Love Juice?

Love Deuce or Love Juice? Get it? Wimbledon fever here at FTW HQ! After a love-ly week of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Luton with lots of purple Love In Idleness juice squirting around, we are now enjoying the purple hues of Wimbledon. As I write there is much British interest still in the world famous tennis championship and, like the Shakespeare Project Weeks we run, there is a lot of  challenge, expectation and some truly amazing surprises.

Our week, last week, at Icknield Primary School in Luton was no exception. Almost 90 children in Year 6 worked together to produce their end of year/end of school production. It featured some original text, some modern text, contemporary music and dance moves, and a bucket load of courage. Here at FTW we see a lot of courage in children nationwide, but last week was something else. Icknield Primary is well known for its provision for Hearing Impaired children with a dedicated team of Communicators who work tirelessly with children throughout the school. Putting on a Play In A Week, let alone a Shakespeare Play In A Week, is a challenge for any child, but for a child with a cochlear implant, this is a whole new ball game (sorry, Wimbledon fever!). And not only did we have HI actors but we also had HI audience members, so our magnificent Communicators had to learn the whole show in order to sign to both the actors and the audience. Amazing work all round and immense bravery. There was also a huge amount of teamwork going on. This is one of the core values of FINDING THE WILL but it was demonstrated beautifully last week by children taking on roles at the drop of a hat to cover for classmates. One young man, originally cast as Lysander in one scene, learnt Lysander in another scene, Duke Theseus in another scene, and finished up playing Demetrius as well as his original role. Being an understudy is a thankless task, ask any professional actor, but we send huge thanks to this young actor (you know who you are!).

Backdrop for Icknield Primary School created by Year 6.

I must also make mention of my fellow practitioner for the week, Richard Bardsley. OK hands up, I declare an interest – he is my almost husband. This was his first foray into the FINDING THE WILL Shakespeare Project Week and he did a fine job. Now he also has a much better understanding of why I sometimes get home so excited and so tired after such a fulfilling week. Huge thanks to all the Year 6 staff and the Communicators for your brilliant support throughout the week. And a special thank you to Mrs Kennedy, assistant head, who got in touch with me back in March. Thank you for inviting us to work with you and for trusting us with your children at such an important time.

Flowers from Icknield Primary School

In other news, I had the pleasure of going to another new school to us the week before last – St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School. I only spent the morning there working with Year 5 on Macbeth but what a lovely morning it was. I was really chuffed to receive this feedback from the school too:

Just ‘Thank you!’ We booked at the very last minute and the whole process was really straightforward. The teacher pack is very useful and the communication has been excellent. A completely painless process which made my life easier! The children are very inspired and are very keen to write extra scenes and diaries etc from the characters points of view. We look forward to booking again in the future!

So I think it’s fair to say that I’m ‘feeling the love’ as the academic year draws to a close. I have one more important duty to perform before the summer break. I am honoured to have been invited to present the inaugural FINDING THE WILL Rising Star Award at the Anson Academy Annies Award Ceremony in Cricklewood this coming Friday. There will be more about this prestigious occasion in the next bulletin of Latest News. But for now, it’s back to the tennis…..Come On!

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