If you’ve been hit by the January blues, then read on because we might just have the antidote! Certainly there has been no time for general January depression this year – I’m happy to report that FINDING THE WILL has been flat out! We’ve been into three schools (two Primary Schools and one Special School) and we’ve made a film!

Sound desk in the gallery of Television Studio 1, Bournemouth University

Devon – Macbeth

The year kicked off on a rainy January day in Devon at Seaton Primary School. This was our first visit to this seaside primary school and a lovely day it was too. Despite the weather being terrible (you could hardly distinguish the grey sea from the grey sky through the lashing rain), it seemed vaguely appropriate that we were doing Macbeth…..

“So foul and fair a day I have not seen”

Macbeth, Act 1 Sc 3

Year 6 quickly became immersed in the story and, as ever, there was an extraordinary banquet laid on for King Duncan – Pepperoni Pizza, Pigs in Blankets and Brussel Sprouts if you don’t mind! Many thanks to Miss Hodkinson for organising the visit and also for the lovely welcome I had in the school office on my arrival – these things matter!

Berkshire – Macbeth

Next we paid a return visit to Kennel Lane School in Bracknell. This is a lovely welcoming Special School and we had the pleasure of working with KS4 on Macbeth. There were many truly memorable moments on this day, not least King Duncan discussing with his sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, how best to punish the traitorous Thane of Cawdor. Firing squad was in the mix but in the end they settled on simple execution – nice! Fewer participants in the workshops inevitably meant that some doubling was required. So Donalbain doubled as Macduff and also a bodyguard – multi-roleplaying a speciality there – and Banquo doubled as Lady Macbeth. Unprompted attention to detail here in swapping between the characters was masterful – Banquo wore glasses, Lady M did not – this particular actor was a joy to watch. Again grateful thanks to Ms O’Brien for getting in touch again and inviting us back.

Essex – Hamlet

Last week we returned to Great Leighs Primary, Essex for a week of Hamlet with 130 actors from KS2. The last time we were here was January 2020 when our most senior actors this time (aged 9/10/11) were in Years 3&4. Our younger actors in the current Years 3&4 were working with us for the first time. Whilst the pandemic and the ongoing Covid threat precluded a live audience of parents and friends at the end of the week, it did not diminish the voices and courage of some of our actors. There were some cracking performances, enjoyed live by Year 2 and caught on film for home screenings via a link for the parents.

Yorick’s skull and a pair of swords (one lethal) –
or a football and two umbrellas!

This week was all about ‘the journey’ – the tiny voices that became quiet voices, the quiet voices that became slightly louder voices, the slightly louder voices that became big voices. And the courage to find a voice, no matter the volume, that every child involved showed.

Huge thanks to Mrs Waters for keeping the faith and inviting us back for the fourth time. Also to all the KS2 staff who were multi-tasking and covering for Covid absences, yet still found time to work with their classes when we weren’t with them. You all made us feel so much at home and certainly helped us to see out January with a flourish.


Poster for NAMING THE VIEW, a studio drama filmed at Bournemouth University.
Poster for NAMING THE VIEW, a studio drama filmed at Bournemouth University.

Apparently the third Monday in January is January Blue Monday. Not so for us! This was the first day of the shoot for NAMING THE VIEW. Avid readers of this blog will know that we managed to secure funding from Arts Council England last July to film a studio version of this powerful play. Finally, after some Covid-related delays, we managed to shoot it over three days in mid-January. A dozen 3rd Year Television Production students from Bournemouth University made up the crew on the studio floor and in the gallery working under the expert guidance of veteran TV director and lecturer Dr Nick Bamford. There is lots more to tell you about this, but for now I’m going to leave you with some behind the scenes shots and what those brilliant, bright, enthusiastic young people said about their experience.

Till next time…….

I have really enjoyed my time working with Jules, Nick and Richard on Naming The View. As script supervisor, it has given me a great opportunity to develop my skills and grow in confidence that will definitely help me when it comes to working in the industry. It allowed for my peers to try new roles within studio crew and we all worked so well together as a team! I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on such an incredible project. Thank you!

Heidi Small – 3rd Year Television Production Student, Bournemouth University

It was a pleasure to be part of such a fun and enthusiastic crew and I’m so excited to see the final product once it’s all edited together. The film carries a really powerful message surrounding domestic abuse but is also just a beautiful story to watch. I learnt so much on this project working as a camera operator which I know will aid me in all my future productions.

Emily Ayling – 3rd Year Television Production Student, Bournemouth University

I thoroughly enjoyed working on the studio floor, not only for the experience but for the fun and kind atmosphere. I’ve never had the chance to work with professional actors and directors before so I value this experience and cannot wait to see the final edit. Everyone was very kind and conversational as well as staying professional. The actors were patient and understanding of the crew and the technical side to the production and were happy to repeat scenes when needed which was very helpful to the crew. Thank you for the Amazing opportunity to be a part of your production. Taking on the roles of Boom Operator and Camera Operator for the filming of Naming the View was an incredible experience. Working in a professional and enjoyable enviroment was a lot of fun.

Lucy Stevens – 3rd Year Television Production Student, Bournemouth University

It was a wonderful experience working on this production, Since the pandemic it has been harder to get proper in-studio experience so I am very grateful to have been able to work on such an interesting and important project. 

Amy Baker – 3rd Year Television Production Student, Bournemouth University

Lucy and Emily – Boom and Camera 1 Operators
Danielle – Boom Operator with Jules
It’s a wrap! The full wonderfully talented team!

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