When I set out in my career all those years ago, I had no idea that one day I would have the privilege of working with so many creatively talented young people, whose zest for life and willingness to tackle the various challenges I give them, is truly inspirational. I reflect on this as I watch this year’s group of Drama Masters students from Rhodes University exploring issues surrounding their image and identity. They take it seriously, they do what I ask and they do it well, and in the process they learn a lot, both about themselves and each other. What more could a teacher ask for? It is a perfect way for this new group, who will be working together for the next two years, to bond, understand and respect one another. (Click to enlarge the images)
The group are young, enthusiastic and have clearly done their homework, for the discussion that arises from the text I have asked them to read reveals that they have gone far below the surface. This is a good place to start, for this workshop requires that superficiality be left at the door. As the process begins, I watch the anxiety diminishing, as each of the students settles into their space and confronts the tasks before them. As always, the air of fun camaraderie permeates the room, ensuring that the rest will be plain sailing.
By the final day, with the work now finished, the students introduce and share their creations. It is a time of wonder as the others in the group get to hear the stories that surround the making of the shoes and have a chance to inspect them. It is clear that the soles that emerge from the workshop, are an accurate portrayal of the souls who conceived and produced them.
Once again, I am awed by the magic of creativity, in its ability to overtake a situation in ways that I could never have predicted. The group arrives, they are a little anxious for they have no idea what will be expected of them. The space, ambient and supportive is ready for them, as am I, although I too have no idea what will come from our meeting. But I have faith in these bright young souls before me and trust that the creative process will take them to the place where they need to be. This workshop never fails to surprise me. It just keeps getting better and stronger and more determined to touch the lives of young people who are on the brink of launching out into the world. It will help them, it will guide them and it will help them to know themselves. I can never predict what course the workshop will take, for each time it is different, depending upon the way the group unknowingly takes it. Like all good creative projects, it is an intangible force that carries us all along for the ride and leaves us in a better place than we were before the journey started.