Monthly Archives: August 2012

With many thanks


My heartfelt thanks to Leanne at for nominating me for the Lovely Blog Award and Reader Appreciation Award.  Leanne’s blog is wonderful.

I am new to blogging and have learnt a lot and enjoyed reading many other blogs; I’m grateful for the support from other bloggers and to know that there are others interested in the things that interest me.

Here goes for 7 facts about me:

1) I love music (all styles) and play violin in an orchestra, and piano and oboe privately.

2) I really enjoy singing in a choir.

3) I love animals.

4) I love the theatre – plays and musicals alike.

5) I love the British countryside, I do like the north of England and Scotland particularly.

6) I have enjoyed exploring the USA over recent years; I love Oregon.

7) I spent some time in Poland and Ghana in 2003 and 2004; it was an emotional journey which I find hard to put down on paper.

There are so many super blogs out there – here are some of the ones that I think are excellent – http://

























I finish the post with a picture of Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland – one of my favourite places.  I recommend swimming in the sea here – though it is cold it makes you feel alive…


A Drama group that radiates more than just Theatricality


Radius welcomes people seeking to explore spiritual, social and ethical issues through drama.  As a forum for discussion it encourages a relationship between theatre and faith within contemporary culture and promotes plays that throw light on the human condition.  Radius offers scripts for performance, an assessment service for new plays, a series of study guides, a magazine and a programme of workshops.  Radius is interested in all art forms, whether or not the form articulates a religious theme; and even if it does that theme may not be explicit.

Radius was founded in 1929 and is a registered charity (charity number 214943).  If you are at all interested, do visit the website for The Religious Drama Society of Great Britain, Radius.

Most meaning in life is implicit…Radius helps search for it.

It’s not all about the winners


It’s dispiriting to know that UK Sport will only fund the sports in this country which are likely to produce medals in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  What does that say other than ‘in life, you will be supported and congratulated if you are a winner.  If you try your best but are not ‘the best’, then tough.’

Anyway, how do you assess ‘the best’?  To me, being the best is being the best you can be as yourself.  The division between losing and winning is crude and dangerous – if the government are not careful, Sport will become so competative in schools that you’ll get children believing that because they don’t win, they are not worth anything.

Mo Farah has the right idea.  He’s used his high profile status to alert the UK government to the growing hunger in Africa…one winner highlighting the plight of millions in the world who are far from winning their battle.  And they cannot win because the race they have is against climate change and war – elements far greater than them.

So, before we go too far in saying how everyone can control their destiny and that hard work will pay off in the end, for many it will but Mo would be the first to say that had it not been for people around him encouraging him to be the best he could be, he would not be a winner.  Let’s get that part right first – millions of people in the world will not win their battle with life but it would be good if the governments of the world can manage a silver or gold medal in compassion, and not focus solely on those who don’t struggle.

Finding Ourselves in The Other… via The Olympics


It’s taken me a while to sum up my thoughts about the ‘Olympic experience’ but there is something about the shapes projected throughout these Games.  They were all inclusive and made one feel embraced – apart from the fact that the Games did embrace by their very nature.  The Closing Ceremony in particular produced very welcoming, awesome shapes on Sunday night – from the towering figure of the Phoenix that hovered over the descending Flame:

….to the athletes collected within the triangles of the GB flag which lit the stadium floor:

…to the fireworks at both ceremonies which warmly embraced, and to the athletes themselves displayed on various posters:

There’s been much said about the Olympics – most of it positive and this it deserves.  It does feel as though there is a different…don’t know the word…air, over London, as if the rings and their power is within our midst.  I don’t know if that feeling will remain, but it is worth remembering that unity which embraces difference, in a variety of ways, can exist.

The Courage To Be Who You Are


I saw two plays recently called ‘South Downs’ by David Hare and ‘The Browning Version’ by Terrence Rattigan.  Both are linked (the Hare was shown in act 1 and the Rattigan was in act 2) so although separate, they are shown as one.

