Tuesday, 11 May 2010


You might have read in Sharmila's blog "The girls have told me I've left a legacy but I don't think I have..." Sharmila you have! One of the gentlemen, Robyn from the home that Sharmila is using to base her reminiscence project which I am performing in, told her when she went back this time that after all of her visits to the home asking him questions about his past made him think about how much he has actually done in his life. He is one of the more able guests in the home and has one of the better memories. We have created many scenes around the memories that he has shared with Sharmila and she tells me that he always has a lot to say. I remember in Spain, Chris told us that a successful project was one that carries on once you have left. Robyn is answering all the questions that Sharmila would have ever asked if she kept returning to the home.

I believe that the Ham House project has also created a legacy. The parkour group is almost relying on this project to carry on. We have given them the opportunity to show the community that they are talented and might encourage people to join after the event. We have put the parkur company in touch with the Circus Suburbia to see if they can work together in the future. Circus Suburbia is a new company and so needs recognition. We have offered to all of the groups to advertise themselves in the programme.

I am so pleased that this has happened with both the projects.

Friday, 23 April 2010

32 days to go...

Laura and I trotted off to Elleray Hall this lunchtime. (That's right...trotted) Linda the organiser is very enthusiastic about everything and it is really in her best interests to amuse the elderly people who visit this day centre on a regular basis. There seems to be a lot going on at Elleray Hall and the residents look forward to going during the week. One woman I was helping had a great deal to say abut the centre, all positive and even said she wouldn't know what to do with herself if the centre wasn't running. We were told there were only 2 interested in our workshop until yesterday when a few more came forward with their names, so we weren't expecting the army coming barging through the door fighting for a space.

One woman arrived and they all came following and we just had enough seats to go around! The first woman to walk in was a woman who was so friendly and bubbly and she really got stuck in. The masks we were making started from a face mould on the table with tissue paper laid on top which you then mould masking tape into the face, which after layer after layer after layer gets stiff and finally stays in place. A few of the elderly here weren't that strong to be able to keep rubbing the masking tape in but Laura and I helped t make sure their mask had facial features!

The next two people to come and join us were the two lovely and most able of the group ,Frank and Ivy who are pictured above after a talk form the Metropolitan Police previously. They were the most enthusiastic about being in the parade and were the most sprightly of the gang. We are not sure yet how many are going to be able to be in the parade due to the walking distance. Linda has managed t arrange transport for the ones who would like to go which might mean more could come to the Common.

All the participants made wonderful masks and are looking forward to carrying them on sticks which can be held up to their face. From talking to the residents it seems that they do quite a lt of arts and crafts here, especially mosaic tilings. They have just cleared a wall in the beautiful garden for whihc they can decorate with the mosaics. I will look forard to seeing this hopefully soon!

Good first workshop :)

Zoe x

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

33 days to go...

This morning we trundled off to see Heritage for Health in Tooting. They have been speaking to Gary quite a lot about the event already, trying to arrange what is best for them on the day, and have already had it in their brochure fr a while. HtoH run a large event each year and this year our parade is incorporated into their annual meet up. They will be visiting Marble Hill and then coming to Ham House. This is their plan for the day....
2pm-visit the house in their numbers (around 70!)
4pm-Stay in the gardens and Gary has said that they can use the gazebo in the gardens which shall later be used for the hog roast. Also make their flags, banners which some will walk with in the parade...not all can walk very far so majority will stay in the gardens. This is something that they are providing.
And so on and so forth with the rest of us.
We mentioned about an eighth of a page which was what we had said yesterday for their blurb, which might seem slightly too small do we not think? On word, I think it will be maybe 4 lines...
They are looking into hiring wheelchairs for the day, and we need to just check that wheelchairs are OK to wheel along the parade route.
Something we hadn't realised was that the people running Heritage to Health are students doing foundation degrees!

