August has been an inspiring month for FINDING THE WILL and seen us go global! Our intrepid co-founder, Richard, has been in Canada, performing in the Edmonton Fringe Festival and I (Jules) have been streaming our recording of NAMING THE VIEW for Ukraine.
Richard in Canada
Richard has been performing HAPPY AS LARRY at The Edmonton Fringe, Canada throughout August. Garnering a 4 star review from the Edmonton Journal, he is happy as Larry to have had a successful fringe and to have met some lovely people.
“There’s lots of smart humour written into this inspired play“Edmonton Journal
Jules in Ukraine
Well of course I’ve not actually been IN Ukraine, but FINDING THE WILL has been part of an extraordinary Theatre Festival – Pro.Act Fest 2022.. Along with theatre companies from Australia, the USA, and Europe, we were invited to show our work online. Thrilling enough you would have thought but then, as well as screening NAMING THE VIEW, I was asked to interview some of the Ukraine team, The result is conversations with the most inspirational Ukrainian artists (who also just happen to be women).
Inspiring Ukrainian Women
First of all I was interviewed by Anabell Sotelo Ramirez about FINDING THE WILL, the work we do in schools, our performing work and the shows we have written inspired by Shakespeare. Of course we talked a lot about NAMING THE VIEW which is still available to view online on SceneSaver incidentally until the end of the Festival on 31 Aug (free of charge unless you wish to make a donation to Ukraine). It is also available in BSL, with subtitles and audio-description. I said to Anabell how impressed I was that an International Theatre Festival is being held in Ukraine right now. Her philosophical answer? “Sometimes you just need to do what you have to do. That’s all.” I remain truly humbled.
Next I had the privilege of talking with Tanya Shelepko – a young dynamic Theatre Director, full of life and enthusiasm against all the odds. She talked to me about her show ‘L_UKR_ECE’ (based on Shakespeare’s poem ‘The Rape Of Lucrece’) and the extraordinary ‘New World Order‘, which was rehearsed and performed in a bomb shelter in Kyiv during the early part of the war. When I asked her “How are you?”, her simple heartbreaking answer was “I’m alive.”
Finally I got to speak with Natalia Ponomarova, the President of the Pro.ActFest. She told me a bit about the history of the Festival – This is its 5th year – and about this year’s theme ‘Unbreakable’. If there was ever an unbreakable nation, it’s Ukraine! She also told me about the live element of the Festival in Kyiv itself, where the contingency plans were for bomb alerts ( as opposed to simply bad weather). Her message to the world “From this little thing we can create our victory.”
So with the inspiring words of these fantastic creative women ringing in our ears, we are looking ahead to the Autumn months of 2022. Fresh from his Canadian triumph, Richard will be performing CALL ME OZ as part of the St Ives Festival in Cornwall on the 13th and 20th September. On 19th November I will be performing both THE DUST BEHIND THE DOOR and THE THIRD WITCH FROM THE LEFT as part of the Valley Arts Festival. More about this nearer the time.
It was with deep sorrow that we had to say goodbye to our original Patron Bernard Cribbins OBE at the end of last month. Bernard was also inspiring. He was a true champion of children’s theatre and TV and was known to millions across all ages. We were thrilled when he agreed to become our very first Patron in 2010.
Having lost two of our Patrons – the wonderful Sue Pritchard exited this stage early in 2021 – we are on the look out for more. Any suggestions or nominations would be gratefully received!
For now though there is only one way to end – with the verse that is so special to Richard and me. It is also incredibly pertinent.
For Bernard, For Sue, For the people of Ukraine:
“If it must be so, let’s not weep or complain. If I have failed, or you, or life turned sullen, we have these things, they do not come again. But the flag still flies and the city has not fallen.”Humbert Wolfe