Blog: Larebb Butt

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

LarebbUpon arrival at Oaklands Secondary school, I was unexpectedly hit with a sudden thought – I’m back at school. Walking into the room, meeting and greeting a sea of new faces, I must admit I felt nervous. It simply took one circle time before I realised – the children were much better than me at warm up activities, such as action and reaction games!

I quickly noticed the enthusiasm that the young people had when forming the foundations of their role plays and I could not help but admire the bags of energy that the Half Moon team brought. Soon enough, the same children who appeared apprehensive at the start, abandoned their shyness and began to forge friendships with one another, working in groups to research their chosen influential celebrities.

On day 2 of my Half Moon journey, I got to see the groups in action as they began to create their drama and spoken word pieces with the help of a spoken word artist, Tamsin. Even now, I still can’t quite believe these children have yet to start secondary school, the amount of confidence and (to quote some of them) “swagger” that they had – even being aware of their own stage presence, was amazing to see and made mentoring and assisting them even more worthwhile. The day ended with a sign language session which was engaging and it was refreshing to see the budding performers gain an alternate understanding and appreciation of various forms of communication.

Wednesday consisted of filming scenes and I thoroughly enjoyed helping each group with the ideas and production that went into them in particular, giving the right props to each group to help them get into character was important. Also, there were many giggles over the group of boys who could not keep their hands off the feather boas.

On Thursday I took to the camera and as instructed by Beccy, I attempted taking shots of the young performers in action which was a great way of capturing the special moments. Then, later in the day it was my turn to get behind the lens as I played the role of a judge and felt very much involved in the play!

I was perhaps sweating more than the children for Friday’s performance, which was confident and humorous in all the right places. As what can only be described as a memorable experience draws to a close, I am left feeling extremely grateful for this opportunity, for being a part of Half Moon Theatre’s brilliant team.

Larebb was on placement via the Social Mobility Foundation from 24-28 August 2015.