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Super Summer Schools and Wonderful Work Placements

This blog was written by James Bailey who was with Trestle on a work placement from the 2nd year of his Community Theatre degree at East 15 Acting School. We’ve loved having James on board and can’t wait to hear his thoughts on our Summer School.

Friday 14th August marked the end of Trestle’s Summer School workshops and after a week of hard work we gathered in the theatre to share what we had created. The younger group took us on an adventure around the world, inspired by some of Trestle’s international partnerships. The performance started in Spain with an energetic flamenco dance, complete with fans the children had made themselves. We were then quickly whisked away to India and told the story of a hungry crocodile and the cheeky monkey who outsmarted him. The final stop of the show was Africa, where we were treated to a Congolese folk song played on the children’s own handmade African drums. Although I didn’t work closely with the younger group this week, it was always great to get a taste of their energy and enthusiasm at lunch time and this energy was very clearly on display in their showing.

After a delightful trip around the real world, it was time for the older group to take us to an alternate world; a world where children are in charge! Through some fantastic mask work, we were shown the wonders of a world where there are theme-parks on every corner, sweet shops aplenty and it’s illegal for parents to tell children off. However, soon the cracks began to show in this world: the theme parks all break down, everyone is ill from eating too many sweets, and children who were never told off have grown into adults who have no idea how the world works. Eventually the Party Party (this world’s government) decide that they need to focus on things that will actually help everyone, like better train infrastructure, more electric cars and a bigger focus on healthy food in shops.

This week has been such an eye-opening and creative experience for me and it was the perfect way to spend the second week of my drama school work placement. Whilst working with the older group it was great to see how they all individually responded to the workshops and games we’d planned (a particular favourite being “Wolves”, I’ve never played so many rounds of that game in such a short space of time!). Over the course of the week, the group’s mask and drama skills improved immensely and we created and played with some very interesting characters, from evil witches to rebellious children. However, It wasn’t all fun and games, and what will stay with me most after this week were the mature and insightful conversations we had about the theme “If I Ruled the World”. All the ideas used in the final performance came directly from those conversations with the young performers and they managed to create a great performance that showed the repercussions of the fun policies of their ideal world and ended with solutions that would actually help everyone in the long run.

Finally, thank you to everyone who took part and made the summer school such a memorable experience. We hope you had as much fun as we did! 

For more information on upcoming projects with young people at Trestle Arts Base please go to