Parent, Orange Tree Theatre

“Wonderful experience at Midsummer Night’s Dream! It was a magic spell of movement & sound, funny but mysterious. Katie & John were swept into the players’ company & became part of the show. Wonder full!”

Elena Dobrovolschi, Clinical Psychologist, Sibiu Romani

Thank you very much for the opportunity to be in contact with you and your team.
It was a privilege and a pleasure to feel and learn with all of you.
More than learning a method, I lived it. And I have discovered, once
again, that it is easier for me to take the pain and feel it, than to
cause pain and see it in others (the exercise with master and
monster). And going deeper in this experience, it was a revelation to
discover, in this context, than it’s easier for me to be “the monster”
than “the master”! I had the opportunity to discover how great is my
need for feeling and expressing what I feel, despite the daily
experience of being in control. I could write a novel about the experience I’ve had with you, about
self-discovery and assumption.

You and all those beautiful and expressive young people in your team
have a great talent: to make us live, not just look, to bring us back
to ourselves. You turn viewers into actors and each one plays itself.
And the process is so disarmingly natural that it is impossible not to
abandon youself and slip into the story you created as a framework for
each one’s story.

For me it is a personal development experience at the highest level I
have ever lived and I want to congratulate you and your team for
everything I’ve seen and lived.
Thank you!

And as a result of our meeting, we have already introduced exercises
learned from you in our daily activities with children. They
immediately recognized the exercises and do them with pleasure. We are
about to order the book. In attachment you have two drawings made by
children after the experience they have lived with you. Is our way to
congratulate you and thank you.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM BRIDGE THEATRE 2019

I cannot thank you enough for the most incredible morning. All the kids absolutely loved it. The actors were incredible and so thoughtful. It was the most thought provoking, moving, incredible morning.

It was a very moving experience for me watching with the complete removal of stress or fear of failing.

As a parent I was not sure the performance could meet a varied set of needs. However it surpassed them, the actors seemed to pick upon the individuals’ skill set and needs instantly, tailoring their support and encouragement in a subtle way as if they had always known them.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2018, Parents and Teachers

It blew me away watching the actors interaction with the kids. Emily and Ruby loved it. As a mum watching my kids taking part was a little emotional. Special thanks to the actors who encouraged Ruby when she was unsure.

Grenfell was such a terrible thing to happen to our community, and something that will stay with us all a very long time. Some good has to come from something so terrible. You have showed our children with SEN that they can achieve more than they ever dreamed they could.

It was a wonderful treat for us here at the Access Project and we won’t be forgetting the experience in a hurry. Our clients – people with special needs over 50 years old – got so much from your visit. So thank you again.

Queensmill Parents Flute Dreams 2019

It has been such an amazing experience watching the transformation of my autistic 15 year old son.
When Kourosh first joined drama sessions at Bush theatre, he was withdraw and confused, he did not want to join in and was constantly wandering around. After several sessions, he began to show interest and then unbelievable started joining in. He has even begun to speak up which is great since he has always had a lower than normal tone making it difficult for others to hear him. Another thing which is fantastic to see is how patiently he waits for his turn and how he tries to chip in when they are all doing a chorus.
Thanks for such an amazing experience!

It was really a great experience for myself and for my five year old son attending these calming and fun session in the Bush theatre. The atmosphere was so calming, lovely and friendly. The kelly with her team of actors were great. They were so kind, friendly, patient and understanding. In the first day my was scared to go inside the room. But at the last day he was so happy and excited and wanted to stay more there after the session finished. What an amazing transformation!
Thank you for arranging and giving such a great experience to us.

I would like to express our experience at Bush theatre over summer. Firstly, my son Sammy loves drama at Bush theatre and he looked forward to attend it everyday. Sammy has improved his confident and communication since he is attending to drama. And I can see the improvement in the first week of attending to drama.
The staff at Bush Theatre including you are amazing and very supportive people that I am not see only with my son with all of the children who attending to drama at Bush. We are very grateful to be part of the drama at Bush. The team at Bush know how to work with children with autism and they make them to overcome and cope with their condition.
Thank You for the great opportunity you gave us being part of your drama club at the Bush.