South Downs is about a boy’s experience at boarding school in the 1960’s.  The boy feels himself an outsider and the play explores the balance we have to strike as humans, in life, to fit in and ‘play ball’ with our fellow human beings, but to also stand alone and stand up for what we believe and be who we are.  Blakemore, the boy, says: ‘I don’t like me…but it’s the character I’ve been given, and I can’t do anything about it.’

The superb Alex Lawther as John Blakemore

Through an act of kindness from a fellow pupil’s mother, Belinda, the boy’s situation is understood.  She empathises with his concealed inner life and as an actress, talks about how life involves acting as much off stage as it does on, at times.  It is the individual’s negotiation between being true to him or herself but at the same time being able to integrate enough to make the world try to see you as you are.

The excellent Anna Chancellor as Belinda

The Browning Version is about a retiring Headmaster who is ‘out of fashion’ with his wife and his school, from which he is about to retire.  He and his wife (played by Anna Chancellor again) are mis-matched in love – they each need a different kind of love although, Millie has a malicious tongue and does nothing to try to understand her husband.

Like Blakemore in South Downs, Headmaster Andrew Crocker-Harris has a personality and style that are not seen as important or given credit to, by others.  Crocker-Harris is less able to integrate into life (as you feel Blakemore is) and the price he pays for that is a high one.  He is mocked and sidelined – a position he lives with and humbly accepts – which is the tragedy of his life.  He is given a book by one of his pupils as a leaving gift but is later told by his wife that the same student laughed about him behind his back – the sad fact being, the student did but without the malice Millie said he did it with.  So, the person closest to the Headmaster (his wife) dashes even this one hopeful event in his life.

A beautiful performance of the Headmaster played by Nicholas Farrell

The Headmaster holds his own – knowing what others think of him – it is almost having to pay a price in order to be steadfast and truthful.  The writer of South Downs – the other play – says of himself as writer that ‘the further you have to travel, the more your imagination is stimulated’.

Both characters – Blakemore and Crocker-Harris, have to travel within themselves and within society and both come to find themselves on this journey.  More fool society if it cannot accept who they are and all those like them.

Boyle’s Brilliance


I think Danny Boyle at the Opening Ceremony created a new genre – called ‘Epicality’.  He managed to show the UK with its authenticity and detail, on an epic scale.  The imagery will stay with me for a long time.

I was thrilled that he used theatre and performance as the way to communicate.  The Victorian pioneer Brunel was played by Kenneth Branagh, who in the spirit of anachronism, recited the great speech of Caliban’s from The Tempest which talks of dreams:

And it was in the spirit of dreams and imagination that Boyle got us to the truth of the event.  In the country scenes where small groups of people ‘acted out’ how life used to be, we got to know ourselves again as a nation – where we’ve been, where we are going.

The Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Martin Roth, commented that Boyle needs to be congratulated on his risk taking because risk taking is a venture into the unknown.  It is often the unknown that rewards and that takes us into a more truthful realm than the so-called known.

Akram Khan, who had a powerful dance slot during the ceremony, talks about the stage as a place for unmasking.  It is a place to be truthful, to be oneself (I note the winner of ITV’s ‘Superstar’, Ben Forster, was told by Andrew Lloyd Webber that he was a great actor but had the rare talent of being himself at the same time – a quality needed I think to make the stage, especially as the character of Jesus).

Akram Khan and his dancers

The Movement Director of the Ceremony, Tony Sedgwick, said to the volunteers ‘You must never show what you are doing, you must just BE it.’  And I think that goes for the whole event – volunteers from all walks of life came out to showcase the UK – through the genre of performance.  And that genre gave them permission to take risks which made for a very real and meaningful event.  It started the journey for all the sports women and men taking part – to take risks and be truly who you can be.

Danny Boyle should be saluted as ‘going for gold’ for the human spirit.