Jabberwocky Carnage and A Rainbow in the Garden of Reason.
This morning's Primary School workshop was in St Elizabeth's Catholic School on Richmond Hill. The KS2 classroom we were in had a list of rules printed up on the wall, the first of which was 'Be Like God.' At least nobody can accuse them of having low aspirations for their pupils.
The workshop was really well handled by Jess, Mary, Lauren, Ollie and Valentina and it was clear that, once again the children had a terrific time.
Towards the end of the session the class were put into groups of five and asked to create a new Wonderland adventure using any of the characters from the stories. One group ended up having four girls - who immediately set up a demure and charming tea party featuring Alice, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat and a flamingo - and one boy who seemed to be sulkily left out of things to begin with. Just as the tea party reached its zenith, with Jam Tarts all round. He jumped onto a table and revealed himself to be the all conquering Jabberwocky come to claim Wonderland. With that he set to work pretending to snap the flamingos neck, rip out Alice's throat, bite the Dormouse's head off and maul the Cheshire Cat to pulp before she had time to disappear. Old testament stuff really, lots of smiting.
With them all lying on the floor in a pile of blood and tea, he announced that Wonderland was his! With Lewis Carroll turning in his grave and the rest of us lost in fits of giggles it was left to poor Valentina to facilitate the feedback - 'now what did we like about Richard's performance?'
This evening was the grand opening of the Garden of reason at Ham House. A summer long festival of contemporary art, with nine installations carefully placed around the grounds.
Drama St Mary's students took part in the Harold Offeh's rather marvellous and mischievously camp Arcadia (Re)Imagined. They paraded formally onto the plats dressed as terracotta plant pots and topiary and performed a courtly dance to the strains of Noel Coward's London Pride, before funking out to some busting seventies disco. It was tremendously silly and brilliant.
As they danced for the 500 or so invited guests a huge rainbow came out framing the gardens and making the whole thing astonishingly beautiful. It was the perfect way to end the day.
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.