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Outreach News - November and December 2011

After recovering from the Young Company’s triumphant production of Clodly, brilliantly written and directed by Ade Morris, we’re heading towards the end of term and looking forward to seeing what all our other youth theatre groups have been up to.

This term we have 178 people visiting The Watermill each week to take part.  The Senior Youth Theatre are thinking about casting for their production next term – Writers’ Block – the  Associate Youth Theatre and Junior Youth Theatre are busy practicing for end of term demonstrations, and the Memory Lane gang have something slightly bigger up their sleeves.

Memory Lane is an intergenerational project involving 12 members of our youth theatre and 8 adults from a sheltered housing block in Thatcham. The adults have been talking to the young people about their lives, and now the youngsters are busy rehearsing a short play that they will perform back to them at the end of November. We’re hoping some of the adults can be persuaded to perform as well! Led by The Watermill’s brilliant Trainee Director, Clive Judd, with help from the marvellous Julie Loisin, we’re running around fetching costumes and trying to source a few props for them in the run up to the big day.

Every Thursday morning, for the last six weeks or so, our regular facilitator Sarah Perugia (Waterminis / JYT) has been working with jobseekers to hone their interview skills. In a project funded by West Berkshire council, and working with Careers Springboard West Berkshire, we are running these free weekly sessions until July.  Sarah works to improve the jobseekers’ communication skills, presentations, preparation, and give a general confidence boost before the big event. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that jobs come rolling in for them soon.

Meanwhile our Outreach Assistant, Heidi, is busy preparing for the Excel Project. Students from Trinity School will be writing and directing five short plays for children from five local primary schools (Robert Sandilands, Firtree, Shaw, Winchcombe, and Speenhamland) to perform in March. The Trinity students are about to have their first writing and directing workshops, and then next term rehearsals begin.

Heidi is also running Encore, our new drama group for older people no longer in full time work, on a Monday afternoon. They’ve already settled in brilliantly and we love having them. What with Encore and Waterminis, our toddler group, we are starting feel like we really do cater for all ages here at The Watermill.

November means it’s time for the annual Police drama project: students write and perform a play about an important topic, the plays are judged and the winners receive a cash prize. These plays are always brilliant and have had me in tears many a time. We’re delighted to be invited back as judges and Heidi and I are looking forward to visiting Theale Green, John O’Gaunt, Trinity, Kennet, The Downs, Park House, Denefield and Little Heath.

Finally, our new education brochures for schools, one each for Primary and Secondary Schools, have been printed.  This is probably of no interest to anybody else, but I find them so damn exciting that I’ve been taking them home and gazing at them in awe before bed each night. Honestly, they are a work of art! Alright, I know.  I need to get out more.

Beth Flintoff.