Friday, 20 November 2009

Speak What We Feel. Not What We Ought to Say.

Where does the time go? Another week down and Christmas speeding towards us.

Actor Ian Redford came in on Monday and gave an excellent, gregarious session on 'actioning text,' which seemed to go down really well. Ian's been in a few times before and always gives us great value. He's got so much experience working at The Globe, The National, with Out of Joint as well as loads of TV, but talks softly and with great humility about the process of acting. He's just finished playing Joe Keller in a highly acclaimed production All My Sons at the Belgrade in Coventry and is writing a one man show based on Samuel Johnson, to perform at the Johnson Museum off Fleet Street in December, a role decked in benign generosity and hooting laughter. He was born for it.

At lunchtime Patsy gave a brilliantly accessible presentation on her Vocal Points project, which unashamedly advocates finding as many opportunities as possible to banish reticence and release voice throughout childhood and into adulthood. We could all do with being a bit louder and a lot prouder seemed to be the welcome key message. There's no patience in this thinking for a University of repressed reflection.

On Tuesday the second year 'scratched' an idea for a forum theatre play aimed at Primary School children. The social realism of most interactive pieces replaced with a composite fairy story - can Little Red Riding Hood, cope with the peer group pressure of the seven dwarfs, the foolish behaviour of Hansel and Gretel, the bullying of the Troll guarding the bridge and the thieving tendencies of light fingered Goldilocks... and still out manoeuvre the wolf? The work was flawed in not quite being ready for intervention, but the idea had great potential. We accept that children will be vocal participants in theatre events, why not give them the chance to influence the action as well.

Wednesday was full of meetings - firstly with Richmond Community Safety team at Twickenham Stadium to go through the programme for the community day we're going to help facilitate next February working with the local police. The session focused on trying to pull out some key messages, particularly around alcohol abuse and stop and search, the two areas which seem to course the most aggravation between teenagers and police officers in the borough.
Then onto Ham House for a planning session with Gary and Jorge looking ahead to the 400th birthday party next May.

Ambitiously we're going to try and get 3,000 people in for the day listening to local bands and choirs, having fun and culminating in a community sing song... Happy Birthday, Our House by Madness, Country House by Blur... you get the picture! On Rugby days a DJ at the Barmy Arms plays a cracking three hour set of anthems, the pub rocks and the songs are carried across the town and down the river. Gary wants something of the same uninhibited and anarchic nature for the party.
Our students will lightly host the event, playing many of the famous and infamous visitors and owners of the house over the past four centuries. It's a bit of a relief to see a shape emerging for this event, however vague it may be at this stage.

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