All went well with PIAW, it was well received. There were two nights - the first night I was in the band, playing a cymbal at the back, and the second night I was a clown because the original clown had gone off sick.
I had surgery in the beginning of October but still took part in the play "YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO US" later in the month. That was received very very well by the audience, possibly the biggest audience we have had yet.
My dad came over last weekend from America with my stepmother and my aunt Joan and Stuart my 7'2" cousin !
I went to the Nomad Theatre last Friday to do one of the PIAW workshops for the play in July. It was very quiet because only eleven people came. More people normally turn up. We are rehearsing the dance in July at Epsom, still rehearsing for October, for the play (Your Call Is Important To Us).
End of the dance project is close, next Tuesday. I have been a teacher on it with Andrea and Sue. I'm looking forward to next Tuesday, showing it. There'll be a new project, with a new title in January.
LIFE GOES ON
I haven't got back to the University for the Social Work seminars recently due to other commitments. There was a service users meeting but I couldn't get there ... I started another dance workshop two weeks ago on the theme of Greek gods - this group of students have quite challenging disabilities, learn very fast, and I love it. My health is better than it has been for a while because I came off my medication. We've done lots of dance rehearsals for the next show coming up, Earth Rise, at the Leatherhead Theatre. I have joined a choir from SeeAbility, and two Saturdays ago we had a performance in a large church in Southwark, almost like a cathedral.
Peter and I went on holiday with Sue and we are now known as Hells Angels in Wheelchairs after doing line dancing one night. We just took over the floor. Why not ?
I did a whole set of workshops on the theme of streetlife. That lasted ten weeks. This is a new scheme which led up to an actual performance at the end of the ten weeks.: Vince Lloyd and I were asked if we wanted to learn how to be mentors for other people outside The Freewheelers. The people were all ages and mixed abilities. Wendy filmed a few days - the first couple of weeks, a middle couple and the last day with the show. We also got the PAs and carers involvede. That is one of the criteria of my group which I have stipulated. I would like more non-disabled students to come in. They would learn how to work with disabled people and how to run their own workshops.
As last year I am doing an hour's talk on my experience of coming from care home to independent living for third year Social Work students at Kingston University.
Last Thursday I started teaching my ten-week dance course with Andrea and Sue. It went very well and we are discussing filming two or three sessions.
SOCIAL WORK INTERVIEWS
A couple of months ago was the first trip to Kingston university to discuss taking part in interviews with 3rd year social work students. We had to come up with real scenarios, that were believable. I then did take part in those interviews which involved deciding on a problem - a married mother about to be thrown out of her accommodation, for example. Social work students had to get out of you what the problem was; in my case, the scenario was that I was a wheelchair user looking for appropriate accommodation and not finding it quickly. I did two interviews and both students were very good.
NOMAD THEATRE WORKSHOPS
Yesterday I received an email from Bill Pearson of Nomad Theatre Company asking me if I would like to take part in some choreographing workshops, leading to a small performance of A Christmas Carol on 16th December. The participants would be six students, physically and learning disabled, which will involve working one-to-one with each student. I am now finalising travel details for that. This will be one of the hardest things I will have done, taking things right back to basics, the very very basics.
SOCIAL WORK EXAMS
Last month I went to Kingston University again and sat in on presentations by third year Social Work students for their final exams There were three of us from the Universoty's Social Work group. After each group of three students had presented, we discussed how they had done and gave them marks. We filled in a form giving marks for specific things - general presentation, content and so on. Children, vulnerable people - did they speak about these areas. Some didn't. The standard was high across the three groups of three - though one or two were not particularly confident and they will have to take that section of their exam again.
In September I am starting work with a mentor from the Stop Gap Theatre Company. I am being trained as a mentor and teacher of dance. How to improve my skills - I already do both of those.
I forgot to mention that I do a lot of work with Kingston University.
Last week I did a talk to a group of Social Work degree course students on my experiences as a 'service user'. I like this work a lot, they pay me but that is a bonus. They have asked me to go back and recce the whole site for accessibility. I'll have a report for them at the end of the day !
I've been a Freewheeler since the beginning. I started off with acting and from that went on to a bit of singing, a bit of dancing, and now teaching drama and dance.
Also I do tape librarian work on our film projects. I began this when we started the Rolling On project in November 2005.
When it comes to setting up for shows, I do all the jobs needed before the public come in.