I know that this project has already been successful and we have already left a legacy from our work. We have put the Parkour people in touch with Circus Suburbia as the Parkour group are struggling to survive and the Circus Suburbia are a very new company who need more members. As we can not offer them any way of fundraising at the event this was a way we can offer them ways of staying alive and working. I hope this works out for the two of them.

It has already been very hard not to say yes to everything that comes our way. I've had already had to say no to a soloist, as she will just get drowned out, we have said no to a group of singers who want a backing track and we have said no to any fundraising. We just can't say yes to everything! I was talking to Jen today about how in my mind I try and imagine what could happen, then I ask Jen and she gives a straight level-headed answer of yes or no! She is my sanity :)

So then design met up with Tina and we started to play around with the animals for the parade! The laundry baskets are working perfectly! They are quite easy to manipulate and they are coming into shape. We are just making the skeleton...(KIM!)...and thinking about how they will be decorated on the build day as we need to now get all the materials. We have the storage downstairs now, which Hannah, Sarah and I tidied...but didn't actually throw anything away! T-Shirts will be made tonight - I just have t iron these on!

EXCITING Lots of love guys.xxx

Monday, 19 April 2010

Still 34 days to go....

I am back with a vengeance with my second blog of the day! I thought I deserved a second as I have done so much today :)

So I dashed off earlier to pop to Ham House and speak to Gwen (who was slightly mad I must add....I am always worried the wrong person is going to read these blogs but I think it's OK!) about flying the flag and the banner. The flag actually pose no worries...it is quite easy to attach. It is so quick that we also have time to walk with it from the Common at the front of the parade with all the Happy Birthday messages on it. Design team just need to order the material now! The banner is slightly more difficult as we need to work out how to attach it to the house. Gwen suggested to have ropes at each corners and tie to radiators in the meeting rooms at the top. However I suggested to just have weights on the floor inside so not to have to tie it to anything inside the house. This was fine, however it is the bottom two corners which poses a slight problem as this is where the Queens bed chamber is where there is nothing to tie it to, but they like to move quickly at Ham House so I have already arranged a meeting with Vic later on in the week to talk over this as she might have a few more ideas. Will update later!

I then went for a quick swim this afternoon as it was such a nice day. Only had time for 20 minutes but it was definitely worth it! Followed very quickly with my last Dissertation meeting before it's handed in!! AHHHH...

Productive meeting for HH tonight I feel :) Nice one guys. People are responding to the group email account from the leaflets we posted which is positive!

Rehearsal for Shamila's D.I.C show. This is a reminiscence piece if you haven't read her blog with a elderly home in Surrey. We are a company of 6 performers (Shamila being a performer as well as director). Taking the elderly people's memories we are creating a devised performance with these, to almost take them back in time to their childhood. Mark came along this evening as a surprise visit to see what we were getting up to. He was impressed with how it was going, the only constructive criticism was that Shamila is very clear what year it is set as we might not know the difference between 4 years but our audience will. The performance date for this is in the same week as Ham House but at the beginning. Busy busy busy week!

Lastly for today Patsy and I visited Teddington Choral Society. It was the most bizarre we have been to yet. The conductor was almost scorning his singers at one point for not being able to read music and in the first 45 minutes of the rehearsal he told us many stories all about himself and his childhood. We are still not sure whether they want to be a part of the event as the conductor is in Germany, but he did mention another choir of his that could sing without a conductor. However he was quite odd when we said it was a community event with 20 other choirs involved and he wasn't keen at all on it being outdoors. We shall see what happens with this!

I feel like I'm making new friends on this project. The old friends are always going to be here (you know who you are :)) but I have made some real friends who I enjoy being with and who I feel I work well with.

I am excited about seeing the end product, but I am slightly sad that I will not see one of my areas of work; it has to be either the choirs or the parade :(

Love to one and all and goodnight


34 days to go.....

So we have now lifted this project right off the ground and we are flying! It started slow but I think we've got it now and it's moving faster than ever.

