Well this is a first for FINDING THE WILL – our first blog!
And it’s about our first production of ‘Twelfth Night’ with KS2 at the wonderful Nursteed Community Primary school in Devizes, Wiltshire. Having worked with the whole school in the past (workshops and then a production of ‘Macbeth’), we were thrilled to be asked to do ‘Twelfth Night’ with Years 3-6 as the KS2 Christmas Show. Bit of an honour actually being trusted with something as important as a Christmas Show! With just seven days to put the whole thing together from scratch and perform four times, the pressure was well and truly on for all of us!
We started with interactive workshops for the whole school from Reception right through to Year 6 during which the children learned the complicated plot of the play, the main characters and the themes, including a discussion about bullying. Did Malvolio get his just desserts or was he, in the end, a victim of bullying? Working with eight different groups we rehearsed eight sections of the play until we had the whole of Twelfth Night covered. With Orsino in mind (“If music be the food of love, play on…”) we included both live and recorded music in the form of songs which the children had learned beautifully in advance and a recorded soundtrack (including classics like YMCA; Don’t Give Up on Us Baby and Mad About The Boy). We adapted the scenes so that every single child had an important part to play and also included quite a bit of the original text. Our actors, aged 7-11, did a cracking job and hearing comments from them like “I’m playing Malvolio – he’s really cool!” was really gratifying (not to say unexpected!). Richard and I were immensely proud of every one of our 120 actors, all of whom rose to the occasion(s) on every level. They covered for each other when there was illness or problems with getting back to school for an evening show; they looked after each other when members of their groups were nervous; they cooperated with each other with no fuss even down to swapping hats to signify characters; in short they were absolutely phenomenal!
Here are some quotes from adult audience members:
“The children were energetic and enthusiastic. It was great to see such big voices coming from such little people!”
“The confidence of the children is staggering.”
“A really enjoyable show. YMCA and Shakespeare – who knew?”
FINDING THE WILL has worked with almost 3000 children during 2015 and we are now looking forward to a special year next year – 2016 is the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We have Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and more Twelfth Night booked in for the new year plus some workshops on The Tempest in Oxford, Coventry, London and Cambridgeshire plus our own show ‘Bard Heads’ (written and performed by us) playing Wiltshire and Cornwall. It’s going to be busy, so time to crack open the sherry for a Christmas tipple!
Merry Christmas to all of you and have a cracking New Year. Speak to you all again soon!
Jules and Richard Christmas Card 2015 from FINDING THE WILL