It’s the end of term and time for us to report on our 16th academic year!

End of Term
Nearly there!

Statistics

During the academic year 2021/22 we have worked in 15 Primary Schools and 3 Special Schools with approximately 1450 young people. Our youngest actors were just 4 years old and the oldest ones were 18. The majority were between the ages of 7 – 11. We have visited schools in 10 counties and cities nationwide, namely Essex, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, London, Bristol, Devon, Yorkshire and Tyneside. There were two practitioners in 13 of the schools and one practitioner in the remaining 5. I (Jules) have been to every school and have worked with 5 amazing practitioners along the way – Richard Curnow; Nick Taylor; Ffion Glyn; Fay Greenhalgh and Angie Sims. The most popular play this year has been…….drum roll…………..MACBETH! In second place is THE TEMPEST, closely followed by A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Bringing up the rear is ROMEO & JULIET and HAMLET – no outings at all for TWELFTH NIGHT!

Feedback

In the spirit of the End Of Term Report (as opposed to blowing our own trumpet), here is a random selection of comments on our work from 2021/22:

From Teachers:

Macbeth Interactive Workshop

I would just like to thank you and Nick immensely for awakening the sleeping ghost of Shakespeare for the children at St Mary’s- with all the setbacks Covid has brought to their education – laughter, action and most importantly interaction have, at times been in short supply, but thankfully no more. The day after your visit the children were able to recount the plot in a 20 minute version of the play in the round in their classrooms. They were given 20 prompts and had to create scenes in groups before a rapid recount – cries of All Hail Macbeth, King of Scotland echoed through the corridors once again and their battle scenes all included claps for each sword clang despite not being anywhere on the prompts. The play is alive in their imagination and their written descriptions of the witches on the Heath will be winging their way over to you tomorrow. Even our most reluctant writers were able to create vivid descriptions such was the power of your work.  It was a pleasure to meet you both and I look forward to welcoming you back to St Mary’s again in the future. 

Assistant Head Teacher, St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Hornchurch

Macbeth/Hamlet Interactive Workshops

These are incredible complex plays, and they were made accessible to children of all ability groups.

It has saved us a lot of time with regard to teaching. Children are completely immersed in the plays, so we’ve been able to dive in and get started right away.

Year 6 Teacher, Warwick Road Primary, Batley, Yorkshire

Romeo & Juliet Project Week

What we enjoyed was that a brilliant play can be put on in a week to a high standard. All children are included within the play plus seeing the variety of acting and directing methods helps me when directing the end of year production.

Year 4 & 6 teachers, Great Leighs Primary, Essex

Macbeth Interactive Workshop

The children thoroughly enjoyed it and we’ve had some great discussions about it today. They even want to base their end of year performance on Macbeth now! Thank you for everything yesterday, you were FANTASTIC! 

Year 6 Teacher, Fieldhead Carr Primary, Leeds

Macbeth Project Week

First of all – thank you! The sound of laughter, cheering and clapping in our school hall has been but a distant memory for so long. Last week you managed to transport us to pre-COVID times and give us a glimpse of the hope a post-COVID apocalypse may contain. 

When you consider how little those performers were the last time they trod the boards, we are both thrilled and proud of what they achieved in just 5 days. And while the audience may have been missing, the atmosphere and togetherness of Friday was just what we all needed. I am so glad that, albeit a year late, we managed to live up to the old saying, ‘the show must go on’.

Deputy Head, Anson Primary, Cricklewood

From parents:

Macbeth Project Weeks

I watched Macbeth at Heritage Park today. My child was terrified about taking part before the week started yet by today she was standing on stage saying lines by herself, thank you for giving her that confidence it was priceless.

Parent – Heritage Park Primary, June 2022

Simply Wow! Jack’s just had 10 min quiet colouring session & produced this work of art! Completely from memory. Can you tell what they’re studying at school this term? Thank you @FINDINGTHEWILL1 for inspiring Jack.

Jack’s Artwork – Brilliant!

He’s been reading the children’s versions of the plays for bedtime stories at his request since you visited his school at the beginning of June. I am a big Shakespeare fan thanks to you so is my 9 yr old too.

Parent – Barkston & Syston C of E Primary. June 2022

Thank you!

A HUGE End of Term Thank You then to all the schools we have worked with this year – the children, the staff, the governors and the funders! We really couldn’t have done it without you!

Awards

We were delighted once again to be part of the Anson Primary School Annie Award ceremony. Well, when I say ‘we’ I mean Nick Taylor in the guise of his current role of Captain Hook – Peter Pan, Illyria Open Air Theatre – do catch it if you can! Nick recorded a special message for the deserving winner of the FINDING THE WILL RISING STAR AWARD – LOLA!

STAGE SET FOR THE ANNIE AWARDS 2022
Nick Taylor as Captain Hook in Illyria's Peter Pan.
Nick Taylor as Captain Hook in Illyria’s Peter Pan.

And whilst we’re on the subject of Anson Primary School, we send huge good luck wishes to Mr Clargo, Mrs Mendoza, Mr Diamond and Mrs Lansiquot as they embark on new adventures – we’ll miss you!

And Finally…..

Our wonderful co-founder and director Richard Curnow is heading to the Edmonton Fringe, Canada next month. He is taking his one man show HAPPY AS LARRY. We’ll bring you all his news and reviews in the next blog. Meanwhile we’ll be leaping up and down with excitement and yelling encouraging noises from this side of the pond, Until then, stay cool everyone and have a lovely summer! ?

The story of Friar Laurence a year after the tragedy of Romeo & Juliet
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