“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”

Fifty years after man first landed on the moon, we’re hearing that phrase a lot this week. But it strikes me that we are all, in our own tiny way, continuing to take one small step for man. True, sometimes it feels like we are stepping backwards but, for the 2000 children FINDING THE WILL has worked with this academic year, the small steps towards a more confident, rounded life has been a giant leap for their kind.

Twelfth Night – Hampton Junior Year 3

Likewise for Richard and me, we have taken small steps in the pursuit of raising awareness of domestic, economic and emotional abuse with our production of NAMING THE VIEW. A “Must see production. Relevant to all” as described by one of our audience members in Cornwall last week. More of this later, but for now – check out this view!

The view from the terrace at Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

Back to the schools’ work and the successful year we’ve had. We’ve visited sixteen schools throughout the year with a variation of Project Weeks and Interactive Workshop Days. Of the sixteen, three were completely new to us, six were second visits, and the other seven were all regular bookings. It’s very gratifying when we become part of the school year diary! Another small step for man and creativity.

Regular readers will know of our close association with Anson Primary in Cricklewood. Not only do we work there each Spring with Years 3&4 but we also have the honour of presenting one of the annual Annie Awards – the FINDING THE WILL Rising Star Award. To be fair, we were unable to make it this year (too busy performing ourselves in Cornwall – see above, don’t worry I’ll get to that soon!). But we didn’t let a little thing like 300 miles stop us from joining in the fun!

Richard and Jules on the big screen at The Annie Award Ceremony

And just to give you a flavour of the amazing work created by this school check out the Annies Showreel (note Years 3&4 in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ dressed in yellow and green and the odd donkey head!).

We feel very lucky to have had another brilliant year meeting and working with hundreds of children aged 4-11 from all kinds of different backgrounds and walks of life nationwide. We’ve encountered courage and determination, talent and bravery and we look forward to uncovering more in the next academic year. Thank you to all the children and staff who have welcomed us back or welcomed us for the first time this year. We wish you all a safe onward journey (especially if you’re in Year 6) and a refreshing, relaxing summer holiday.

And now to something completely different……..

Naming The Will
“Truly beautiful work on a subject that needs sharing” Audience Feedback (Old Library, Bodmin)

So, in our quest for more touring opportunities for this ‘sensitive, witty, powerful’ piece of theatre (audience words not ours), we’ve been intermittently on the road during 2019. We’ve performed in Banbury, Exeter, Cumbria, Northumbria and Cornwall and we hope to return to the South West in the Spring of next year. Certainly the feedback we’ve received and the vibes we’ve picked up at the end of every one of our performances has been nothing but positive. This is a show ‘with legs’, it deserves to be seen more because it is a beautiful piece of writing with a heartfelt message of courage and hope. We have had support during the year from the likes of Helen Walmsley Johnson (Guardian columnist and author of ‘Look What You Made Me Do‘) and the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, as well as other local charities like Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service. The play generates discussion, it makes people think, laugh one moment and cry the next. It educates and hopefully helps to encourage recognition and a small step towards recovery.

I’m going to leave the final words on this to the brilliant photographer Gordon Scammell:

 @GordonScammell to @FINDINGTHEWILL1

“Quite a superb piece of theatre. Moments when I actually stopped taking photographs – rare for me.”

Finally we have to mention the newest member of the FTW family, our patron Michael Rosen. What a joy to have him on board and, though he is yet to see any of our work in person, we are already hugely grateful for his support on Twitter. And you never know, he might spring a surprise and turn up at a performance sometime next year – he loves going into schools after all!


So farewell to the academic year of 2018/19 – you’ve been a blast! We look forward to reaching for the stars with you all again in 2019/20!

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”


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