You’ve heard of the Macbeth curse right? “You must call it The Scottish Play, saying ‘Macbeth’ is bad luck” We say “Rubbish!”
We’ve been constantly saying ‘Macbeth’ all week and, far from it bringing bad luck, it has brought unity, confidence, courage, adrenalin, fun and some truly memorable performances from 90 children in Year 6 at Icknield Primary School, Luton. This was our second visit to this lovely warm and welcoming school and, a year later, it was like we’d never been away. After the triumph of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ last year, was it possible that the tragedy of ‘Macbeth’ could come anywhere close? The answer, a resounding yes! Yesterday our 90 actors did a dress rehearsal at 9am, a preview performance at 11am, a first night at 2pm and a last night at 5.45pm! What a day for them and for us!
I know I bang on a lot about this in these Latest News blogs but really, the courage of some children is amazing. Among our 90 strong cast yesterday we had children with hearing impairments. Did that stop them joining in? No! In fact, unless you knew who those children were, you would not have even guessed. There were children who, at the beginning of the week, were so embarrassed that they could barely open their mouths – not so yesterday. Inevitably there were children who were just plain shy and so the very thought of speaking in a voice that could be heard across the other side of the room was crushing, but they (and their voices) rose to the occasion when it mattered. And then there were the wild cards, the actors we cast in major roles who would never normally be given such opportunity or responsibility. One of the joys of our job is not knowing the back stories of the children and, due to the intense nature of the week, we have to make casting decisions very swiftly with minimal time to assess ability. But you know what, the wild cards are often the most rewarding, and certainly the most revealing! Drama allows children to shine, grow and discover new depths and it allows us all, adults and children alike, to see each other in a different light.
Huge thanks to all the staff at Icknield School in Year 6 who were also a major part of this week. Without you, your cooperation and flexibility, it could not have happened. And indeed thanks to all the staff throughout the school who welcomed us back so warmly, chatted with us in the staff room and were so caring and kind throughout the week. Time to ”fess up’ as they say……some may call it the ‘curse of Macbeth” but I’ve got a broken ankle……..so there have been people running round for me all week, opening doors, lifting my whizzy wheels (knee walker) up and down steps, and generally fetching and carrying for me. Not least in all of this, my long suffering partner Richard, who (luckily for me) was also my fellow drama practitioner this week (sorry Richard, there’s at least four more weeks of this!). But most of all, thank you to our company of Year 6 actors. You made us proud and I hope you made yourselves and your parents proud. Travel safely on the journey of life ahead and always remember, you only grow by nudging yourselves out of your comfort zones as many of you did this week, and there were definitely some taller actors walking out of school last night.
More from me soon on the Annies Award Ceremony at Anson Primary, Cricklewood and the FINDING THE WILL Rising Star Award, and the small matter of a performance of ‘The Third Witch From The Left’ in Cornwall with a broken ankle tomorrow night. Curse of Macbeth? Discuss………..