Thursday, 21 May 2009

When we first started this course I was really excited, I wanted to create a really good project, which I was proud of as it would be the last thing I did before I finished Uni. Sometimes in life, especially mine, we put to mush pressure on getting things right that we forget what were actually doing.
I thoroughly enjoyed our work in Leicester, and actually our objective of making teacher – student relationship is one that I am very much for, as I didn’t feel that I ever got enough support at school.
The pupils at Longslade were extremely co-operative with us, as were the teachers in the drama department, however, the other teachers in the school were not very responsive to the work that we were doing. It was hard as we are not teachers, to try and fit in with them but at the same time we are not students, we were teaching them so felt quite unsure of ourselves.
The Workshops we held on storytelling and communication were brilliant, everyone worked very hard and even though we came across our problems along the way, I felt we worked hard as a team to get the desired outcome from our classes.
By delegating jobs we also gained the trust of the students. Kat was in charge of explaining what we were doing and introducing us, as well as leading the sessions. Bex explained the games and got everyone involved. I on the other hand played more of the joker part, I was used to demonstrate all the games, bringing in the fun, however my role was also to be the discipliner, having this contrast let me get the kids on my side and having fun but made them realise they couldn’t just mess around, but then we’d go straight back to play and jokes, this way I wasn’t seen as the baddy. I think these roles suited us very well and worked well.
Last night (12th May 09) we put on a storytelling fund raising evening, so we could raise money for our after show party at the school, we hope that the teachers and students will come together more. We expected about 25 people would come and support us, however 55 people tuned up and we made £110, which is amazing.
Even if nothing happens at Longslade, we enjoyed our time there and the kids enjoyed us being there!
Last night for me was the real community project and I hadn’t even thought about it, until I was sat looking at the faces, fully entertained by OUR stories! It brought a smile to my face and an energy back to my work.
There are communities all around us, choose them carefully though as they can make you who you are today!


I live in the east midland, in the city of Leicestershire, in a small village called Glenfield. I attended the local village primary school carried on to the high school and college. I hated school, mainly because I was bullied; I had grown up in my mother’s residential home, so for that reason I was much more comfortable with adult company. I was not good at school, generally outside the headmaster’s office for causing disruption to the class, I was bored in school and no teacher tried to help me. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was 17, and everything changed, I went from thinking I was stupid to knowing I just learn in a different way to others.
I live with mother and father, two fantastic people who I love dearly and are true hero’s in my eyes, Of course they’re not perfect but to me, that’s what makes them hero’s. As I’ve I have mentioned I lost my brother when I was eleven. This was a hard time and thanks to my family being so strong we got through this.
My friends have been my rocks for years, there are five of us all together who have been friends since we were about eight, we have all gone through very difficult times over the years, but we are a community, a strong one that has always been there for each other, even when I was on the other side of the world we kept in touch and they made coming home worth while.
I find it hard being the youngest sometimes, my sisters are a lot older than me, I was spoilt by them when I was younger, however, I soon was no longer the youngest when my nephew was born when I was eight. I still got a look in but all of a sudden I wasn’t centre of attention for them. On from that Sophie was born when I was eleven about six months after our loss, that was nice and then my youngest niece was born when I sixteen, there has never been time for sorrow in our family, luckily when ever something bad happens something good always happens...I think this has kept me balanced through my life as there has always been someone else to think about.
Who was I? I don’t know I think I was very confused when growing up, though I had the balance in my life, I don’t know that I actually ever knew who I was till I went travelling alone when I was nineteen. I wanted to work and find out who I was, I wanted to work with children because I am amazed by there coping mechanisms, children get on when adults crumble.

