Year 6 artist at Barkston & Syston Primary

Macbeth in Lincolnshire

What joy there was on the afternoon of Friday 10 June when the entire Barkston & Syston Primary School, near Grantham, Lincs came together to perform Macbeth. And when I say ‘entire’ I mean the whole bloomin’ lot! From the 4 & 5 year olds in Reception right through the school to the 10 & 11 Year olds in Year 6 (on the verge of moving on), absolutely everyone was involved.

We began the week in the usual way with two Interactive Workshops to tell the story. Class 1 & 2 (Reception & Years 1/2) took part in the morning workshop and provided some memorable moments! Macbeth’s bodyguard aged 5 (just) was adamant that Lady Macbeth (a grand Dame at 6) would not give him sleep-inducing wine. “I don’t want your wine. you won’t steal the crown!” – it could have been a whole new play! 5 year old King Duncan understandably had had enough after sitting on the throne for one scene and politely asked if he could go back to his place. We were impressed by this bravery and also his 7 year old replacement who was thrilled to take over the role.

Castle Glamis as designed by King Duncan himself (Class 2, Barkston & Syston Primary School)

Whilst Early Years and KS1 entertained us royally, KS2 also shone brightly, coming up with performances beyond their (and our) wildest dreams. The children and parents at this lovely, warm and welcoming school had never experienced FINDING THE WILL before, and Ffion and I felt so privileged to be invited to work here for the week. The cherry on the top was a quote from local celebrity actor, Elizabeth Rider, who came to watch the final performance:

“It was better than the production at The Almeida!”

Elizabeth Rider (Line Of Duty)

Massive thanks to all the brilliant staff at Barkston & Syston, and particularly Head Teacher, Miss Lyon. We loved working with you and hope to be back!

Wall of Fame at Barkston & Syston Primary, Lincs

Macbeth in Cambridgeshire

From Grantham we moved on to Peterborough. When I say ‘we’ I mean me and Angie Sims, another of our brilliant Associate Practitioners. Avid readers of this blog will know that Heritage Park Primary is one of our oldest clients in our portfolio. We’ve been going to this lovely school annually for well over 12 years. So it was with some surprise that we realised, due to you know what, our last visit was three years ago in 2019. Needless to say, it was so good to be back!

Children’s words capturing the essence of FINDING THE WILL (Gift from Heritage Park Primary 2018)

Thanks to Covid however, Year 6 was the only year group ever to have experienced a FINDING THE WILL Project Week – and that was a third of their life time ago when they were in Year 3! For Years 3, 4 & 5 (and their parents) this was totally new territory. What joy then for all 120 children in KS2 to come together on Friday 17 June to perform their version of Macbeth. Yet again we witnessed some breathtakingly good natural performances, and countless others full of courage and real guts. This is what it’s really all about.

“My child was terrified about taking part before the week started yet by today she was standing on stage saying lines by herself, Thank you for giving her that confidence it was priceless.”

Parent, Heritage Park Primary

Since we finished, our minds have been buzzing with memories of Turtle soup, paleontologists, olympic gymnasts and small business owners – and that’s just from the workshop! Once we were in rehearsals, our actors in both large and small roles really came into their own. It’s a huge privilege to be able to help 120 young people find their voices, raise their self-esteem and give them the chance to shine. Angie and I are incredibly proud of all of our actors, so KS2 take another bow!

Grateful thanks as ever to Miss Bell and all the Heritage Park staff for welcoming us back so warmly – the FINDING THE WILL legacy can now continue once again!

And in other news…….

NAMING THE VIEW is now available on demand. We are still waiting for confirmation from a well-known streaming platform, but in the meantime you can watch it by clicking here. Also Richard is taking his one man show “Happy As Larry” to Edmonton Fringe, Canada this summer. We’ll be cheering him on from afar, and will bring you more details of that next month. Until then, enjoy the sunshine and the run up to the summer holidays! Speak again soon.

Another Portrait of Shakespeare in Black and white pencil by Yr 6 at Barkston & Syston Primary School
Barkston & Syston Primary – Class 4


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