A huge congratulations to all the students and staff involved in the outstanding production of this year’s senior play, Boudica. Directed by Johanna Egar this intense, hard-hitting play, based on the history as recorded by Tacitus, was breathtaking.
“The performances were outstanding, complemented by staging, tech, and all that the Burrell theatre and those who cultivate its life are able to conjure. The maturity of the themes was matched by the maturity of the pupils exploring them in their acting. I do want to give a real shout out to all involved, which includes staff as well as pupils, and those of you who have spent time and energy ferrying your children to and fro, and supporting them with the resilience required to deliver such a show and manage the wider pressures on their lives at the same time.” Andy Johnson, Truro School Head.
In her Director’s Note, Johanna wrote:
When we began to rehearse Boudica, a common question amongst the cast was, ‘Is my character a goodie or a baddie?’. As discussions and rehearsals progressed, the difficulty in answering this question became increasingly a focus on what, for us, this show is about. The answer – both simple and complex at the same time – is that there are no ‘bad’ or ‘good’ characters in the world of this play. Horrific abuse and reprisals are experienced and enacted by Romans and Britons alike – and it is only when the Roman Sylvia and British Alonna talk to one another in a central scene – and hear one another for the first time – that they realise they are not so different after all.
We also concluded that what the characters experience in their world of Ancient Briton is not so very different from the huge and pressing issues of our own world. When Sejanus, a civilian working for the retreating Roman forces cries out, ‘What about us?’, we were horribly reminded of Allied Forces withdrawing from Afghanistan; when the women of the play try to process what has happened to them, we can’t help but think about what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal world; when Blodwynn shouts, “This land is ours!” we are forced to ask by what rights she makes that claim.
This production has been a beast to rehearse in almost every sense. We have battled with the epic scale of the themes and issues present, with a global pandemic, with all the demands on the time of the cast who are not just actors, but also students, musicians, sportspeople – and who wear a host of other hats beside. I couldn’t be prouder of what they have all achieved.
Furthermore, I couldn’t be more grateful to our wonderful team of creatives led by our visionary designer, Sandra Goodenough; our brilliantly skilled, generous and ever-patient fight director, Simon Johns; our stage manager and general miracle-worker, Matt Sinkins; the expertise of our technical managers, Swenson Kearey and Sam Kemp; and our producer, Ben Oldfield, whose support, continuous supply of cups of tea, chocolate biscuits, and faith in the project has kept us all going.
For me, the greatest triumph of our battle is that we have listened to one another’s stories – and, as we have reached back across almost two millennia and heard the voice of our past mingle with those of our present we have come to the realisation that in order to survive and thrive in the journey ahead of us, we need to acknowledge our common humanity and embrace our beautiful, fractured world with empathy, tolerance, understanding – and the recognition that it is through listening, and truly hearing, that we mend.