Why did the cow cross the road?

Because it was the chicken’s day off!

With thanks to a 7 year old at Whitehall Primary, Bristol.

The Tempest at Whitehall Primary

Why, you may ask, is this joke relevant (as hilarious – ahem – as it is)? Well, Trinculo the King’s Jester in The Tempest is sorely in need of new material because King Alonso never laughs at his jokes. To be fair, King Alonso in both of Whitehall Primary’s Year 3 Interactive Workshops was hard to please. Even my favourite joke of the day didn’t raise a smile:

How many tickles does an octopus have?

Ten Tickles!

Sophisticated that, told by possibly an 8 year old.

The joke that did get the 8 year Old King Alonso rolling in the aisles was one about……..Poo! Of course it was – I can sense the corners of your mouth turning up even as you read this! Why does this matter? Because immediately we have engagement from 60 Year 3 children, who are now invested not only in coming up with the best material to help Trinculo, but also in what happens next……

FINDING THE WILL began February in Bristol on board The Good Ship Colossal Leopard and The Good Ship Destiny’s Bounty as I took 90 children from Year 3 on a voyage through THE TEMPEST. They hoisted the sails, scrubbed the decks and heaved the anchor before the Tempest struck. After that, it was all about revenge and forgiveness as always. If only the world would heed Prospero;

The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance.

Prospero – The Tempest Act V Scene 1 – William Shakespeare

Macbeth at Marshfields School

We finished off the month at a wonderful special education school in Peterborough. The warmth, care and support shown to all the students at Marshfields School is palpable from the moment you enter the building. Nick and I had a lovely morning working with Year 8, Year 9 and some students from Year 10 (whom we remembered from Year 9 last year!) working on MACBETH. For all the tragedy in this tale, it is great fun to get your teeth into. However we know that volunteering to play a part, be it King or bodyguard, is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not exactly cool when you’re a teenager. So imagine how thrilled we, and the staff, were when some of the less confident participants left exclaiming “I want to be an actor!”! It is joyful to watch young people slowly open up, live in the moment and get completely swept up in a story.

Macbeth accepts the honour of the title Thane of Cawdor from the King
Macbeth contemplates what he has done,,,,,,,

Why does drama matter?

I was talking to a Head teacher last week who, without prompting, told me how beneficial drama was ‘especially after the pandemic’. In the Coronavirus years, many children lost the ability to stand up and make their voices heard. Maybe they lost confidence, became more shy, introverted and scared. Perhaps they simply got out of the habit of speaking up in front of their classmates. Whatever the reason, surely it is incumbent upon those of us who have the power, skill and knowledge, to do something about it. That is why working at Marshfields was such a joy. FINDING THE WILL exists partly to kick start a love of Shakespeare, but mainly to encourage young people to find a voice and not be afraid to use it.

So the real reason why the cow crossed the road – apart from to get to the udder side (see what I did there?) was to give a 7 year old from Bristol a voice.

Keep smiling everyone!


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