“O brave new world, That has such people in’t!” so says Miranda in The Tempest. And what a brave new world our eighty nine Year 6 actors at Icknield Primary School are facing as they step into the unknown of Year 7. However, armed with some new found courage to push themselves out of their comfort zones, we’re sure that they will flourish.
What a week we’ve just had at this terrific school in Luton. It was our third visit in three years and possibly (no offence to previous performances) our best yet! As usual we began the week with the Interactive Workshop. This school makes special provision for Hearing Impaired (HI) children and so we had the use of microphones from the off. This was particularly useful when it came to interviewing Prospero, Caliban and the audience in our ‘Milan Today’ studio debate on who should rule the island. Now we’ve often talked about ‘brave performances’ in the past and this ‘Tempest’ week was no exception. As well as our HI actor (who gave us a terrific Prospero by the way), there was the usual array of small voices, lack of confidence and low self-esteem challenges. Now maybe it’s because this cohort of actors have watched two previous FTW productions (when they were in Years 4 & 5) and therefore knew what to expect, or maybe it’s simply because they are a lovely group of determined young people, but our ‘Tempest’ company 2019 was the epitome of ‘brave’. And none more so than Miranda in the final scene, a young lady who was barely audible at the beginning of the week but who found the courage to speak with such clarity by the end. I don’t mind saying she made my spine tingle and my heart sing! My partner in crime for this annual week in Luton was Richard (my real life partner rather than Richard co-founder of FTW – if it’s confusing for you, imagine what it’s like for me!). He was beaming with pride when his eleven year old Prospero delivered the final speech “Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves……” with confidence and panache. She (gender-blind casting, how radical!) will go far,
Of course, as well as the actors, there was a whole raft of artists behind the scenes too. You’ve already seen the programme (top of the page) created by one artistically talented young man. The phenomenal backdrop was designed and put together by the multi-talented Mrs McGeachie (Year 6 teacher – apologies if the spelling is wrong!) with elements painted by pupils. Here’s the final masterpiece in situ!
This is the only school (to date) that FINDING THE WILL visits which has a signed performance. The team of Communicators at Icknield deserves a special mention too, not least because they also have to learn the whole show, in order to sign it to the HI audience members. So it is with a warm fuzzy feeling inside that we say a huge thank you to Mr Ramsey (Year 6 Lead) for persevering and making our return visit possible. Thank you also to all the staff for making us so welcome again – you really do make us feel like returning old friends – and thank you to Mrs Farbon (Head Teacher) for your kind words at the end yesterday. We have everything crossed that the Funding Gods will look down and smile upon the brave, hardworking and talented Icknield staff and pupils, so we can come back in 2020 and together wow another three audiences (oh yes I forgot to mention there was a rehearsal then three performances in one day yesterday: Preview, First and Last Night!)! No wonder we were all exhausted!
Finally to our wonderful Year 6 ‘Tempest’ company, be brave, be bold and always remember you have a voice that deserves to be heard. Sail safely as you navigate the choppy waters of life ahead.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on”