The road ahead to a brighter future……

We’re cranking up the engine, there’s some spluttering, but the sound of a smooth transmission is so close now. The road ahead looks slightly daunting and yet bits of it seem familiar. We are just waiting for the final ‘Road Closed’ sign to be removed and we’re off! And we can’t wait!

Currently the road ahead looks like this – Leeds, Uttoxeter, London, Peterborough, hopefully Cornwall and, fingers crossed, Edinburgh! Inevitably there are some hazard warnings and possibly even diversions, but we’re adaptable. After the last year, we can cope with anything!

Cranking up the Schools’ Work

Interactive Workshops

school children acting in the play MacBeth
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hampton Junior 2019

With schools back, we have been able to re-instate some of our Workshops and Project Weeks. I am looking forward to going to two new primary schools to us in Leeds and Uttoxeter. Miss Burrows, at Fieldhead Carr Primary School in Leeds, and I have been talking to each other via email for almost six months now. Having postponed two workshops already (because of you know what) we hope that, finally, next month Years 5&6 can experience a FINDING THE WILL ‘Macbeth Interactive Workshop. Third time lucky! Likewise Mrs Turner, at St Mary’s CE First School in Uttoxeter, has been talking to me since October 2019! We were due to visit last June for the first time to work with Years 3 & 4 on ‘The Tempest’ but something got in the way. So now, a year later, we are trying again!

Shakespeare Project Weeks

Final Dress Rehearsal, Anson Primary
Final Dress Rehearsal, Anson Primary

During the last year it has seemed impossible to imagine running our flagship Shakespeare Project Weeks, however now we are planning to do just that in June. First out of the blocks is a week of ‘Macbeth’ with Years 3&4 at Anson Primary in Cricklewood. This will be very different. We have been going to this wonderful school annually since 2012 and a more creative school is hard to imagine. The plan is to make ‘Macbeth The Movie’ outside! We’ll let you know how that goes after we’ve been back to St Botolph’s Primary in Peterborough the following week. It will be a long awaited third visit to this lovely school where we’ll be leading as close to a traditional Project Week as we can on ‘The Tempest’ starring Years 5&6. So, unless we collide with Covid again, we are cranking up the engine for some exciting days out in April and June.

Cranking up the performing work

Bard Heads - multicoloured Shakespeare heads on a purple background with a yellow BH and white letters to form BARD HEADS.
Online and now Live in 2021!

If you’ve been with us on our digital journey over the last year, you’ll know that we’ve twice successfully live-streamed all six of our BARD HEADS plays. We have done this with the help and innovation of intoBodmin and Tortive Theatre. We are thrilled that our association with both of these organisations continues to the extent that we are now cranking up our live performance skills again.

Naming The View

As I write we are poised, foot hovering over the accelerator, waiting for the ‘Road Closed’ sign to be removed. Assuming this happens in April – although if we’ve learnt anything in these last months it’s not to assume anything – we will be performing our two hander show NAMING THE VIEW outside in Bodmin Keep, Cornwall in early June. This will be a lovely reunion with this beautiful, poignant play which has particular resonance right now as it deals with coercive control and domestic abuse. You might recall that we were waiting on a funding decision from the Arts Council to film this play. Alas the decision went against us. However, undaunted, we are resubmitting the bid with appropriate amendments so continue to watch this space!

Images of Kate, Horton and Pete in NAMING THE VIEW - an outdoor production in 2019.
Images of NAMING THE VIEW by Gordon Scammell

Bard Heads

We also have exciting news regarding BARD HEADS. Again, on the nod of the Scottish Government that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival can go ahead, we will be racing full throttle towards it with all six shows in the series! Three shows each in three weeks – it will be like Weekly Rep! There is a lot more to tell you about this but I don’t want to tempt fate so I’ll save that until we catch up again next month, suffice to say we will be working in association with Tortive Theatre and a well known national institution…….

Images of all six Bard Heads shows used in Lockdown Live Stream learning curve.
All six Bard Heads shows hopefully going to Edinburgh in Summer 2021.

Cranking up the positivity

So with Spring springing up everywhere, vaccinations agogo and the prospect of being able to work again at last, here at FTW HQ we’re cranking up the positivity! We feel like we are priming our engine so we are ready to hit the ground running. I know there will be many of you reading this who have been working throughout the pandemic. Your engines might also need cranking up, mainly because they are pretty run down now. Hopefully we will soon be able to run alongside you and take some of the strain, whether that is through working with your children or entertaining you with live theatre.

Stay safe everyone – we are so nearly there!



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