The story was exactly what we needed. Ben and Jennie hats off to you guys as it is so imaginative and fun and is somethign that we an now link tese two events together; one in Ham grounds and one on the Ham Common. This is something that I am worried about though...I am on the choir team as well. I hope this doesn't mean that I wont be able to be part of the story and parade too!! Patsy is talking to Mark about this to see what we should be doing on the day.

More than anything I am surprised at how willing so many people are to be in this event for free. Not having ever done a community project before I didn't know what to expect. I had a woman tap me on the shoulder the other day in the pub and asked us what we were talking about as she heard 'Ham House'. She was so keen to help us out in anyway that she could. She was quite drunk but I'm sure she'd remember....??!!!"£$%

From talking to the pubs they are all saying that everyone in Ham will either be involved, or if they don't want to be involved they will certainly come and watch. Whatever anyone does, however they contribute they are still taking part.

After leafletting on thursday we have already had some emails which is so exciting which I have responded to this morning.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's looking good!! I am really enjoying working on this project with everyone.

Thank you guys. Keep contacting :)

Love you all xxxx

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Pub crawl...

A small idyllic Public House on the corner just before you turn to Ham House; Jennie and I ventured to The Royal Oak after giving details about our event to The New Inn. We were greeted with 3 old men sat at the bar and a few young teens at the back playing darts, which I was all too quick to spot and dream dressed up in the procession. We ordered some homemade soup and a soft drink and asked the welcoming landlady if she would like to hear about our event. Lisa Pegg provided us with some key information tonight, which we were too willing to snap up as a woman who clearly knows a lot about and takes pride in her village.
Our time in Spain, Chris told us that when starting a community project you need to find out the leaders of the village. This is more than often the priests, the publicans and the school teachers. So I am taking my role very seriously as I believe speaking to the owners of all the pubs in the village can make the difference between an average project and a highly successful one. Lisa Pegg, as someone who has been to Ham House on many occasions told that Ham House does not play a significant role in the community of Ham. She feels they do not do enough with the house in the community and people are not aware of the role it could play in their society. Ham House could be used as a highly educational resource which could easily be led with the schools in the Richmond borough, but this isn't the case. They do hold a few outings for schools where they can learn about how through the periods of time they used to live in small rooms, but this could be developed so much more. Lisa told us how she only ever uses the house nowadays when she has visitors from abroad visit. How can this be when she has a beautiful house on her doorstep??
I truly believe that if we use these four months now to tap into the history and life in Ham we can make a true name for this historic building in their own village. Jennie and I later went on to see the landlady of The Fox and Duck, Priti, who has never been to Han House. She is very excited to see the celebrations in with some Thai food on the day. The pub serves Thai food 5 days a week at an excellent price. I am looking forward to having some meetings here with some discounted Thai curries! She seems like a lovely lady who is also keen to have a snooker/darts competition on the day.
I am so excited about this project now as I actually believe it is up and running. We have had so much positive feedback from everyone we've contacted and everyone is pulling their weight. We are still a long way off from secure but we have created such a fantastic team I believe we can make it work. Everyone seems to be given a role suited to them and people are taking it completely in their stride to fulfil it.
Thanks for the read xx

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Keira Knightley

Misanthrope -noun

a hater of humankind.

Briony and I head into central on Tuesday to see Keira Knightley's first stage performance of Misanthrope, at the Comedy Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. I am delighted to report that she only pouted once throughout the whole performance! Playing a bitchy Hollywood startlet, I was slightly weary of the American accent she adopted but I think she held it throughout and it wasn't too whiny.

Having not read this play before I was very impressed. Sat at the very top I paid a pound to get some binoculars and it was quite nice to get a view close up and from far away. Whether it be because I wasn't very observant, but I didn't realise it was rhyme until 20minutes into the performance. After I realised this, I found that I listened so much more to the words and the story. A play poignant to society today Damien Lewis acts along side Knightley and plays the misanthropic Alceste, transforming into a terminally disgruntled playwright in Crimp's adaptation. I throroughly enjoyed this performance and The Comedy Theatre provided another brilliant performance.