Blog: Jamal Al-Araimy

Placement as a Student Mentor on Summer School at Oaklands Secondary School in Bethnal Green.

At the beginning, children entered this workshop timid and shy; showing the sweet nascent signs of untapped potential. Over the week I have seen these children, who mostly had never experienced anything like this, develop their confidence and their creativity; dramatically, musically and artistically beyond anything that I would ever have conceived. Now as I write this, with the week drawing to a close, my heart becomes intumescent with joy to see such mature, budding performers ready to step out of the small world of primary school and take on the next chapter of their lives with unrivaled enthusiasm, self-assurance and a genuine desire to explore their own abilities and the unknown.

The week has been filled with many moments of fun and laughter and construction of friendships between the young performers and the wonderful team of Half-Mooners.

I worked helping mostly in Music for the first three days of the week, using my own musical ability to aid wherever I could and helping develop the ideas that the performers envisaged into a reality. We recorded soundtracks and soundscapes using instruments and our voices, all of which were incorporated into the performance to create the perfect atmosphere for the required scenes.

I then joined the performers in a Dance workshop to show that even I could not resist to get involved with all the fun. Despite having two left feet (good thing I am left-footed), I did not hesitate to get involved; learning Hip-Hop and Break-dance styles. It was very different to the only type of dancing I had really indulged in before which was ballet so many centuries ago…

I could not stay away from Drama for long, being my forte and having done a lot of acting and theatre work, I was desperate to get onto the scene (literally). It filled me with such pleasure being able to help mentor these performers and help them progress with their acting capabilities. I did this by giving them direction and giving examples in order to improve their performance, whilst also motivating them to strive and give it their all.

On Thursday, I became a photographer for most of the day – armed with an SLR camera given to me by Beccy, I felt as if I was majoring in Photography. I took many action shots, pictures of the developing scenery, the performers in action and just them being happy! It was a great feeling being able to capture such moments of high emotion in great detail.

And now Friday – I am greatly excited to see the end performance which everyone has worked extremely hard on. This week has gone by so quickly – it was a truly great experience having such an integral part to an amazing team.

Thank you for this enlightening and enjoyable opportunity to become a part of a Half Moon Theatre team.

Jamal was on placement via the Social Mobility Foundation from 27-31 July 2015.