Flute Dreams the beginnings at the Bush Theatre

From a pedagogical point of view, this has been a remarkable project, where students get to learn practically about being completely alert, alive, responsive, playful, sensitive and fully ‘present’ as performers. Their teachers in this instance are the Queensmill children – and that relationship was revelatory for the students. It taught them something about ‘being in the moment’, lack of ego, loving and caring for each other and how acting can provide opportunities to create genuinely democratic spaces.
GEORGINA SOWERBY MA DRAMA UAL LONDON. COURSE LEADER

Experiencing Flute’s work at Queensmill was an absolute joy. Seeing over 150 of our students connect, engage, transform and play in a totally new and unique way was inspiring. The majority of our young people’s autism is at the complex end of the spectrum and in being flexible, accepting and gentle they gained the trust of every young person who walked through the door. During the games, actors sensitively encouraged initiations from the children where they played with an array of communicative skills; facial expression, eye contact, language and spatial dynamics to name only a few. Many staff members were amazed at the degree to which children participated, especially those who often avoid such social contact. They instantly gained the trust of our staff, who then relaxed and were encouraged to play as much as the children!
HEAD OF DRAMA, QUEENSMILL SCHOOL

The energy in the building that week was vibrant, with excited children & young people and enthusiastic students mingling together in the front of house areas, sharing with each other this magical experience that Flute Theatre have so lovingly created. We at the Bush loved it and can’t wait to do it again!
HOLLY SMITH. COMMUNITY PRODUCER, BUSH THEATRE

The best engagement work doesn’t happen in a silo. The best work happens in collaboration. The week that Bush Theatre, Flute Theatre Company, and MA Acting UAL students came together to provide a weeks worth of creative workshops for children and young people from Queensmill School was an incredibly special experience, both personally and professionally for myself as the Community Producer, and also for the Bush Theatre as a community-focused building.

The Hunter Heartbeat Method which Flute Theatre have developed allows children and young people with Autism to engage with Shakespeare, and the arts more generally, in gentle, inclusive and inventive ways.

The Queensmill School staff and management have an unwavering dedication to providing high quality activity for their students, with teachers volunteering their time in their Summer holidays to chaperone the workshops and support the project.

The students from MA Acting UAL were kind, thoughtful and incredibly engaging. They built beautiful relationships with the young people, which, given they were only in contact for an hour each day, was an amazing testament to their ability to be open and giving.

The feedback from the parents involved was tear-jerking, but only because it highlighted what a genuine impact the week had had on the young people, and where there isn’t always the opportunity for families with SEN children to access free, local and high quality arts activities, made it all the more important.

Tom Underwood. Teacher, Garratt Park School

Before reading ‘Shakespeare’s Heartbeat’ by Kelly Hunter I had not considered it possible to explore Shakespeare’s plays with my pupils, all of whom have autism and learning difficulties. The book has opened up new avenues and has revolutionised the way that I teach through it’s description of exercises and games used by Flute Theatre Company, particularly the Hunter Heartbeat Method. Kelly has a clear understanding of how to engage young autistic people and the book is written in a way that allows teachers to replicate games within the classroom and also adapt to use with other Shakespeare plays. The biggest compliment I can give to the work of Kelly is the positive feedback I receive from pupils and parents whilst we work with the Hunter Heartbeat Method. Every year parents report back to me that their children are talking about the story and acting out scenes at home and at school the pupils are equally enthusiastic, even wanting to play the games during wet breaks! After a performance by the pupils of Romeo & Juliet which used Flute theatre techniques, one parent wrote to me, “We would never in our wildest dreams have thought D could achieve what he did.” Shakespeare is an integral part of our society, bringing young people with learning difficulties into his work is a huge step in inclusion.

MA Drama Student

The week with Kelly Hunter at the Bush Theatre has rendered me speechless and jerked me back to a place where I’ve felt so small and so big at the same time . Dealing with kids on the spectrum and taking them in almost non-verbal and watching them at the end of the week understanding language and rules of the game has been emotionally overwhelming. Making friends along the way was a major plus side and being able to not just love but feel loved has been completely revolutionary. I think everyone should be blessed with the opportunity to have a chance to play with these budding geniuses. It has given me something that cannot be described in words but that will hopefully show in my performances to come.