Happy Summer Holidays to all the fantastic children and teachers we’ve had the pleasure of working with during the academic year 22/23. A quick count up shows that during the last 10 months we’ve worked with approximately 1000 children ranging in age from 4 – 16 in 14 primary schools and 2 Special Schools. We’ve covered the country from Merthyr Tydfil to Peterborough, Southampton to Yorkshire and all sorts of places in between!
Top of the popularity charts this year is MACBETH. In second place is A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, with THE TEMPEST coming a close third. ROMEO & JULIET is fourth, TWELFTH NIGHT fifth and HAMLET brings up the rear.
We’ve been to many banquets, sailed on many sinking ships and met hundreds of fairies! We’ve eaten peacocks and monkey brains, squirrel and chips, chocolate and ice cream, and sipped champagne and rum. We’ve talked about love, hate, death, betrayal, bullying, marriage, revenge and forgiveness. We’ve watched children grow in confidence, taking on roles and tasks they never thought possible. most importantly, we’ve seen children walk out of school on Friday afternoon taller and prouder than they have ever been before.
FINDING THE WILL has been working in Primary and Special Schools for 16 years now. Throughout that time, our flagship product – the Shakespeare Project Week – has always been popular. I’m happy to say that it still is. We have made annual return visits this year to two of our regular schools, and there are currently two Project Weeks already booked for 2024 (THE TEMPEST and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM if you’re interested!) with another one pending.
Another ‘first’ in 2023 was the leading of MACBETH workshops in Welsh. We are lucky enough to have Ffion Glyn as one of our practitioners. Ffion is a popular and very busy practitioner in Wales, partly because she is a Welsh speaker and able to translate. When FINDING THE WILL was asked to be part of the Merthyr Tydfil Children’s Literature Festival 2023, we were able to offer Taster Macbeth Workshops in Welsh (thanks to Ffion!). We also worked with Year 3/4 at Gwaunfarren Primary to rehearse a short Macbeth scene for the opening of the Festival. This was a moment of huge pride. 26 seven and eight year olds, unused to speaking out in public, performed in front of hundreds of other children, teachers, parents and dignitaries (not least our very own patron MICHAEL ROSEN). To this day, I could not be prouder of what they achieved.
On a personal note, it’s been a bit of a tough year for me, and all the FINDING THE WILL practitioners have come up trumps in supporting me and the company, ensuring that no school has been let down. What we have all achieved, this year of all years, is remarkable so thank you to each and every one of you.
And now it’s summer. And the hot weather in the UK has deserted us! Looking at the rest of Europe at the moment, that’s probably a good thing. But I hope, however and wherever you spend the summer holidays, it’s happy, fun, relaxing and rejuvenating. I look forward to talking to you in the autumn.
Don’t forget the sun cream now…………