Our Voice: Me+You Goes North!
Inspired by this mornings visit to Bristol Free School with the production Me+You=4Eva, our fantastic tour Actor and Workshop Leader, Sarah Fullagar, takes this opportunity to truly reflect on the production. Looking at what it must mean to those who witness and participate in each school visit.
Today saw the start of our North tour of Me+You=4eva. One of the things that I have always loved about both performing this show and leading the accompanying workshops its continual development and changeability. It is such a luxury to have the ability to continue to improve the workshop in particular so that the children get the best possible experience.
I suppose this happens for a couple of reasons. Firstly, every school is different; and it’s usually possible to get a feel for the school whilst the chidren are watching the show. In my role as Becky I have the privilege of being able to take in the audience responses intermittently through the show.
It’s great to be able to witness their individual reactions as the play unfolds, to see perhaps their empathy towards Jess, or their confusion and unease as Joe becomes more controlling as the story unfolds.
All of this, paired with the responses they give in the initial discussion in the workshop helps me to gauge how to pitch the session. It never fails to amaze me when I see the wide and varying maturity among years 7 and 8 in particular. Quite simply, to pitch the workshop in the same way each time simply wouldn’t work, but by subtly tweaking exercises or the delivery of them here and there the workshop stays fresher, becomes even more relevant and relatable for the children, and certainly keeps me on my toes!
Despite this project ultimately being about healthy relationships, one of the other central messages is definitely working to encourage these young people to embrace their individuality; their quirks, their own opinions and to respect differences among others.
Any school environment can be so rife in pressures to conform to others ideas of ‘cool’, be it related to hobbies, friendship groups, appearance or relationships. I can’t stress how important I think this message is. It worries me sometimes how many young people seem so unsure of their own identity, their own opinions and their own value.
Ultimately what it comes down to is self esteem, under all the specifics of this work, we ultimately need to be encouraging these young people to value themselves enough to put their foot down if they find themselves in a controlling relationship. Unless they believe that they are worth something just by being themselves, they are unlikely to find the courage to stand up for themselves if unhealthy relationships develop.
I have never taught a child who hasn’t shown some level of individual and unique brilliance. Be it in their talent, their personality, their sensitivity, their energy or their intelligence.
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