Magic was all around The Royal Opera House, Muscat at the beginning of February!

Logd for the Royal Opera House, Muscat in Arabic and English, gold lettering on brown background.

Exploring Shakespeare

FINDING THE WILL was thrilled to be given the opportunity to be part of the Play Your Dream – Exploring Shakespeare Project at the The Royal Opera House, Muscat earlier this month. Whilst we are known for weaving our magic nationally here in the UK, it was a huge thrill to be asked to share our work internationally. At the end of December we were approached to run workshops for children on A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in the run up to performances of Benjamin Britten’s opera. What an honour! Just look where we finished up!

The Magic of the Interactive Workshops

Here at FINDING THE WILL we have always strived to increase the confidence and self-esteem of the children we work with. We weren’t sure what to expect when we set off on the first morning in Oman. Would the children we were to meet be shy? Scared of speaking up? Unable to understand us? Would they follow the story? Would they want to take part?

Richard in sunglasses and Jules in normal glasses, standing outside hotel with mountains in the background.
First morning, outside our hotel, wondering what to expect!

We needn’t have worried! Both Richard and I were amazed by the confidence, vocabulary, enthusiasm and general joie de vivre of all of the children we met. In total we worked with approximately 200 children over the three days. They ranged in age from 6 – 12 and were from a variety of backgrounds. One workshop was purely for children who were home-schooled. With only 5 children taking part in this one, we roped in their mums to play Oberon, Titania and Puck, whilst Richard and I covered Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus. In all honesty, the adults in the room (Teachers, parents, Opera House staff), in every workshop we ran, were as engaged as the children. Completely drawn into the magic of the story!

The most unusual Stage Door we have ever had the privilege of walking through! What an incredible building!

Magic moments

There were many magic moments throughout the three days but there are a couple that stand out for me. Firstly, this gem of a moment:

Richard: ” What would you say to your friend Bottom, if he suddenly appeared with a donkey’s head on?”

Answer: “Get him to a doctor! Take him to a laboratory!”

As always with FINDING THE WILL, there is never a wrong answer, just an interesting idea.

The second moment that I will carry with me is the sound of raucous laughter. the pure joy of 40 children following a story (in a second language don’t forget), and relishing every twist and turn along the way. Whether it’s the magic of Shakespeare, the magic of our storytelling, or a combination of both, that sound – pure hilarity – is priceless.

The main characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Children at the ROHM dressed in their workshop costumes with Richard and Jules and teachers.
The cast of one of the Interactive Workshops.

Heading home

Our brief but oh so fulfilling visit came to an end on 8th February. There are whispers of us returning in April 2025 and Richard and I would be delighted if that happens. The country of Oman is fascinating, the people we met (both inside and outside of the Opera House) were warm and friendly. It feels like there is much more we can share with each other, so we really hope that this is not the last that the Royal Opera House, Muscat sees of us, or we see of it!

Tempest Magic!

Meanwhile, back here in the UK, Nick spent a couple of days in Bristol with Year 3 at Whitehall Primary. The magic of THE TEMPEST was the draw here. I understand there was a memorably enthusiastic dancing Prospero, a couple of really great Calibans and a swell of excitement for the forthcoming ‘Shakespeare Show’. That’s what we like to hear, the magic of Shakespeare continuing to spread! Thanks to Ms Tovey for liaising with me to arrange the visit this year.

The magic of March!

Coming up we have a busy month ahead. Nick and I are heading to Chelmsford (St Michael’s Junior School) and to Surrey (St Dominic’s Special Education School) with MACBETH and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM respectively. Then I am returning to St Catherine’s of Siena Primary in Birmingham, followed by Shellingford Primary in Oxfordshire with THE DREAM and MACBETH respectively. So I’ll be back at the end of next month with more tales of Macbeth mayhem and Midsummer magic.

Until then, shukran liqarayatik


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