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December/January 2024

Alright peeps! Sorry for the delay. The run up to Christmas was as busy as ever with end of term fair and productions. I even took part in my class production of the Grinch, complete with top hat and dodgy American accent. I really enjoy helping to organise and take part in things like that. And the more 'old school' the better. Making backdrops, crafting props out of cardboard like they used to on Blue Peter (sticky-back plastic is a no-no these days!) We even took the students to old charity shops to get vintage clothes which we upscaled and turned into their costumes. Like I said, the more 'old school' the better. It’s all those little touches that make these things. For me, when we finally hung up our red curtain that we had been busy making in ‘D and T' and transformed the room instantly – I suddenly felt like we were the WW1 soldiers in Jump2 , recovering in Craiglockhart Hospital from the horrors of war and losing themselves in the timeless escapism of a ‘production.’ I like that word. It’s better than ‘just’ a play. Something more. All hands to the pump. Like they used to. And backstage. Behind the curtain. Waiting for the last person to take their seat. Children’s faces. Lost in the moment. Lost in time.

Two other highlights from our productions were the following: we had a great and random sound effect which was basically a voice calling out the timeless Christmas message,

“Cashier no 5!”

 I have always had a thing about cashiers from Lloyds Bank from the 1970s. (Sian: seriously!🙄) . No, not in a weird way. Honest. But you know. That sort of thing. (Sian: No, I don’t 🤷🏼‍♀️). I can see her now. Reliable. Pretty. But doesn’t know it. Quietly efficient, her till always balanced. Hair like Farrah Fawcett. Ah well. Moving on. (Sian: for the love of God, please do!🙏). Anyway, I loved that sound effect. After everyone had gone. I kept playing it on the PA system. Booming out. across the empty stage. 

“Cashier No 5.” 

Maybe if the Jump! series takes off, I can plough some of the profit into my own perfume.

Cashier No 5. The latest fragrance from The House of Nolan.

Sorry. Where was I? (Sian: God knows, not this planet...

Yes, my next favourite memory of this year’s production was our snow machine! We ‘ve never used one before. And we didn’t tell the cast about it. Not until the production finale when the merry tones of Shakey’s Merry Christmas Everyone.” started to fill the air. It was another proper moment and reminded me of the halcyon Saturday morning days of Tiswas. Good times. Then and now.

One of my favourite things to teach is Shakespeare. And moreover I like nothing better than to introduce a hesitant, suspicious  learner (I have taught lots of those!) to the bustling , sensory overload of a Tudor theatre. Not that I have ever been to one. To my knowledge. But as I try to immerse myself into the heaving mass of the Globe theatre and feel the beery fumes and  stagnant odours  almost overcoming me. Well, I feel like I am there. Like I have been there. He was a busy man. Old Shakey! (Sian: Impressed you managed to shoehorn 2 different Shakeys in the same blog!)

That reminds me. Lost in the  expectant mass of  theatre goers  that drunkenly snaked its way along  the banks of the Thames, I stand and wait my turn. This according to the word. And the word was king. In these days. This was to be his best yet. Even canons. So they said.  Maybe it would even be his last. But surely not. And as I edged ever closer through the smoke filled street and felt my feet sinking in the straw strewn pathway and looked up at the sprawling majesty of the Globe theatre that now dominated the London skyline. As I excitedly neared ever closer to the bustling entrance to the box office. Now. Tantalisingly near . I heard a voice.

“Cashier No 5!” 

In other news, January has been a busy one. I have been working closely with Ted, our Editor. 

Ted the Ed has been a great addition to the whole project and brings a calm and measured pair of eyes to proceedings, which is good for me! As sometimes I feel I lack a little of both…..

I have also been busy trying to make cinematic  masterpieces for Tik Tok. I am still learning  and I am trying my best. No cannons as yet or even canons.

But I have kicked a squash club bin so hard that it is now orbiting the Earth. To the dulcet tones of Lisa Stansfield.

You may want to check that one out!

Until the next time.

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