Good Bye Bugsy

Hooray for technology! I have a phone again! It is officially up and running- after a lot of pain trying to APP/CID unlock it, I just hard-reset, and second time round it worked fine, it’s all unlocked (inlc SIM) and windows 6.1’d up now, so I am content :-) I am currently transferring music on there- got an 8gb micro SD card to fill up with exciting things, then all I need do is set up the push mail and I’m good to go! It feels SO much better to be part of the world again, rather than passing through.

My time at work this week was really excellent- I revisited two schools in Smethwick for the culmination of their work on The Corner Shop Project. The kids had visited their local high street, then invited guests, interviewed and archived what they gleaned, and then created site-specific (around their schools) performances, which involved shadow puppetry, food tasting, ghost stories, and walking back into the past of Smethwick’s high street. Some amazing and so eloquent responses from 9 and 10 year olds, amazing stuff. Particularly valuable was seeing the nuts and bolts of the work- all the thought behind it on the part of the people running the show… and finally, the difference it made in the kids, in one school, there was a pupil from Russia and a pupil from Iraq, neither of whom spoke english very well, and neither of whom had ever been to school. Likewise in the other school there was a little polish girl who did not speak very good english, and a boy who could barely read and was official ‘class joker’ because it was the only way he could deal with having no friends. I am wary of being too idealistic about ‘the power of drama’ but seeing these kids, and the changes wrought in them was almost overwhelming. The children who had felt outsiders, were suddenly part of a group effort, they had made friends, talked fluently and understood each other, the little boy who had felt so outside his peers had made friends and (according to his teacher) his studies had improved immeasurably. They all spoke so meaningfully about the project, and how it had brought them together, how it had made them feel, it was a really moving experience.

Now I know that schools and education is very difficult territory, the national curriculum must be a nightmare to preside over, and to provide a national service at the same time as being able to cater for millions of individuals? Horrible. But we all know how important some things can be- that extra special teacher that supports and pushes you, that lecturer who took the time to make you feel like you really did have potential. I believe that theatre, in a very special way can make kids feel similarly- an awareness of yourself as construct, of your body and your movement and the signs you give off, the chance to try and understand others’ lives, theatre can help show us that we are all amazing, we are all individual, and that we are all part of this… and I think that somehow, a more concrete provision for challenging and different theatre needs to muscle in on the time dedicated to yet another production of ‘bugsy malone’ or ‘high school musical’ in our schools.

Taking my hippy hat off now, there, it’s gone. In a nutshell, I think the idea solidifying in my mind is that my next big piece, after the thesis play, and a new piece for radio, will very definitely be a piece for young people… so watch this space for emerging ideas.

In other news, I have entirely avoided any work on my AI piece due the end of this month… and I’m probably losing hope on that… we’ll see. Fixing and sorting my technology has gotten in the way. I shall redouble efforts, and try and fix something in time for the end of July.

Right, teatime methinks…

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