I was privileged to be invited to a very special ceremony last Friday – The Annies at Anson Primary School, Cricklewood, London. What a joy!

The set for The Annies 2017

This wonderful school is a hidden gem. It is small (for a London Primary School I mean), it is creative, confidence-boosting, caring and classy, all of which was demonstrated beautifully on Friday morning at The Annies. Think Oscars, scaled down just a little.

The Annie Award

There were four presenters from Year 6 – a comedy double act to start with and then the hosts for the entire ceremony. And how accomplished were they?! Watch out Stephen Fry, there are eleven year olds nipping at your heels! The awards were presented by a selection of teachers, special guests (aka me!) and two stars from Reception – yes, I did say say Reception. Five year olds dressed to impress, and impress they did, with their vocal talent and comedy timing. Brilliant! In total there were 15 Annies awarded for categories including Best Song, Contribution to the Field of Dance, Best Ensemble, Best Performance in a Leading Role, Best Comedy Performance, Best Director and many more besides. This year there was also a new award – THE FINDING THE WILL RISING STAR AWARD! We are more than proud!

The FINDING THE WILL Rising Star Award 2017

Presenting the Annie to our Rising Star

This award, named in our honour (and what a huge honour that is), is now a permanent feature of the Annies Award Ceremony. It will be given to an actor who has worked with us for two years and who has shown some star quality and commitment in both a major and a minor role. Like the members of ‘The Academy’ at Anson Primary, where there is incidentally a category for Best Performance in a Small Role, we are adamant that the size of the role does not denote the importance of it.  Therefore we were particularly thrilled to discover the recipient of the inaugural FTW Rising Star Award shone as Malvolio in Twelfth Night (when she was in Year 3) and as a ghost in Hamlet in Year 4, demonstrating beautifully that every role is as important as the next.

Production values at Anson Primary http://www.ansonprimaryschool.com/ are always of the highest quality, and The Annies Ceremony was no exception. This annual celebration of artistic achievement is a showcase for the beating heart of this fabulous school, where drama and the arts are valued extremely highly. There are some extraordinarily talented and committed members of staff at this school, some of whom were honoured last week (the Fellowship of The Academy), and I suspect and sincerely hope, have been honoured in the past. Lighting, video production, music and set design, never mind rehearsing the presenters, so that everything works like clockwork is time-consuming and highly skilled. But, boy, was it worth it! I don’t know for sure, and hope I’ll be forgiven if I’ve got this wrong, but I suspect this whole annual celebration was the brain child many years ago of one particular teacher, and it just gets bigger and better every year- take a bow Mr Waters!

Mr Waters with a richly deserved Annie

This was a marvellously fitting way for FINDING THE WILL to end its academic year. We look forward to returning to Anson Primary next March for Romeo & Juliet with Years 3&4, and again to The Annies Award Ceremony 2018.  Just try keeping us away!

The 2017 Anson Academy Awards

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