Friday 13th January 2017    STRATFORD CIRCUS  Studio Theatre. 2pm.
Princess play


I had seen the quality of Ellen Goodey’s work with her performance in Laundry Boy (Millfield Theatre 2011), but this was her own devised piece. As Ellen is a Developing Artist with Face Front Inclusive Theatre, I was intrigued and joined the capacity audience for the matinee performance. I had no idea what to expect.

You are drawn automatically into the world of the play with its grey set and costumes and its live musical backdrop. A request to greet The King, before you take your seat adds to the audience’s engagement.

The use of choreography as narrative reinforces this is no ordinary world, no ordinary story, but you want to know more. It introduces the Princess’s concerns for her future and the desire to be an ordinary person. No, not an ordinary person, but to be treated the same as everybody else. Delson Weekes (King) and Katy Cracknell (Princess) capture that growing awkwardness as the King’s health fades and the days of the Princess’s responsibility looms.

We all want a friend in times of need and Gopal Gautam in one of a number of roles, does his best to help the Princess, but is quickly side-lined. Why? As the play deepens it reach, the Princess’s problems become more complicated. Using a small ensemble of actors to play everything including… peasants, medical staff, God and the Devil, Sarah–Jane Wingrove, Adam Smith and Jon French carry this off using strong characterisation and the humour of the script.

The play’s messages begin to hit home, the sense of isolation, the treatment of people who are different, treated as outsider. Questions such as: what is the difference between a human being and a brick brings in the surreal and real experience of people in a system that doesn’t understand and perhaps doesn’t care.

Throughout the performance Iris Ederer’s live soundscape commented, supported and challenged the audience in the total theatre experience. Its success as a score,was what the actors and musician were creating together, so at one. As a playwright it was something of an eye-opener how successful that process / experience could be.

The ending is both a surprise and took the play to another level, with a mothers cry for her baby, what had they done with her baby? A universal terror, that all in the audience can identify with. Is society to be blame or the powers that be?

This was a work in progress and when you appreciate who it was put together by Ellen and her father Chris, you can see why they wear the life experiences on their sleeve. No less enjoyable and educational, definitely. Good support from Barry Churchill, Dipan Patel and Rebecca Seabrook, hopefully the first of many Goodey collaborations. Well done to all and to Face Front colleagues for their support for this piece of inclusive theatre.

SAFER INTERNET DAY isn’t just for today, it’s every day.



Yes we at My name is Tom Education Project believe like many people that,

SAFER INTERNET DAY isn’t just for today, it’s every day.

This year’s theme is Be the change: unite for a better internet.

One of the key messages from parents we spoke to was that the project needed to go into Primary schools, to work with staff and pupils to explore the key issues for them. Many schools are providing quality guidance, information and support, pupils of 8,9 and 10 know all about staying safe, they use the internet properly at school for their studies.

But because primary school children want to be like their older brothers and sisters, who often help them to get set up on social networks and because some parents aren’t aware of what is going on, the problems don’t go away. Not only that some of those problems, come back into school.

We are currently offering two schemes to Primary schools and their wider community; one for pupils  and one for  parents. Why parents? Because they often have secondary school age children too and we want to tackle the issues from both sides…

Pupils: 6 – 7 hours split into 4 sessions or can be done as a whole day activity. Sessions include:        

Warm up games, exercises and skills: Core values what are they?

Forum theatre to look at characters on the outside, fringe and centre of the problem.

Exploration of role play through characters and their experiences.

A media debate involving the whole group to explore some of their key concerns

One of the problems for some young children is that they want to be like their older brothers and sisters; to be able to do the things that they do. Clothes, staying up later, wear make-up, games, phones and social networks. They want all of the ‘fun’, but don’t realise the consequences. We use computers all the time in school. We wouldn’t do anything silly.

But then their older sibling helps and guides them to get online and access social media.

 Parents: 6 -7 hours split into 4 sessions or can be done as a whole day activity: Sessions include:

                                         Fun Drama games and exercises: Trouble shooting key problems

       Leading by example…what do you do to help the situation? 

Don’t dictate, negotiate: how does that work? 

Role play: Consolidating good practice.

Did you know that by the age of 5, some children will have 1,000 pictures on social media?

    One of the major arguments is, do parents have the right to assume control over their child’s identity? They believe, this is our child, we own their identity.

But children believe they can change and control their identity online.

‘Lucy’ is a good example. She said she had asked her dad to de-tag her from “stuff that doesn’t necessarily represent who I am now.”

“It was never a big issue or anything bad, just stuff I preferred people didn’t see,” she said. “There were photos my dad posted of me in Year 6 and Year 7 [aged 11 and 12]. Back then I was quiet and shy, I didn’t really have lots of friends.

For more information and to book a workshop please contact Alan on

07535737247 or email theatreisreallife|@live.co.uk



Well not if you are a teenager as the latest figures on self harming are released by a leading charity. 

The children’s charity NSPCC says nearly 19,000 children were admitted to hospital after harming themselves last year – a 14% rise over three years.

One school we know of, use to have two staff to cover all incidents of safeguarding including self harming. Now they have eight staff and anyone can deal with the issue of self harming. Schools are struggling to cope and sadly the situation will only get worse, yet we know why this is happening.

1. Schools focusing on the academic and not looking after the
personal development of young people.

2. The sexualisation of young people in the media.

3. Social network sites.

4. Peer pressure to ‘look good’

5. Parents / carers not doing enough to guide and support their loved ones.

Do we really have to believe in Father Christmas, in the hope that the situation will improve?

Wishing you all a safe and secure Christmas and a caring New Year from My name is Tom.



December news…Dazu Youth Club

                        dazu                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        YOUTH CLUB, SOUTHGATE. Friday 25th November 2016.


Presented the project to members and got a range interesting and thoughtful responses. Changes needed to the presentation and thank you to the members for their honesty. Thank you to Clare for the opportunity, and Liz and Dan for the support.  For more information about Dazu…http://www.dazu.co.uk/dazu.htm     

Edited Dazu