Monday 27 April 2020

During Liberation 60, back in 2005, our theatre-in-education play was called ‘Secret Weapons’ (revived in 2016) and told the Occupation story of the Island from the perspective of three children, their class teacher, a German soldier and two Russian slave workers. Vassiliy and Feo are brothers but in scene 10 the younger brother dies.

Whilst writing the play we knew we needed something special for the Lament, the obituary, the tribute to Feo and so we commissioned a poem for this scene from Jacqueline Mézec. Jackie used a small piece from Maistre Wace’s writing as inspiration. We have attached the poem here for your perusal and interest; it resonates greatly in this time in which we live…

Lament for Feo

[Image: The SECRET WEAPONS Theatre-in-Education Company (the potatoes) / Mont Nicolle Primary School / 10 March 2016]

 

Monday 20 April 2020

Daniel Austin, Jersey Arts Centre Director, writes:

“Way back in the spring of 2013, Jersey Arts Centre toured a theatre-in-education piece around our primary schools about the gifting of the Royal Mace by Charles II to the Island in 1663. The play explored Island identity, sovereignty and loyalty, or not, of Islanders during the Interregnum: the period between 1649 and 1660 when the Monarchy was abolished/interrupted by Parliament.

In developing the play, we delivered a series of practical workshops in schools to discover young people’s perceptions and experiences of living in Jersey. As a result, we created: Scene 5 – The Land, the Sea and the People.

And, apart from the ice-creams given to all members of the audience at the end of the show (and it’s a nightmare touring ice-creams: trust me!), this was my favourite scene!

We have attached the scene here for your enjoyment:

The Book of Kingdoms – Scene 5

 

Monday 6 April 2020

Daniel Austin, Jersey Arts Centre Director, writes that:

In autumn 2014, Jersey Arts Centre toured ‘The Great Warrior’ around primary schools which explored war, conflict resolution and peace. The play formed part of a larger Island programme marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. In episode 7: The Palace of Peace, one of the children puts forward a way of rethinking war and thus advocating for peace:

“[The following might almost be a political speech] But… what happens if we re-think it? And imagine that the white flag just means ‘stop’. I want to stop – and I know you want to stop.[PAUSE] So let’s stop. I don’t like this – and I know you don’t like it. I don’t want to die – and I know that you don’t want to die. Let’s talk about this. This disagreement – this bloody war – and decide how we can solve our disagreements, and move forward. Let’s talk about what I did wrong and what you did wrong and let us agree that we both did wrong. And then let us decide how to do something right. Let’s sit down – with tea and cake – and decide what we now need to do, to do right: to do right for the land and right for the people. ‘It is senseless to fight when you cannot hope to win.’ [Apache]

Dying is not winning! Being killed is not winning!”

‘The Great Warrior’ also toured to St. Helier’s twin town of Bad Wurzach in January 2015.

 

Friday 3 April 2020

Daniel Austin, Jersey Arts Centre Director, writes that:

“We had the most incredible time back in 2006/7 adapting, rehearsing and staging Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’ and touring around all our primary schools. We were even fortunate to have Dr Lee Durrell and Colin along for the experience as consultants, friends, and adventurers! We ended up delivering 62 performances throughout the year and telling the story to 5,796 people, including some in Guernsey, Sark and on the Ionian island of Corfu. Our ‘sojourn’ in Corfu in April and May 2007 was perhaps the most idyllic time I have spent in the theatre, and it was just so wonderful to be travelling, too. It was even commented on that it was actually like having the real Durrells back in Corfu because the experience was so eccentric! I was fortunate to have had an incredible team of storytellers and crew on the tour: the children who performed in the piece as Roger the Dog and the young Gerald Durrell are all grown up now and leading wonderful lives! One of the scenes which I always enjoyed watching was the one with the ‘magenpies’ so we have attached it here for your perusal and enjoyment; it’s only a page long and we hope that it will inspire you to pick up Gerry’s book and read it (again!).”

MFAOA – Scene 13 – The Magenpie Chaos

 

Jersey Arts Centre created a Theatre-in-Education Company in 2004 for the 1204-2004 Jersey and the Crown Celebrations. It has since commissioned, produced and toured 7 major projects.

And there is an 8th planned as part of the Liberation 75 initiatives for later this year/possibly next! Watch this space for a future announcement.

In the meantime, here are some of our incredible statistics from past projects.

There have been 398 performances with 21,436 attendances at the following:

 

  • 2016 > SECRET WEAPONS (revival) by Daniel Austin
  • In association with the Association of Jersey Charities and One Foundation
  • 34 performances with 2,145 attendances

 

  • 2014 > THE GREAT WARRIOR by Daniel Austin
  • In association with One Foundation and the Association of Jersey Charities
  • And the WW1 Centenary (1914-1918) Working Group, Jersey
  • 31 performances with 2,106 attendances

 

  •  2013 > THE BOOK OF KINGDOMS by Daniel Austin
  • In association with One Foundation and the Association of Jersey Charities
  • Commissioned as part of  the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Mace
  • 27 performances with 1,707 attendances

 

  • 2009 > MY FAMILY AND OTHER STORIES by Gerald Durrell
  • In association with Durrell Wildlife / Sponsored by: Jersey Tourism
  • Commissioned as part of Durrell’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations
  • 158 twenty-minute performances with 3,721 attendances

 

  • 2007 > MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS by Gerald Durrell
  • In association with Education, Sport and Culture / Sponsored by: NatWest
  • Commissioned as part of the 50th Anniversary of the publication of the book
  • 62 performances with 5,796 attendances

 

  • 2005 > SECRET WEAPONS by Daniel Austin
  • In association with Education, Sport and Culture / Sponsored by: HSBC
  • Commissioned as part of the Liberation 60 Celebrations
  • 48 performances with 3,648 attendances

 

  • 2004 > ONCE UPON AN ISLAND… by Brendan Murray
  • In association with Education, Sport and Culture
  • Commissioned as part of the 1204-2004 Jersey & the Crown Celebrations
  • 38 performances with 2,313 attendances

 

The plays have toured to Jersey’s primary schools, some secondary schools, Guernsey, Sark, Bad Wurzach (Germany) and the Ionian island of Corfu.

The 2009 project was a series of six, site-sensitive dramatisations, adapted from Gerald Durrell’s novels, performing alfresco at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The 2016 Occupation project toured Jersey’s primary schools January and March in 2016. There were 34 performances including 3 public at the Assembly Room, St. Helier Town Hall (16-18 February-during half term).

[Image: The SECRET WEAPONS Theatre-in-Education Company (the potatoes) / Mont Nicolle Primary School / 10 March 2016]