Saturday, 20 November 2010

The bullies took a beating!

Last week was National Anti Bullying Week and didn't we all get busy.
Our recent production of "Not such an Ugly Duckling" was heavily in demand, and we managed no fewer than 12 performances at schools between Monday and Friday.
Well done Caroline and Laurie for meeting such a demanding schedule. Oh, and thanks to Karen (and myself) for being the "roadies".
The feedback was most encouraging and teachers all said how well we put the message across in a fun filled way. The children certainly enjoyed themselves, particularly the ones taking part.
Of course, anti bullying is not for just one week of the year and we have more bookings of this play spread over the next couple of terms.
It will soon be National Safety Week so I must away now and dust down "Billy Beware"!
Back soon,

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Half Term already

Looking out at the drizzling rain and wind blown trees I realise Winter is upon us. Some crazies are already talking about Christmas.
For us this is the busiest time of the year. Schools want to add fun and entertainment to the education programme during the festive season.
Most kids get to see a pantomime so we offer something different. Something that gets them involved, often up there with the actors; singing, dancing and generally having a good time.
If you have not yet booked us you may be too late. At the time of writing this we have no whole days free, and only a sprinkling of half days between now and the end of term.
Get on your bikes, or preferably on the phone and we will see if we can fit you in.
Must go now and write up the latest batch of bookings.
Until soon....

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Braving it to Scotland

Quelle surprise!
It all started back in May when we were approached by a popular teachers' resource website "Teachit".
In June "Teachit" were to hold a competition for the many thousands of teachers subscribing to their site and they were seeking a suitable prize for the winner.
We had the honour of being approached in May and asked if we would like to give a performance to the winning school as the prize.
Naturally, we were delighted to have been asked and immediately agreed.
In July we learnt the winner was St. Mary's Primary School in Haddington, East Lothian.
We made contact and packed our bags for a performance of "The Story of Aesop's Fables" on Monday 4th October, travelling up on the Sunday and staying overnight at The Toll Bidge Hotel in Haddington.
The Toll Bridge made us most welcome and we spent a really enjoyable night there feasting on their magnificent locally caught haddock for supper and a scrumptious Scottish breakfast before departing for the school ten minutes away.
The performance was very well received and the Head Teacher wrote thanking us.
A truly wonderful experience.

Until the next time,
p.s. I must learn to speak the language!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

How remiss of me!

I got so carried away with Summer I forgot to mention the delightful young lady who brightened our days during her work experience with Aesop's.
Sythey joined us for a week in July and after spending a day in the office gaining an insight into the running of the business, she joined the actors on the road.
Her time was well spent assisting with get ins and outs, introducing us to schools, and helping with Drama Workshops.
Judging by her eagerness and enthusiasm I guess she really enjoyed the experience.
Sythey is one of many placements we have had the pleasure of meeting. Each one has brought ideas of their own, reviewed our plays and provided useful input.
We look forward to receiving another one in 2011.
Thanks again Sythey.
Bye for now.....

Monday, 30 August 2010

New School Year Ahead

Sorry for the long delay, but even we have to take the occasional break!
Summer is virtually over. We have dealt with the "crazies". That is those who want us to write a play, costume it, prop it, compose the music, rehearse the actors, etc. etc. and then perform it once for 50 kids. Oh yes, we do get asked.
Talking of actors, we have two new ones joining us for the next year, and maybe longer. I am sure Caroline and Laurie will enjoy being with us. They are currently heavily into rehearsals. and their profiles will soon be appearing on the "actors" page.
We are hopeful that the Government cut backs will not cause schools to curtail "live drama". We all recognise what an important part it plays in the education process.
Bookings have been coming in for the first and second terms of the new school year which confirms my belief that teaching is not at all about long holidays and short days; our business has taught us that the teaching profession demands a great deal of effort, work and preparation outside of school hours.
On the subject of which I must get back to some preparation of my own.
Until the next time....

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Basking in the Sun

I have to admit I have been enjoying the final arrival of Summer so much I have been lax in keeping up the blog.
The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and, sadly, we shall be losing Mike after some two and a half years with us. He feels the time is now right to move on to something different, and we will be wishing him every success furthering his acting career. I have no doubt that his natural talent will carry him far.
Next month will be devoted to rehearsing two new actors, and I will tell you more about this next time I write.
Yesterday was great fun as we performed "The Gingerbread Man" to a packed audience at the Amphitheatre on the promenade in Folkestone.
We had envisaged all manor of disasters that might befall us, including being swept out to sea. But the day was perfectly still with bright sunshine. In fact, the only real danger was sunstroke!
Since I last wrote, as well as schools, we have been busy at a number of theatres, including Lauderdale House, The Riverhead in Louth and The Landmark in Teddington: all to big audiences. Next weekend we will be back at The Hub in Verwood.
Now I must busy myself checking rehearsal schedules.
Until the next time,

Monday, 3 May 2010

We Don't Do Crazy!

I will start this comment with an apology to my readers if they feel offended in any way by what follows.
At least once a month I am guaranteed to receive an email on these lines.
"Hello, we are a school in (Slovenia) and we are proposing a day dedicated to the thousands of workers who have contributed to making our country what it is. We should like you to come and perform a one hour play for our 60 primary children on the subject of achievement. Is this something you can do? Many thanks SV"
Now this may be a touch extreme, but I am making a point.
We have a very active website that provides in depth information on the plays and workshops we perform. Nine plays are current and have to be learnt by our actors.
So do I reply:-
"Yes, of course we should love to write, prop, costume, music, choreograph etc. etc. a play to perform just once to 60 kids. I can give you a ball park fee, but somehow I don't think I will hear back from you"
Or do I just bin it, and with a sigh recognise this is now the silly season?
Until the next time,

Sunday, 14 March 2010

That was the week, that was!

