Long time since last post. My last two stints here have been fairly manic, long hours at work, lots of issues to sort, or at least move forwards, and very little social life. The good news is that having got rid of the professional actors we used to do the summer sessions, and who brought a whole lot of attitude with them, we have got a whole new crew. These are young Syrians, eight male, four female, who have been recruited and trained from scratch in three weeks. The results have been marvellous. The first week of real performance, their third training week, started with a visit on day one from the Minister of Culture, which was very welcome but unsettling. Then we found that numbers trying to get into the performances got larger and larger. Towards the end we virtually had a riot on our hands as we turned away disappointed families. The new crew took all this in their stride, performed well, ran the activities brilliantly, and even did some television appearances as well. They're keen, get on well together, and love what they're doing. What a pleasant change from the professionals. One visitor to the activities could not believe that all the crew members could do all the different roles.
For this new phase we have changed the teenage activity substantially, and it is now much more dynamic and enjoyable. We have also separated it entirely from the other age groups, so the teenagers get a whole two hours of debate, newspaper making, video work.
The trainer, Adam Senior from the UK, is just extraordinary. He has taken a collection of individuals, given them techniques and confidence, and taken them to places beyond anything they imagined they were capable of. Fantastic to see in action, real tears in the eyes stuff.