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Summer Term 2003

This summer, we concentrated on Paula's story, which explains about Paula's childhood and how she and her family were treated by others.

Paula has Cerebral Palsy. She is severely disabled and is in a wheelchair. She can't speak or use her hands properly. Her story talks about how she was ridiculed by people and her parents told that she wouldn't live to see her 20th birthday. Her brother and sister were picked on at school, mainly because of Paula. Paula and her family managed to fight through all of this. Chicken Shed realised what an Intelligent lady she was. She now writes songs and scripts for the Chicken Shed theatre company. Her work writing the script for her story has made me feel that she is someone to look up to, rather than to look down on and ignore.

We rehearsed Paula's story and perfected it for our end of term performance. The performance involved singing, dancing and acting. I played the part of professor, who told Paula's mum that Paula should be placed in an "institution". My part went something like this:

Narrator: We had to take Paula to a mental hospital. "Harpabury Mental Hospital". There was a psychologist there. A professor. He made a beeline for Paula.

(The professor makes for Paula's pram with an excited look on his face. He grabs her and holds her up his students to see. During the following the students take notes and nod and smile, repeating everything he says under their voices)

Professor: Here we have a child with "Cerebral Palsy"! (Students "Ohh" and "Ahh", impressed by the big words the professor is using!) Note the small circumference of her head. She cannot hold her head up. and the way her leg rotates the wrong way. She suffers "Spasms". (Students "Ohh" and "Ahh" again. The Professor puts Paula back into her pram and turns to her mum) Are you the mother? Your baby is going to be VERY difficult to look after. My advice to you would be to have her placed in an institution. Leave her here! Just leave her her!

Jan (Paula's mum): (looking round the room. It is clear that's it's not the patients in the hospital that makes the place scary but the students and the professor!) Leave her here? Leave her here? What, in this place?

Professor: (crossly) But Mrs Rees! She will never recognise you as her mother! She will never be able to give you what a mother wants from her child!

Jan: But she's giving me so much. Paula's giving me so much! And I'll settle for what she has to give!

(The professor backs away looking shocked while Jan says these words. Jan storms out. The professor goes over and is comforted by his students)

We all had great fun and I think the audience loved it too!

This term I feel I've really improved with my acting, singing and dancing. Paula's story made me feel sad that people can be so cruel but happy to think that after all she's been through, Paula can do something positive like this. I've been through some bad times but they don't even touch on Paula's experiences. I am honoured perform her story.

4th September 2003

Shed Mk are really busy this month! We've got two performances at the Stable's theatre, one for MK Heroes 2003 and the other a gala evening. More on this coming soon!

17th September 2003

We have been so busy these past two sessions, getting ready for our performance at MK Heroes 2003 on Thursday. We will be performing two songs, "Life is Good" and "Do not let the anger". Watch this space for a report on how it goes! ;-)

19th September 2003

Last night's MK Heroes 2003 was great! I arrived a bit early but everyone soon turned up. I helped Toby Friedner out with the rehearsals while I was waiting. We spent an hour in the green room, drinking coke and water flavoured with lemon and eating crisps.

At about half past seven, we were called for rehearsal. Things went well, once we had sorted out where we were going to stand!

After that, we listened to the people filing into the auditorium and quietly chatted amongst ourselves. Everyone seemed really nervous, especially when someone commented how many people there were!

At quarter to nine, we lined up beside the the stage and waited. Two minutes later, we were on. Everyone's nervousness seemed to disappear and we left the stage to a standing ovation. Toby embarrassed me as we left, saying "That was Shed MK and among them was one of last years finalists, Matthew Alden-Farrow!"

When the winner of MK Heroes 2003 was announced and the audience had left their seats, everyone else filed out via the stage door, while I sneaked up through the auditorium to join my Parents at the bar!

We all had great fun and I don't think I can wait for our second public performance, on Wednesday.

30th March 2004

Big news! I've been accepted as a youth support worker with Shed MK! This means I'll be helping out with the children's sessions, listening to their ideas and giving them encouragement. I'm really proud that I've been given the responsibility.

My first session as a youth support worker is on the 20th April. I can't wait!

20th April 2004

Tonight was my first evening as a youth support worker. I arrived at around 5:00 to sign in. As the clock ticked round towards 5:30, the hall got noisier as the children arrived. When the session started, I sat down in my designated group and met the children I would be helping out.

The first thing we did was learn a song from the play we're performing in November, called "Cloud Cuckoo Land". It was here I discovered how enthusiastic all the children were. They all tried their hardest and nearly raised the roof!

Next up, we discussed how we could simulate different types of weather with our bodies and voices. The children came up with some really good ideas here. The new children, who had been a little nervous at first, had mostly settled down by now. I'd settled down too. I'd been a bit nervous to start with, but was really enjoying myself now.

At 7:00, the session finished. After a quick discussion with the helpers about how we thought the session had gone, we had a break before the youth theatre started at 7:30.

I had a really great time tonight, and can't wait for next week!

28th September 2004

Tickets for Shed MK's First big production "Cloud Cuckoo Land" are now on sale! For more details, go here! To learn more about the production, click here.

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