In this business the one thing you can be sure of is you will be breaking your neck to meet commitments during National Book Week.
Christmas may take some schools by surprise. Oh, should we have booked earlier is heard only too often in early December.
Never so for N.B.W. Oh no, we are already being asked for next March, and we have yet to recover from this one.
Now the one thing of which you may be certain is that the schools that book early will be in the most remote and inaccessible locations. Motorway! What motorway? Try and find one in Suffolk. Of course there is the M11, or motorway to nowhere as I prefer to call it. Dumped in Cambridge and then what? You may try the A12. Okay to Ipswich, but thereafter watch out for moving haystacks.
Not that I am complaining, business is business. But it would be nice to have the occasional lie in say, to 6 a.m.
Oh, must remember to get to bed early tonight, have to be up at 5!!!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

The show must go on.

A few days ago the coolant light on our V W Estate came on with a warning not to continue driving. The problem was clearly loss of coolant, but no indication from where, and the temperature gauge did not register a problem.
The only free time available to sort it out was Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, our regular dealer could not accommodate us but, thankfully, Martins of Camberley came to the rescue.
We scurried over on Thursday afternoon and, after a pressure test, got the news we were fearing-radiator leaking and must be replaced immediately.
By now it was around 4pm and Martins could not guarantee they could effect the repair that evening in case they hit an unforeseen problem.
What now? The guy on reception was most helpful and suggested Kendall Van Hire close by. Needless to say it was pouring with rain, but a kind lady, also on reception, drove us there. Within no time we were fitted up with a van and on our way.
Martins finished the job on Friday and we picked up the Estate Saturday morning. There was no charge as it was done under guarantee.
Now whilst this is a pretty boring story, we did have the pleasure of joining the ranks of the most hated and feared road users, albeit our van was blue and not white.
It was probably clear to those around us that we were not truly professional van drivers and that alone was sufficient to install terror in their minds.
Anyway, all ended without mishap, and our aching necks and backs have left us feeling somewhat more sympathetic towards white (and blue) van man.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Recession, what recession?

If anyone out there is looking for something before Easter I may be able to fit you in in the afternoon of 19th March, provided you are near Reading, where we have 2 shows booked for the morning. Yes, we really are that full.
Now you are probably thinking next week is half term so there's the break. Forget it! Next week we are performing "Billy Beware!" at 7 Children's Centres and "Gingerbread Man" at 3 more, all laced with a sprinkling of Drama Workshops. And, to cap it all, we are back at Blacheath Halls on the Saturday with "Robin Hood rescues the Forest".
Not that we are complaining. Actors want to act, and I want to keep paying the ever increasing bills.
Have to go now. Got to sort out the VAT!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Keeping our fingers crossed

Well we got through January mostly unscathed, despite the weather's best efforts to hinder us. But it aint all over yet!
February is threatening to be a testing month if we can believe the forecasters, and we have much travelling to do.
Bookings this coming few weeks will see us in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Bath, Bristol, the extremes of Suffolk (that's the County where the roads disappear beyond Ipswich!) and the wilds of Somerset.
But I shouln't complain as with the exception of two or three half days we are fully booked right through to Easter. Anyway that is the good news, but the downside is if we do get snowed off at any time there is no room to re-arrange this school term.
Having spent most of the weekend catching up with the paperwork I think I will take a leaf out of the Hare's book and have a snooze.
Until the next time then......

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A time to reflect

With most of England snowbound and many schools closed we are shuffling our bookings and endeavouring to re-arrange those that had to be postponed.
Amidst all this I have taken the time to look back on some of the experiences of the past couple of years.
From time to time we take on drama students for work experience placements. In the recent past Georgina, Bethany and most recently Imogen have joined us.
Whilst I like to think that we are doing our bit for the community, I have to say that we seem to gain more than we give. Each one of these young ladies has been like a breath of fresh air about the place. Apart from delighting us with their presence, they have each contributed on a day to day basis helping with the get ins etc. but more importantly with their views, opinions and suggestions. Since in terms of age they are all closer to the audience than we are their input has been extremely valuable.
Unfortunately, we can only accommodate one or two placements per year, but all you keen students out there do please get in touch as we want to hear from you.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year to all our readers

We finally finished off the Christmas fayre and celebrated the New Year and now back to work.
After the break our actors have little time to settle in for the new school term as we have bookings already for most of the first two weeks in January.
"Robin Hood Rescues the Forest" is proving to be a real winner. I suppose it is popular because it is suitable for both infant and junior ages, and environment and ecology are high on the agenda.
Lots of enquiries still coming in from nurseries and Sure Start Centres. I guess our theme plays on safety and anti-bullying hit the spot.
All this is happening before we even send out our latest mailings and emails.
Do please get in touch early if you are looking to book a "Theme Day" as whole day availability does become scarce a the year progresses.
I will finish on a polite message to Local Authorities. If we can travel 100 plus miles to reach the schools throughout the winter please don't close them because of a flurry of snow. Remember when you were kids how much you enjoyed playing snowballs in the playground.