Life in India

I don’t think anything can prepare you for the poverty in India, I thought I had people living in bad conditions in Brazil and Asia but India is a complete different story. However, the colour and beauty of the place and people shines through the whole country. I worked in the Himalayas when I was there in two places, for two months I worked in a school; this was very different to Brazil.
In Brazil I had seen understanding and love from the teachers but here there was none. The teachers in Brazil played and tried to help; the teachers in India were unapproachable and hit their students. The hardest thing I witnessed in my class was a teacher coming in while I was teaching, seeing that two of my students were talking and running at them and hitting them to the floor. The children in this class were eight, this teacher was a 6ft male who was very large, the children hit the floor as I stood up and shouted “NO!” I was too late but I screamed at this man, he didn’t speak good English but by my tone it was pretty obvious of what I saying. I took both the children on my lap and gave them a hug and wiped there makes me emotional now even thinking about that day.
Another problem I came across was that one of the children , he was about 5 years old, was clearly autistic, but this is not something that is recognised yet, he was beaten everyday for stepping out of line. I asked the teachers if they knew what was wrong with him, they said that he was just stupid, that god had not smiled down on that family as the mother was similar. I have never hated religion so much. There was nothing I could do I tried to talk to them of other ways that they could possibly deal with him, but it wasn’t really my place. I started asking him to stand with me during the prayer in the morning; he would behave as long as he was with someone. This was all that I could do, it was there country, there rules and sadly that was what I was there to see and be part of, however hard it was.
My next placement was working with four other English people, in a very secluded part of India, where actually they had never seen a while person before, so imagine when six of us turned up. They were fascinated by us, how we dressed and the colour of our eyes and hair. We were being watched all the time, children would just come and watch us from the top of the hill, and it was like being on a strange version of big brother.
While there we built furniture for the ‘house’ we were living in. For my last two months in India I had no Electricity, running water or beds. We had to walk for a mile to the river to get water, which we then had to boil before we drank. We also had to boil buckets of water to wash with, but we only had four buckets, which could only be filled half way, as by the time you got back, you either had back ache or half the water had already spilt out. The bus passed through twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, so mostly we would either walk to the village which was 3 miles away, this doesn’t sound to much but when you have to carry rice, eggs, flour, potatoes and juice...its a very long way.
Though this probably all sounds horrific, it was the best two months of my life, I have never felt to alive, happy and myself. I learnt who I was from all my time travelling but I learnt the most about me when I had the least. The people were so friendly, though one of the girls and me contracted HepE whilst out there we had the most amazing time. On out last night, when all the furniture was built and the garden was finished we invited the other four houses in our village to dinner, we had a party, everyone brought some food and we sat on the floor outside with all the families and laughed and talked, though again we didn’t speak the language that was never a barrier!

Life in Australia

I was so excited about getting to Australia, an English speaking country, where if I was lost I could ask anyone and where I new what I was eating, I travelled with a girl I met , the whole of the east coast, it was amazing I saw some amazing sights and did some terrifying things.
The communities were very similar to those in England, the cities were busy and no one has time for anyone. But I got myself a job working on a ranch, in the out back, as a cow just has to be done. I was picked up in a big car by a lovely lady. I soon lost my signal and was travelling through the rolling country side. We travelled away from civilisation for about 2 hours! Soon we came to the ranch, by itself in the middle of nowhere.
I was woken at five in the morning to start work; I have never worked so hard in all my life! I was up every morning at 5am, “work doesn’t stop just because its the weekend here!” Barry said. We would ride the horse for about 6hours in the morning herding cattle up the mountains, sounds easy!
In the afternoon once or twice a week would ride up to some friends of the families, with all the dogs, for lunch. Sometimes they would come to us. It was lovely, everything homemade and home grown.
The only thing I did find different was that, men and women do the same work; you have to learn to be good quick, anything you don’t know you practise. You learn a different way to carry something if you find it too heavy. The girls are one of the men, no excuses. I found my body being pushed to it limits. Riding a horse free handed and guiding it with my feet is not something I was used to, I learnt how to lasso too.
The people who live here, live together and built there community together. Nothing is too much trouble and everyone knows everyone.

