and this has stood me in good stead with the rise of social media.

It’s very easy to see the ‘smiles’ of someone’s timeline in Facebook….but what’s going on behind the scenes? They may be sharing their great success, but have they shared the hard work that got them there?

It would be easy to trawl over instagram posts, and long to have the life that some others have…or seem to have. How often does the smile stop once the camera is turned off? Or vice versa as this little girl shows!


I started working with a new client recently, and one of the problems that she was facing that was impacting her confidence was constant comparison. She was doing it with everyone – people she worked with, passed on the way to work and especially with those on social media.

[bctt tweet=”Comparison kills confidence” username=”juleswymanuk”]

It’s a condition/habit that too many of us have become hooked on.

We see the image and fail to look behind it.

And it’s easy for us to get caught up in it too. Posting pictures of our great life just so that we can stay in the loop and look like we’re having fun too, when, in fact, we’re falling apart inside.

It doesn’t mean that you have to stop using social media — although I think in future many will want to have time away from it — but look at it for what it is, just the surface image. An image that people want to you see and believe in.

[bctt tweet=”Remember that what you see on social media is only a surface image” username=”juleswymanuk”]

Just like a stage show.
The lights, costumes, set, lines and actors have all been constructed to create an image, an illusion. The script writer and director want you to believe in it.

[bctt tweet=”Never compare yourself to an illusion” username=”juleswymanuk”]

Never compare yourself to a perfectly posed image. Look beyond the make believe. You don’t have to be fooled into a negative comparison that makes you feel like you aren’t enough. Stay true to who you are.