Sunday, 30 May 2010

In Praise of Petersham Nurseries.

It's been crazy, busy for a few weeks with term coming to an end, but this morning suddenly for the first time in ages it felt as if everything were under control and that Summer was on its way.

One of the hidden joys of working at St Mary's is its Arcadian location. Today I stayed local starting with a glorious cycle ride round the low lying perimeter of Richmond Park, where the deer are about to fawn, ending up in the shaded, rag taggle greenhouses of Petersham Nurseries for a late brunch of fresh mint tea and beetroot cake. Here, under vines, with a couple of hours of Sunday broadsheets to wade through, it felt like the academic year, with a long, slow outtake of breath, had come to an end; allowing some space for the new thoughts and ideas which will undoubtedly come bang on the door as we move forward through the next few months.

There are still many uncertainties, the cuts to Universities have yet to filter through to us and we all await with interest the appointment of the new principal. It's clear that at any minute the calm might be shattered and new initiatives, working practices, expectations dropped on us from above. It'd be foolish to expect things to stay as they are, and we must be prepared to ride the waves rather than be engulfed by them but Drama St Mary's has developed a long way in a short time and we're very proud of the way our ever remarkable students are responding to the offer we're now making them. Whatever happens we need to stay true to the idea of being a practical, creative course aimed as much at the makers and doers as at the thinkers and theorists.

A department has to evolve, sometimes in a controlled manner, sometimes in reaction to events - but either way, sitting sipping tea and wiping crumbs, on a Sunday morning at the centre of the universe, I'm full of confidence that the future is bright.

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