A unique Partnership with Queensmill School, Bush Theatre London and MA Acting UAL
FLUTE DREAMS sits at the heart of our creativity. We are working for three years with Queensmill School, a specialist school for autism in Shepherds Bush London, playing with the students during term time and running our workshops for them and their extended families – parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents at the Bush Theatre in the summer and Christmas holidays. As the children and families get to know us and form the habit of playing, their barriers of fear and anxiety are dissolving.
We ensure that we work in school with students who – for whatever reason – would never access a trip to the Bush Theatre. At the Bush we play with families who would never dream they would be welcome into the theatre with their autistic children. We give a place and a voice to this marginalised population and in return we grow as artists: the ongoing creation of our Hunter Heartbeat games continues to be led by the unique and individual minds and bodies of the people with autism we play with.
MA Acting Students are taught the Hunter Heartbeat games by Kelly Hunter and her team. The students become a core part of Flute Theatre for the workshops – thus contributing to their actor training in a completely unique way.
Freddie Adu, head of Queensmill School:
Sunday the 16th September 2018
This morning, Marcus, our profoundly autistic 12 year old son said ‘YES drama today.’ Given that Kelly’s one week drama course was 6 weeks ago, and Marcus rarely if ever articulates anything, illustrates the profound effect it had on him. It was extraordinary, that week in the summer. I had deliberately stayed away for the first 4 days. Marcus is usually negatively distracted by my presence anywhere.
But Ed my elder son who joined Marcus on the course was evangelical about what the course was doing for Marcus, he kept telling me how he was sitting with the young actors, and actively seeking them out. Curiosity got the better of me, and I came with them on the last day.When I arrived on Friday morning I was ASTONISHED. I have never, ever seen Marcus behave the way he did. He was seeking out, sitting with and CUDDLING his new young adult pals, with whom he had obviously formed a strong bond in this short space of time. He was engaged, and inordinately happy.
I was trying to explain to my husband the significant difference in him, but it had to be seen to be believed. I cannot stress this enough, this engaged, entirely committed child was like no other version of Marcus I have ever seen.
He still beats his little chest to say hello and goodbye!
I have no idea what it was in those sessions which so grasped him, and awoke the part of him which wants to interact. I just know it was the nearest I have seen him to ‘play’, if that makes sense. It is certainly the most communicative I have seen him.
My eldest son Ed was really affected by it. he is, to all intents and purposes, an only child. He loves his brother, but he doesn’t have a fraternal partner in crime. That week, he felt like he did. He loved the young actors, they were the perfect age for a 14 year old boy. He didn’t feel patronised, or like he was in a ‘special needs’ environment. (you would not believe some of the things we have done………) He felt involved, on a level, and had some great laughs. Which is very important to our family!
We all felt joyful, and grateful for the experience.
Flute Dreams is funded by