Director’s notes from the programme for “The Chalk Circle”, written in English, Greek and Farsi:
When I first arrived at Gekko Kids, my project being to put on a stage production, I was introduced to a couple of the students as a teacher of theatre. “Please,” one of them said, “what is theatre?” I realised then that there was quite a journey ahead for all of us.
For the first few weeks, we played games, learned some physical theatre techniques, and had fun. The students got to know me, and I got to know them. More students came, and some left – not everyone had space on their timetable, not all could commit to regular rehearsals. But gradually, we built a team. And then we began to rehearse.
It was slow going at first, changing the script written in English into Farsi, so that everyone understood what they had to say. But slowly the play was cast, the lines learnt, and we began to act, to put movement and meaning to the words.
In my years of teaching, I have directed hundreds of productions. I have always – nearly always – been proud of my actors. But this time it is different. I am very proud of them as actors, but more than that I am proud of them as people. Each one of them is braver than I could ever be, has lived through more than I could ever imagine. They are strong; they will thrive. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them, and I am proud to call them my friends.