Life in Brazil

When I was in Brazil I spent most of my time in a place called Florianopolis, I lived with a Brazilian family and worked at a school in a Favella (slum). The family’s daughter spoke good English but no one in the family spoke a word of English, and when I first arrived there I didn’t speak a word of Portuguese. However, this didn’t stop us getting on and using body language and sign to understand each other.
I worked in the school all week and then spent my weekends exploring with the other English people that worked at the school with me. These people became not only my friends but my family, we would sometimes call each other just to hear someone speak and not have to concentrate, and you tend to find yourself with a headache from trying to concentrate so hard at understanding people.
I remember watching an episode of Mr Bean whilst away, and even though he doesn’t actually speak in his sketches, I was comforted knowing that he was English and when he coughed, sounds stupid, but I knew it was an English cough! This whole time made me realise how well we communicate with each other and how well it doesn’t matter what community you’re from there is no divide unless you let there be.
Working in the school really opened my eyes to a world I had not seen before, I’m not sure that many people by the age of 19 can say they have worked with drug lords children in Brazil.
The community there is very strange as on the maps the places where these favella’s are, are actually not even marked but look like they might be a field or something. The police don’t drive there at all, and when they do it’s generally with bullet proof cars (strange).
The actually community that they live in however, is very protective of each other and each others children, they were more than happy for us to be working there as they saw that we only wanted to help. We did have to make sure we wore our t-shirts though, so they didn’t shoot us...needless to say I felt like attaching mine to my skin! The only time the community was disturbed was if a family fell out with another. One of the teachers would say how terrible it was in the evenings; as you would often hear gun shots through the night...can you imagine that!
While I was there I was lucky enough to see a drugs run, we had gone to the shops with some children to get some milk and rice for lunch, it was the children that stopped us crossing the road again and told us what was happening, basically on the tops of roofs set all over the favella were boys about 16 years sitting down, but one was standing. Then one by one they stood up and sat down, where ever the one stood was, was where the cocaine was being taken to, next we saw the police, heard a gun shot and then all the boys got down and the next thing we saw was a black car pulling at 100mph out of one of the back roads followed by another three cars all the same going in different directions. This was the scariest and most amazing thing I have ever seen.
To think that it was 9 and 12 year old children looking after us was surreal, we were there to teach and look after them not the other way round, it just showed me the kind of world there is out there and how others live. It made me understand why these children hardly showed any emotion towards violence at school and why many of them became so violent towards the others so quickly. In my time there the trust and bond between the children and me grew and the day I left, was one of the hardest ever.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


I have been informed that some first years did attend the story telling evening.

I am not going to take back what i said before as i do feel upset that there was not more support across the board, including teachers however, i do know that this is a very stressful time, however i am glad that the people who came did enjoy the evening...we have had some brilliant feedback.

I was commenting more on the community within a university setting, I know that as a department we work possibly the most closely, i like this. I also like to feel that everyone is supporting each other.

The new degree has changed things, even when talking to first years they feel it, i have the contrast in the warm ups, the physical theatre want to be physical, the applied theatre want to focus more on drama and the drama seem happy with a mixture, this make it very hard when going into a class and trying to think of a warm up that suites everyone.

So to the the first years that came thank you very much for your support, you were clearly mixed in with the rest of the rabble.

Thanks again to all who supported.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The sound of laughter

Firstly thanks to all who attended our storytelling evening last night, we were overwhelmed by the amount of support that we received.
We made £110 in the end, which is amazing, as we our minimum we wanted to make was £40, so you can imagine how thrilled we were.

Last night, for those who didn't get to see it, was an evening Bex, Kat and myself put together to raise money for out Drama in The Community project.

We wanted it to start out like a fairytale story and then change into our personal stories, all the stories had a meaning and a moral, some were funny and some were emotional, but i personally felt that they were all really thought provoking.

I was so nervous when it came to my piece, what if people didn't laugh? Luckily-they did. I thought how nice it was to see everyone laughing, at this moment in time we are all so tired and stressed but for one hour last night, i felt that everyone forgot there problems came together as a group of people and laughed.

I did however think this morning that i didn't see one first year there, this was upsetting, in all my years at St Marys i have always supported all the performances and think its a shame that there is a clear divide between the first years and the second and third years mainly because of the degree change but they just don't seem to have got on with us this year. Maybe its just me.

Any how i really enjoyed performing last night, and that's thanks to all that attended for making it such a good night.