Roughshod on the Road: new friends in Newark

Pippa GibbAs shoddies we meet new people wherever we go on tour, and sometimes these become new friends, but Newark seems to be a place where loads of people became friends to us!

We were the Theatre Company in Residence at Newark Academy for our 2nd week in Newark, how exciting! Our friendly face here was Ally Sadler, the Head of Drama, who had organised everything for our school visit. Our workshops with the Year 7 & 8 were made all the easier thanks to Ally’s excellent introductions between us & the pupils. She looked after us wonderfully, and it made it so much easier to develop a quick rapport with the student, which really got them thinking about global responsibility, positive action & christian faith.

Some Year 10 GCSE drama students also sat in on our sessions there, and so Chris & Georgia became fun & friendly faces to us too. Thomas was a pupil we met at the start of our stay, through the Salvation Army, and he kept appearing to say hello & how much he loved our sketches! Then there was Ollie – a youth worker at a youth club we visited, and he came to a few Salvation Army events we did & turned out to be a teaching assistant at the school too, so he kept popping in and showing his friendship & support that way.

After a show at YOI Swinfen Hall, we found ourselves singing along with a couple of inmates – one on guitar. As well as classics such as Oasis’s Wonderwall, they also sang us a worship song they’d written together.

And of course our base organiser, Major Tim Justice, looked after us so well throughout the fortnight. He kept appearing with little treats for us… so, after watching Mike’s personal story he appeared with a David Seaman ‘Jeepers Keepers’ DVD for him (this went down with him a storm, unsurprisingly), not to mention chocolate cake & an Eddie Stobard ‘Trucking Songs’ CD collection (well you need good road music for those long stints in the van!) Tim really went above and beyond, opening up the Salvation Army Church Centre for us to use after our days’ work, for relaxing, bible study and…

…A visit from old friends too: director Paul Birch & Bernadette Burbridge! They brought endless delight to us in the form of 5 bubble machines! We’re still (forever) blowing bubbles & confusing innocent passers-by of the bubbly van. Shame to leave the Midlands, but onto Upminster next which is Mike’s hometown, with many new friends & old friends to meet.

Pippa Gibb