I've just come back from Strathmore Special Needs school in Petersham, where our second year Theatre in Education students have been working for the last few weeks. We've been building up contacts and working partnerships with many of the schools in Richmond and it's always enjoyable to go and see the students working with the children.
It's the first time I've been to Strathmore and I'm delighted to hear from their team that the project's gone well, with our students really prepared to take on board the advice and guidance of the specialist teachers over there ... (The first workshop session was apparently a bit of a nightmare, but to everybodies credit and perseverance things have really turned around.)
The theme of the work has been the Cinderella story and today, in the final session, the children help the fairy godmother, played by workshop leader Emily to prepare for her wedding to the handsome Prince. This includes playing percussion instruments, waving flags, throwing confetti and dancing. It's a highly effective and direct way into an hour of multi sensory play and a very rewarding way to end the year.
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.