Hooray the Ides of March!

At last the first rooty tendrils of spring are pushing through the black compost of winter and the tiny leaves bursting through the surface into the sun. 

You can tell I’ve been in the greenhouse can’t you?  I invested half of my mystery patron’s investment into seeds and bulbs at the 50p shop and have a bulging bag of goodies to plant and sow later today.  The day looks as though it will gradually open up into warm spring sunshine and I have nothing to do today except potter and think, a combination of pleasures that is really irresistible.

The week has been tiring with Cat's Paw Theatre and I had a lot of chores yesterday.  I think I mentioned I have a miniature twin tub hiding in the lorry.  So yesterday was washing day and I now don’t have any dirty clothes (only a huge pile of ironing). It was a thrilling last day of the Six Nations so I watched while I washed and then cleaned the inside of the lorry.  I cannot justify just sitting in front of four hours of rugby on one day though I’m sure many can and do!  So I listen to the commentary and do the housework, well no, lorrywork at the same time only stopping to watch the exciting bits.  Two of the advantages to living in one small space is that you don’t have much to clean and the tv is never far away!  One of the disadvantages to having a woodburner in that same small space is that everything becomes very grimy very quickly.

Anyway I don’t want to bore you with my cleaning stories when you have so many of your own, so suffice it to say my living space is shiny and my clothes are clean.

Cat’s Paw Theatre had some great news in the week.  I’ve mentioned the little clicker devices we borrowed to use to garner young people’s views for upward transmission to the Welsh Assembly Government.  In this way theatre is being truly politicised.  The founder of our theatre movement, Augusto Boal, advocated politicising theatre and theatricalising politics.  Well, the little clicker devices are great as we can ask the audience questions and register their knowledge before and after the presentation.  It’s very useful and very revealing.  The problem is that the clicker devices themselves are past their best.  An example of yesterday’s technology, great when they were new three years ago but now the company that made them has gone and there is therefore no support or spare parts.  And I’ve had to gaffer tape some of the kit to make it work. Anyway on Wednesday I had an idea that maybe we could have them replaced so I phoned our contact at the County Council and 24 hours later had a phone call that we could go ahead and order the new kit.  Nearly three grand’s worth of state of the art, brand new, wireless technology. The fastest ever idea-to-cash I think I’ve had.  And I’ve had a few of those in my time.  Never for me personally I have to say.  It just happened to come at slippage time.  The annual beanfeast around the Ides of March when County Councils have dosh left and nothing to spend it on!

We are going to use the clickers in a new FE production.  The police have indicated that since we have been touring the show to High Schools the statistics have changed.  Five years ago when we piloted the project they were having to deal with a great many complaints about rape and sexual violence from under 16 year olds.  Scary but true.  The parents thought the schools were teaching it and the schools thought the parents ought to, and often no-one was.  Which was where we came in.  Now, though, the demographics have changed.  The police now say that they are not having nearly as many reports from the under 16s. It’s moved up to the 16–24 years olds. The under-16 complaints have dropped substantially. Obviously we can’t claim a causal correlation, but we do know that over 10,000 young people have seen the piece in that time and at the very least they have been told what rape is and have heard about the deeper implications of consent.  And we have evidence that the way in which we are presenting this topic is being remembered several years later.

We are planning to use the new clickers in the new production not only to garner the statistics the government are seeking but also to allow the audience to make decisions about the process of the story itself, to see what happens if characters behave in one way or another.  A real rehearsal for reality.  More about this next time.

So I’ve a lot of thinking to do.  To the greenhouse…

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander