‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

The lyrics of the song ‘A Million Dreams’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ have blown away our January blues good and proper! During ‘Twelfth Night’ at Great Leighs Primary, Essex last week, 130 adults and 120 actors aged 7-11 were swept away by a faultless acapella rendition of this fantastic song by a talented nine year old Feste, As so often happens with FINDING THE WILL Project Weeks, the final show produced some cracking performances and some seriously courageous ones too. ‘Twelfth Night’ is not an easy play to get your head round in a week, it’s full of mistaken identity, gender-bending and jokes that get out of hand and tip over into bullying. So for primary school children there are lots of issues to contend with as well as, in many cases, being pushed right out of their comfort zone. How proud are we then of all our 120 KS2 actors last week! Everyone was involved, no matter their ability, age or ethnicity. Even the most reluctant of children wanted to be part of the production by the end of the week and we were able to find a role for everyone.

Great Leighs Primary, Essex – Twelfth Night 2019

And it wasn’t just the children who got fired up by Shakespeare! A Shakespeare themed lunch last Thursday was a first for us – what a brilliant idea!

Menu for Shakespeare Themed Lunch - Great Leighs Primary

Menu for Shakespeare Themed Lunch – Great Leighs Primary

I’m sure, dear reader, if you are familiar with ‘Twelfth Night’ you’ll recall the scene where Malvolio dreams of becoming Count Malvolio, and stumbles across a love letter, supposedly from Lady Olivia. Behind the box hedge watching all this is a collection of characters responsible for setting up the trick. The question is how to make a mobile hedge that will not take up a vast amount of room given that the audience is a 130 strong……..well with a head start from our prop box, look what they did (and we have a lovely new hedge prop as a result)! Thanks so much Year 5!

So, with dreams of returning to Great Leighs in 2020, I must briefly tell you of our other two school visits this month. Firstly I went to Ipswich to lead a day of Interactive Workshops on ‘The Tempest’ at Clifford Road Primary for Year 6. Lovely to hear at break time that some children were already role-playing the characters outside in the playground. With no prior knowledge of the story (that’s the way we like it!) they discovered it together. Although the answer to the question ‘who would be rich enough to own such a grand old ship as this?’ was not Harry Kane, it was a good enough guess, since he was King of the England World Cup squad! See, that’s the thing with FINDNG THE WILL, there is never a wrong answer, just an interesting idea!

Whilst I went East, Richard went North, to Middlesbrough. At Viewley Hill Academy, he led a day of Interactive Workshops on ‘Hamlet’ for Years 5 & 6. This was another new school to us and Richard was given a lovely warm welcome there. Regular readers of our blogs will know that the Interactive Workshops are a springboard to further work on the play and, as such, the children involved in both Hamlet in Middlesbrough and The Tempest in Ipswich will now be flying through the air with Shakespeare beneath their wings!

Viewley Hill Primary, Middlesbrough, Hamlet courtesy of Twitter feed

Viewley Hill Primary, Middlesbrough, Hamlet courtesy of Twitter feed

Lots coming up in February including a return visit to Christ Church Primary, Surbiton where we filmed our promotional video back in 2015. So until then thank you to our first three schools of 2019 and to everyone, sweet dreams!



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