Clowns have certainly been to the Left of me this month, and Jokers to the right too! I’ve had a day of THE TEMPEST, (Trinculo being the Clown); a magnificent array of poems from Year 4 at St Miichael’s Junior, Chelmsford, (favourite line being ‘Tortured Clown In A Crown’), then a delightful Shakespearean evening with my old friend, Tweedy the Clown!

Tweedy the Clown as Bottom the donkey (his trademark red tuft with two large donkey ears pointing up vertically)
Tweedy the Clown as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Oakmeadow Primary School, Shrewsbury

Shropshire is a county that has eluded FINDING THE WILL up to now. However, the day before Shakepeare’s 460th birthday, we cracked it with a visit to Oakmeadow Primary School in Shrewsbury. This is a thoroughly modern, light and bright school which invited us in to be part of a ‘Theatre Day’. All 8 classes in KS2 took part in 4 hour-long Interactive Workshops on THE TEMPEST led by Nick and me. So, 4 times on Monday we boarded The King’s Vessel, bound for Naples, each time seemingly struck by a devastating storm at sea. The 4 vessels in question were named ‘THE DYLOPHOSAURUS’; ‘THE LEVIATHAN’; ‘THE DONUT‘ and ‘THE WATERMELON UNICORN’ by Years 3-6 respectively. In our limited time, we met all the characters including Trinculo the Jester or the clown. Sadly we didn’t have time to gather new material for Trinculo as we often do, so it looks like he’ll be trotting out the Knock Knock jokes for a few more years to come!


One thing that really struck both Nick and me was the remarkable vocabulary that some of the children (across all the classes) came out with. Words like ‘Betrayal’ and ‘reneged’ in relation to the breaking of a promise; ‘Distraught’ and ‘vexed’ regarding Caliban’s feelings about his unfair treatment. Equality and Respect are two of the values promoted by Oakmeadow Primary, so it was interesting to present a play that often demonstrates the opposite. Sometimes you only appreciate the true worth of values when they are challenged.

Many thanks to Miss Gill for arranging our visit and our first foray into Shropshire!

St Michael’s Junior, Chelmsford

“A Tortured Clown In A Crown”

Title by Hannah – Year 4, St Michael’s Junior, Chelmsford

What a thrill to receive a veritable anthology of Lyric Poems from Year 4 at St Michael’s Junior inspired by our recent MACBETH Interactive Workshops. The poems are all amazing and so it was incredibly hard to pick a handful to share with you. To celebrate Shakespeare’s 460th birthday, here goes – I think he would have been impressed!

Thank you Mrs Orton for sharing this impressive work with us!

Clowns and Shakespeare

If you have ever had the joy of watching Tweedy the Clown at work, either in the circus (notably Gifford’s) or in pantomime (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham in recent years), you will know what a phenomenal talent he is. When I heard he was cast as Bottom in the Everyman Theatre’s production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, it seemed like a match made in heaven. A clown playing a clown! Personally I have performed in The Dream more times than I can remember (playing nearly every character except Helena, the tall one!). I’ve seen some ropy productions and some average ones, but Tweedy playing Bottom the Weaver, now this was intriguing. And he was superb! His comic timing and clowning skills were off the chart, but that wasn’t a surprise. His handling of the original Shakespearean text however…….now that was a revelation! Indeed the whole production was a delight from start to finish – a laugh out loud comedy, just as it was meant to be when it was written, 430 years ago.

Tweedy will shortly be touring his own show Tweedy’s Massive Circus throughout the summer. It opens on 24 May at……..drum roll………The Royal Shakespeare Company. Fancy, a Clown at the RSC! It just goes to prove that clowns really can speak truth to power!

And Finally…..

FINDING THE WILL is thrilled to have two new actors joining our talented pool of practitioners – Izzy Kersley and Karen Payne. I’ll introduce them to you properly next month, suffice to say they are definitely not clowns!

‘Til next time……


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