Our thanks to Tring Park school for this update on what’s been happening since it closed its gates due to the coronavirus on Friday 20 March.
The building became eerily quiet – quieter even than during school holidays – with remaining staff staying more than two metres apart and not meeting in groups of more than two as directed.
Pupils left a week ago, unsure when they will all be together again and there was much anxiety amongst those who were expecting to take external exams in the summer so much reassurance has been necessary.
This week marked a new kind of beginning: our wonderful vocational and academic staff have launched a full programme of education (see above from our dance pupils). This will continue until the start of April when Tring Park’s spring term officially finishes for the Easter holiday. Along with other schools we currently do not know when we will be permitted to reopen our gates, however a full programme of academic and vocational teaching will continue remotely until that point. In addition to the remote teaching in all academic subjects and in Dance, Acting, Musical Theatre and Commercial Music, our teachers are giving individual online support to all our pupils for whom this kind of remote learning is quite new, whilst our pastoral and medical teams are available to talk directly to pupils who may be feeling anxious or who have individual concerns during these uncertain times.
Tring Park continues to be ‘open for business’ in this virtual world that we all find ourselves in and we look forward to the moment when we can open our doors safely to pupils, parents and staff and to welcome new pupils in September.
Please stay safe and stay home.
Sadly, our Young Dancers Show fell foul of the school closure. Before the closure Kipps, the New Half A Sixpence provided a wonderfully uplifting contribution to the Spring Term starring Jacob Edwards as Mr Kipps. Based on the H G Wells novel ‘The Story of a Simple Soul’ the writing team behind the stage version of Mary Poppins re-united to update this classic British musical which suited the cast to perfection.
Contemporary Theatre Festival 2020
This year’s Festival was a tour de force of modern theatre which drew in some appreciative audiences. First and foremost, this was a wonderful educational experience for Tring Park’s 6th Form Acting Course who rehearsed and performed seven complex plays all demanding emotional maturity and high levels of performance skills. This year’s plays were ‘B‘ by Guillermo Calderon; True, Dare Kiss by Debbie Horsfield; Woman in Mind by Alan Ayckbourn; Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller; Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen; The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca and Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore.
Supporting vulnerable refugees – our staff reach out
The world is currently in crisis and we are all having to deal with the effects of Covid-19 on our way of life even if we are not actually unwell. However, it is always worth remembering that there are people not very far from us who will be managing far less well than us because they do not have the support of a healthcare system or any of the other things we all rely on in difficult times.
Our Head of Dance Pianists, Caroline Winter and our Deputy Director of Drama Dominic Yeates, paid a visit to the refugee camp in Calais a few weeks ago (and before the Coronavirus struck). This is their story as told by Caroline:
Back in February myself and Mr Yeates took a take a day trip to France to volunteer for Care4Calais, a charity which delivers essential aid and support to refugees across Northern France and Belgium. Every day the volunteers head out from their warehouse in Sangatte and supply warm clothing, sleeping bags and tents to hundreds of refugees who are sleeping rough, and whose possessions are regularly confiscated by the police.
After distributing 250 snug packs (gloves, hat and snood), the team of 25 volunteers divided off into groups, assisting with bike repairs, sewing up holes in jackets, and setting up the generator so that phones could be charged – the refugees only lifeline to family back home or in the UK.
Tea, coffee and biscuits was served which provided an opportunity to chat with the refugees, and a game of football began with refugees and volunteers playing together. A portable barber’s shop was set up, enabling the refugees to cut each other’s hair. All of these acts are an essential part of our visit, a way of showing empathy and respect, which can be a rare thing for these vulnerable people.
Supporting the most vulnerable in our societies is more important now than ever during the current climate; a situation made worse given the lack of sanitary facilities and no access to healthcare.
For more information on how you can help please follow this link.
What are they doing now?
Here’s what some Tring Park alumni are up to:
- Joe Ashman – can currently be seen on the BBC iPlayer exclusive drama Get Even
- Wesley Branch – joined Northern Ballet
- Paje Campell – in the new London production of The Prince of Egypt
- Emma Ernest – graduated from RADA last year – her first professional engagement as part of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Globe on Tour
- Alexander Fadayiro – joined Ballet Black as apprentice artist
- Connor Jones – graduated – first professional engagement as Grantaire in UK touring production of Les Miserables
- Renee Lamb – in UK premiere of Be More Chill at London’s Other Place
- Amani Lia – playing Martha in UK Disney Channel’s Penny on Mars
- Laurel Marks – playing Virginia Cherrill in Chaplin, Birth of a Champ at London’s Jack Studio Theatre
- Eleanor Marsh – secured a position as Student Apprentice Dancer with Dance Company, Wales
- Johnny Sachon – produced his first film Solitary