Happy New Year to all our readers, fans, supporters, teachers, TAs, children and adults that we have the pleasure to interact with throughout the year!

Well here we are again at the beginning of another year and hurtling towards the end of the second decade of the 21st Century – how did that happen? Here at FTW HQ we’re not big on making new year resolutions (mainly coz we know we stand no chance of keeping them) but, for us, it is a time of reflection and hope.

2017 was a pretty big year for FINDING THE WILL as we celebrated our 10th birthday. We visited 19 schools nationwide spending a week in at least half of these  and working with approximately 3000 children. Our Interactive Workshops (where we are in a school for just a day rather than a week) also proved popular in kicking off many a school Shakespeare Project throughout the year. And some schools decided to combine the two products (Project Weeks and Interactive Workshops) and have 2-5 days of workshops in order that more children within the school could be involved – we can take up to 60 children in one workshop. Of the six plays we concentrate on, the most popular one in 2017 was ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’  with ‘Macbeth’ and ‘The Tempest’ close runners up. But we’re bucking the trend in 2018 as we launch the new year with a week of ten  ‘Twelfth Night’ workshops at Lyon Park Junior School in Wembley. All 600 children in Years 2-6 will become acquainted with Sir Toby Belch and friends, and have the opportunity to debate the rights and wrongs of bullying. That’s one of the great things about Shakespeare plays – he’s brilliant at writing about morals and personal responsibility – we can still learn a thing or two from him!

The Box Hedge - Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night – Heritage Park Primary 2016

So 2018 – as well as returning to our regular schools in London, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire, we are heading to pastures new in Essex and beyond. Rather excitingly we are also opening a new show at the Everyman Studio Theatre, Cheltenham in June. Regular readers will know that we’ve toured ‘Bard Heads’ (a series of monodramas based on Shakespearean characters) for the last seven years, so the fact that this is a ‘two hander’ (ie a play featuring both Richard and me) means this is a bit of a departure for us and is going to require some serious concentration! Richard has written the play called ‘Naming The View’. Oh alright, Quick Quiz – what Shakespeare play has inspired ‘Naming The View’?  I’ll reveal the answer and more about the show as the year unfolds! Meanwhile here’s a cryptic clue to the content………

View from Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham

View from Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham

Back here at FTW HQ, as we recover from the winter virus that has swept the nation, here is our wish list for 2018. May it be a year filled with  peace and tolerance, kindness and understanding, amazing achievements and deep satisfaction. We wish you all a very Happy New Year and lots of fun into the bargain. Here we go then……….hold tight………..!!

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