Last week saw yet another Tempest triumph courtesy of the hard work of the children (and staff) at Heritage Park Primary, Peterborough http://www.heritageparkschool.co.uk/ And what made this week even more special was its significance for FINDING THE WILL. Richard and I have been leading Project Weeks at this school for longer than any other school, in fact for ten years and look at the beautiful present they gave us!
This makes us particularly proud because, as we discovered after the presentation, all the children contributed by suggesting words that conjured up memories for them about their experience with us. These words capture exactly the essence of FINDING THE WILL and what we strive to instil in all the children we work with. We said goodbye to Year 6 last week, whom we first met when they were in Year 3. In their time at Heritage Park they have worked with us four times and performed ‘Hamlet’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Twelfth Night’ and this year ‘The Tempest’ – each performance something very special. They will leave Heritage Park in about eight weeks time with knowledge of all four plays – hopefully one of them will crop up in their future school careers and they’ll have a head start on it – but, more importantly for us, they will leave with the knowledge that they can overcome their fears, they have the courage to push themselves out of their own comfort zones, and they have the healthy roots of self-belief that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. We’re not arrogant enough to take the credit for all of that of course! In fact we can only claim to have helped a little bit. Most of that is down to the wonderful staff (all staff not just the class teachers), the warm and loving atmosphere created within the school and the vision of the head teacher and senior management to inspire the children and staff alike. We are extremely proud to be associated with Heritage Park and look forward to our eleventh visit next year to do………….oh sorry, it’s a secret (but here’s a clue)!
If we’re talking heritage though, we should mention our own. Richard and I met in 1990 whilst both working for The English Theatre of Hamburg. We were in a play called ‘Gunther And The Gangsters’ specially written for English language learners. To be honest it wasn’t exactly a gem of British Theatre abroad but we had a lot of fun doing it and thoroughly enjoyed the Hamburg life when we were not working too! On our return we stayed in touch and subsequently worked together on productions of Cyrano de Bergerac & The Taming of The Shrew for FOD Theatre, and eventually joined The English Shakespeare Company (education dept) and The Young Shakespeare Company. It’s fair to say that it is with the latter that we honed our craft in working with children and Shakespeare and developed a love for the work that, I believe, neither of us expected!
Whilst writing this I’ve been having a debate with myself about the difference between heritage and legacy. Is there one? For me, heritage refers more to the past (essentially what we inherit) whereas legacy is more to do with the future (what we leave behind). Seems obvious when you put it like that. My hope then is that the legacy of FINDING THE WILL is the heritage of courage, confidence, cooperation and kindness. If we can achieve that with just a handful of children, the world will surely be a better place.