Palma.—On September 19, the curtain goes up at the Auditorium on a very special five nights of unique performances by the world famous British percussion group Stomp.

The group is currently performing in Barcelona but in between rehearsals yesterday, British percussionist Philip Batchelor spoke to the Bulletin about Stomp and how he made the move from being an estate agent to a key member of the troupe which was part of the closing ceremony at the Olympics. “During a gap year after graduating from Loughbrough University I saw Stomp perform and I was well impressed, they were always in the back of my mind. But, I guess I decided to take a more sensible road to making a living and began working in real estate. “However, one day, just out of curiosity, I checked out their website and they were advertising open auditions. I registered but heard nothing until about two years later when they called me to an audition in Brighton. They were auditioning all over the country and then called me back on two further occasions before sending me up to London on a six week training course with them which also involved appearing every now and then with the established group in the West End,” Philip explained. “And, I have now been all over the world with Stomp over the past five years and this will be my second time in Majorca and it always falls on my birthday,” he added.

But, how best do you describe Stomp? “Stomp is a rhythmical journey,” Philip explained. “It's a show in which we create music without instruments, we find objects and use them to make music, including our own bodies, but they can be bin lids, brooms, Zippo lighters, you name it. “And, not all of us have professional musical and dance backgrounds. I have been a drummer from an early age so I have always been into percussion, but that was about it. Hence why Stomp call them open auditions, anyone who has a good sense of rhythm can go along. You do, however, need to show that you are willing to learn, work hard and I guess, it takes about a year to settle in if you are selected. And, once you're in there's no need to worry about keeping fit. The shows take care of that. For example, here in Barcelona, we are in rehearsals from 10am to 5pm and then end the date with a one hour 40-45 minute show of physical theatre,” Philip added. “It's been a great journey for me so far, I've toured all over Western and Eastern Europe and travelled as far as South Africa, Japan and Singapore. We're a very interactive show and like to get the public involved but obviously, every audience is different. “In Germany, for example, they go nuts after every number while in Japan they will clap politely all the way through the show and then, at the very end, go completely bonkers. But, the reaction we get is always very positive,” Philip said. “And I think apart from the spectacle of the show, it is also full of characters people in the audience can relate to and that helps. “At any one time there are eight performers on stage, but as a troupe, we travel as a group of at least 12. As I've said, it's very demanding so every night the line up is slightly different to give people a rest and that means that no one show is the same because each performer brings his or her own different character, personality and feel to the show,” Philip said. “So, it's fresh every night and that makes it all very exciting for the audience. “Although, I guess this year, the most exciting thing to have happened to me was taking part in the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. “We had been training day in, day out for two weeks for the show and when it came for us to perform, it all happened so quickly. But the atmosphere was amazing and we've all been watching it over and over again on TV.”