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Monday 20th May
Mum opened the curtains of my room, and a bright light shone across my face as I gently woke up with a huge smile on my face and my heart full of excitement. I quickly got dressed to travel to a new day waiting ahead of me. It seemed like a normal day with birds chirping and leaves tinkling, but it was more than just a normal day; it was a day where it didn’t just end with me reaching school. Half Moon was everything: a place full of joy, music, art, drama and a place where I felt safe as soon as I stepped inside the building. When I entered Half Moon I was amazed by the view itself, with the glorious art-work displayed. The exhibition was called Tamesis Beasts, by Emma Barnie, whose art-works were inspired by animals and everyday things. She gave them very strange, funny and extraordinary names like 1500 Giraffes (literally 1500 giraffes which made up a big giraffe).
I was introduced to the staff who were always there to help, guide and teach me things I have never done. They made me feel so comfortable that I did not hesitate once to ask questions. I was then given a tour by Beccy of the theatre, reception, green room, costume room, arts and craft room, fire exist, and the meeting room. I was amazed by what I witnessed; each and every room had its own job which made me notice how hard people work to keep everything running smoothly in the theatre. I was given my own desk, chair and a laptop which made me feel like I had finally become an adult.
My first task was to create a catalogue for the art-work displayed, which I admired from the start. Stephen explained the work to me very nicely and clearly which made me work really hard to complete the task to my best ability. I did not fear making any mistakes. When my task was complete I was kindly thanked by Stephen which made me feel very proud of myself for completing something great enough to have someone thank me for it and respect my work on the task. The next task was my favourite as I enjoyed doing it a lot. I was given the task of creating 5 or 6 emojis on an A4 sheet, and to create a sentence with an emoji that has different meanings to it on an A3 sheet. This was for the next day’s theatre workshop games. After they were complete I had to print them out. It was really fun finding the emojis and adjusting them, and the thought of the kids enjoying seeing these emojis put a smile on my face. I loved that everything I worked on that day contributed to the work of Half Moon. The day ended rapidly, and I felt like I had accomplished something major by doing so little. I travelled back home with a huge smile now glued to my face, and I could not wait for the next day.
Tuesday 21st May
I was woken by the sound of singing birds to a bright, blue and beautiful morning. I made my way down to Half Moon, wondering what I could look forward to next. I was warmly welcomed again by the lovely staff. I started by laminating the emojis that I had adjusted and printed out the day before. I had no clue how to laminate anything, but Androulla was kind enough to lend me a helping hand (I slowly got the hang of it) and I laminated all my work and presented it neatly. The staff never neglected to appreciate my input (not once!) which I loved about them. They were very respectful and made me realise the importance of being respectful, not only at work but everywhere I go.
Later that day I was given the opportunity to witness a remarkable Youth Theatre session where kids practised for a play. What I observed in the youth session was nothing short of magnificent! Little kids, younger than me, had so much energy to express their emotions and put life into the play through just the way they acted, without feeling uncomfortable or caring what people would think. The kids made me feel like I was free, just by watching their play. They made me think that if kids at this age are this confident then why can’t I be? They inspired me to be a better me. The excitement and happiness I saw the kids have when they got a part can’t be explained. They brought out their best abilities during their performances and were very talented. The day ended with the theatre roaring full of the joy of the little kids as they left. I saw the parent’s faces brighten as they watched their kids come out. I loved it that day and hoped to enjoy tomorrow’s session in the same way. I walked out, carrying memories of the day locked inside my head, hoping to never let go of them.
Wednesday 23rd May
I travelled along a new path to Half Moon, only to be amazed by what the day brought. My first task was to print more than 800 letters and figure out how to use a massive printer. I counted the pages 30 by 30, pinned them carefully and neatly presented them for Androulla to take to her sessions. Then I learned how to shred used paper which was very satisfying.
In the afternoon I had another Youth Theatre session which was completely different from the first, with new kids and new talents. I met the director of the play, Madeleine, who was very helpful and understanding towards everyone. She made sure that I was involved and felt comfortable with the kids, which I did! I communicated with and helped the kids, taking pictures of their brilliant freeze frames in the play and noting everything that I observed. The session helped me connect with the kids, and experience how it feels as an adult to see the kids listen to each other’s ideas and develop them through their talent. I didn’t want the day to end, but it did and once again I walked home and wondered what the next day would hold.
Thursday 24th May
The morning was, as usual, beautiful and mesmerising – just like Half Moon. I spent half the day on the computer typing up this blog and writing my review of the Youth Theatre sessions. I was then given the opportunity to observe some technical work in the theatre, where they were rehearsing a show with a very nice lady. Just by observing her I could tell why her performance is so popular. She consistently enhanced her performance to the best of her ability, and rehearsed it again and again until it was perfect. One of my colleague had to organise a sound system for her where she could control her own sound system during her play and move around with it to perform in many other places. It was so outstanding to watch her be independent and memorise all of the lines, never falling out of character.
Before the end of the day I was given another great opportunity to visit a school down the street with Androulla and do a primary-to-secondary-school Transitions workshop. I loved it! We did some activities with the kids and helped them feel comfortable around us. We asked them a bit about what they thought secondary school would be like, and we told them that they shouldn’t be very nervous about this transition as it would work out well in the future. Androulla then offered for them to come Half Moon and experience a lot of activities exploring the primary-to-secondary-school transition, and most them wanted to come. Watching these children reminded me of my own transition and who I have become now. It’s a crazy journey but I am so happy that Half Moon is offering them this great opportunity to talk about it and perform a drama show about it to make the transition, and communicating with other students, a bit easier for them. I walked from the primary school (getting very lost and confused!) to the bus stop, and headed home thinking about the fact that the next day would be my last day at Half Moon…
Friday 25th May
This was my last day at Half Moon! First, I was given some evaluation papers to type up and organise. Later, I was dazzled when I heard that Half Moon is working on a show for teenagers about anxiety and other mental health problems. My colleague asked for my thoughts about a trailer he had made to encourage teenagers like me to come watch the play. The trailer was brilliant! I loved how the people in the trailer spoke in a way teenagers like me could relate to, and I believe that many people will come watch this show because the trailer is outstanding. Lastly, I took some pictures with the staff to remember this great experience and capture the memories forever.
This work experience at Half Moon has taught me more than I expected, and I enjoyed it very much. I am really going to miss the staff and the children a lot, but I will try my best to visit and volunteer here frequently, as Half Moon is a great place to feel free and relieve stress through experiencing unbelievable talents, joining fun workshops and witnessing outstanding art-work. I would recommend Half Moon to anyone trying to find work experience because the staff make you feel comfortable, safe and like you are one of them. I will miss this peaceful place a lot.
Sumaya Rahman came to us from Bow School (Tower Hamlets), 20th May – 25th May 2019.