Something in the Air - Part 2 Minimize

Wow! That was something very special. I will unashamedly bang our own drum in this blog because the “Something-in-the-air” shows were a truly amazing experience.

The production gave different things to different children (and their parents), very much depending on their individual needs. So there were children with autism who usually NEVER sit still, quietly settled into their flying nest chairs, completely relaxed and mesmerised by the aerial display. There were children in wheelchairs who were beaming with joy up on their platforms whilst bouncing, twisting and swinging with the music. There was the boy who got very upset initially and then, once in his chair and dangling in the air, was so happy and calm that his parents came back for another go the next day. And this time he knew what was coming and was dancing with joy whilst waiting for the performance to start.

Rose, our fundraiser and volunteer on the day, whispered in my ear after several performances: “My cheeks are hurting because I can’t stop smiling!” Clearly many of the parents swinging in a nest chair right next to their children felt the same way, sometimes it was hard to tell who was enjoying it more, child or parent. Or maybe it was the fact they were experiencing something so unique and special together, a rare experience for many of them, I guess.

Favourite moments?

There were so many. For a lot of children it was probably the name song that the performers sang to each individual child at the end of the show with moving mirrors reflecting their faces and all the emphasis on them for a whole song. I will not forget the look on some of the children’s faces during “their” song in a hurry.

So we are left with feedback forms full of words like “amazing”, “fantastic”, “perfect in every way”, a very good feeling in our tummies and the need to say a few big thank yous:

  • To the staff and crew of Oily Cart, who were amazing at every show and always tried to ensure every child’s needs were met and catered for, also when that meant adapting the performance or making changes to the seating arrangements half way through the show.
  • To St. Benedicts School in Ealing who not only let us use their school hall for free but provided some extremely helpful pairs of hands in the shape of Howard and Andrew and the ladies at reception who all helped with any small or (very) big issues arising (like the lorry with the equipment not fitting through the gate, complicated heating and lighting arrangements, storage of hoists etc).
  • To everyone who provided the funds that enabled us to make it possible: the Pathways Charity (Evening Standard, The Big Lottery Fund and the Office of Civil Society), Ealing Council, Barclays Bank and the local Rotary Club.
  • To Springhallow School, Mandeville School and Allenby SEN Unit who were happy to promote the show to their families. Some sent a few members of staff along to watch. They must have liked it, as one of them insisted on filling in a feedback form herself in case the parents hadn’t been enthusiastic enough yet.
  • And last but not least to Sue, our Project Manager, who had the idea and was determined to make it happen. Now all she has to deal with are the many and urgent requests by parents to do it again soon…

The only negative side of this type of show was possibly that we weren’t allowed to use a flash during the actual performance. It would indeed have been very disruptive, so we fully understood but this made it very difficult to take good pictures. I’ll send a few of the half decent ones to Nick to attach to this blog but don’t think they will truly convey the experience. You’ll have to imagine it.

Picture of Ockham's Razor
happy people

We are still smiling when talking about it. I hope the families who came to enjoy it are, too!

Brigitte writing about Life at P.E.S.T.S on 16 April 2012

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