Sunday, 4 December 2011

A fillip for when one is feeling down

Every once in a while I wonder if it is all worthwhile. I know the kids love what we do, and that gives me a real buzz. Also, we get great feedback from teachers.
So now you are wondering what this is all about.
Well the clue is in the title "Theatre in Education". This is what we do. We aid in the education process by making the learning enjoyable.
Okay, so what is the problem? You ask.
Put simply, I have to wonder if the education system to which we contribute is really working.
On average I receive sixty emails a year from students studying the many aspects of theatre. I reply to them all with a standard document I have written that covers just about everything they are likely to need to know.
Whilst they are invariably polite enquiries, I am so often appalled by the poor spelling, punctuation, lack of correct English grammar, and the inability to construct sentences.
So what a breath of fresh air it was to hear from Rosie, and receive the following "thank you" for my response.

"Hello Albert,
Thank you so much for taking the time out to read and reply to my email. It is much appreciated - I understand that you have plenty of work to do!
I did read up on your fantastic company before writing to you, and I noted that you only perform for children up to 12. However, I decided to include you in my mailing list, because although our piece has been aimed at years 10 and 11, at some schools our audience has been as young as year 7. Thus, the follow up workshops we do next year are occasionally going to be for 11/12 year olds. I apologise that I did not explain this in my previous email; it was only because it was sent out to various companies at once. I am so pleased that you have got back to me, as I am going to have to be even more adaptable in my workshops now due to the unplanned varying age range - as I'm sure you know, 11 year olds and 16 year olds are worlds apart! Your guidance will be very helpful in this respect.
Many thanks also for your offer to attend one of your performances - I would love to take you up on it. Although, currently I am working with secondary schools, when I graduate from university I hope I am fortunate enough to have a career working with younger students in primary schools. They are where my real passion lies so it would be wonderful to gain some first hand experience. In the third term this year, I complete a 6 week placement and again I am looking to work with a younger audience!
Once again, thank you for your time and advice.
Kind regards,

Students, I hope I have made my point.

Until next time have a wonderful festive season.


Friday, 18 November 2011


Ah! This is the life; sitting on a horse contemplating the next scene of my new play.
'Timeline', a study of history through the ages, is to be launched in Spring 2012. The calm before the storm!
Not an easy task ahead of me writing a play with only one actor portraying so many interesting and relevant characters from Stone Age to Modern day. Tommy Cooper and the hats comes to mind! Now there was a talent. It does mean I get a chance to do my Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy impersonations though: not easy to practice those on a horse mind!
What's next...ah! The music and sound effects. This is the fun part and, of course, looking for props. Yes, the body parts for the Tudor section in the play are the bits I'm looking forward to finding. But, if I fall off this horse I may not need to go looking for quite so many!
So far I have written 23 pages, and this is supposed to be an hour long!
Page 24 beckons, so must go.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Not much of a Summer!

Is it really all over? Or are we still waiting for it to arrive?
Well, at least the actors did not complain bitterly about the heat when they were performing. A good thing really since TIE is so physical.

Sadly, we heard no more from Lara following her work experience spell with us. We had rather hoped she would write a review on one of our plays, and perhaps a blog we could publish. Still, she said it was enjoyable and worthwhile.

Now the run up to Christmas. I would urge those wishing to book us to get in early as we are filling very rapidly. Also, "Book Week" next March is also very popular.

Not anything more to say at present, but I shall be back when the new school year is in full swing. In the meantime, commiserations to those theatre companies that have fallen by the wayside. I know how you all must feel. It does not look too bright for any of us whilst the financial crisis continues.

On this bright note....


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Summer nearly gone....

What summer you ask. Yes, I take your point. But it is not all bad news.
The best bit is that Laurie just cannot bear to leave us and has signed on for another school year.
So all you lucky kids will again be entertained and, hopefully, learn something from our delightful duo of Laurie and Caroline.
Just to remind you, as if you could forget, here are their smiling faces.
Work is in progress on our new production "TIMELINE", a study of history through the ages, and all being well we hope to launch it in January 2012. This is a play to be performed by one actor taking on a multitude of roles, and engaging the children in the performance. My thanks to those who have already reserved a booking, and I look forward to many others joining their ranks.
I must tell you about Lara. She joined us in July for a few days as part of her work experience. It was a pleasure to have her on board and, as with the many others we have helped, we look forward to keeping in touch and hearing how she gets on. Who knows, she may even join us one day if acting becomes her chosen path.
Back soon....

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Have I really been away since February? If only!
No, it has just been one of those hectic times when everything else took precedence.
We had our busiest term ever in the run up to Easter, and then I got busy with the mailings for the Summer term: followed by the annual recruitment of new actors.
The news on this front is both happy and sad.
We are delighted that Caroline is staying for another spell, but sorry to be losing Laurie at the end of this school year.
I do have to admit to some foreboding with all the bad news about cut backs, especially to schools. However, it seems my worst fears have yet to be realised and, in fact, bookings are actually up on the last few years. I can only put this down to the extensive campaign we have run to combat the financial crisis, and the realisation by schools that it is far more cost effective to have us in than taking the kids out,sad as that may be.
Other news is that Karen is in the process of writing a new play, and she has also written a book she hopes to have published soon.
More news on these two fronts when I next write. I promise it will not be as long a wait as this time.
Until then....

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Spring is on the way

Just one more month and I reckon we are through it, in the South anyway. We can handle just about any kind of climate, but the schools are something else. In my day it was great fun watching the teachers crossing the playground and going base over apex on an icy slide hidden under a dusting of snow. I guess today there would be writs flying in all directions, but I doubt kids are allowed to make slides for fear of having a good time.
A teacher said last week "I bet you are looking forward to a restful half term break". If they only knew! We are just as busy with all kinds of events going on. Holidays are not for us, too many bills to pay.
March will be our busiest month ever with 55 performances booked already, and just a very few half days to fill.
If this rain ever stops I may get to bathe the dogs.
Time to stop rambling on and make the tea.
Until next time....

Monday, 10 January 2011

Snow and ice and MORE?

Hi and Happy New Year to both my readers. Just kidding, I hope!
Anyway, take a look at our two sparkling new actresses, Laurie on the left and Caroline next to her. They have settled in really well and are enjoying being with us, or so they say!
By some miracle we got to the end of 2010 with only one cancellation, and that was re-booked.
2011 has started off well despite all the foreboding about school budget cuts. If you cannot afford the trips out then I say "bring the mountain to Mohammed". It is far less costly for us to visit the school, probably less than the coach fare alone.
Think also of the other advantages; a safe and secure environment, no need to count the kids every few yards, and doesn't take up the whole day, Sadly, I am told the freebies for the staff no longer exist; hardly surprising when "'elf and safety" requires nearly as many teachers and helpers as there are children!
Oh well, I guess that's life.
See you again soon.....