Katie Butler, Head Teacher, Bawdsey
I could list a vast amount of superlatives about the show but mostly for me it was inspiring, an audio and visual treat and it was very moving- that we have had an opportunity to be involved from our tiny school in Bawdsey. If we can ever be involved in anything again please think of us, or if we can support you in any way please let us know. It if I can personally return your kindness.
Mark Krisson, Head Teacher, Woodbridge Primary School
I tried to complete the survey monkey but was unable to because it wouldn’t allow me to score 7 for everything in the rankings. In all seriousness, I am unable to put any of the factors below the others, they were all powerfully important and delightful. This is the comment I had made in the first text box, and I hope you are able to use it as part of your feedback:
The show was breathtaking. The sense of community from the cast was incredible; the children were not just ‘add-ons’; they were clearly deeply involved, and the feel of the village on stage was utterly convincing.
The colour themes of the costumes were eye-catching and delightfully interesting. The personification of the river was outstanding and the joust between fire and water was extremely creative; as was the dancing throughout. The two parts, on the riverside and in The Riverside were beautifully balanced and I loved the sense of culture, sophistication and confidence that the cast and setting brought to the 1930s. It was a triumph.
If you’d like me to speak with anyone from the Arts Council to confirm that, then I am happy to do so.
A Primary school head teacher
Just to say congratulations on a really fantastic project – I have heard some really positive things in the local community
Alison Ward, Music Teacher, Bawdsey Primary School
… we got in and very much enjoyed it. Finn wasn’t singing on the Tuesday night, but I heard him sing in the first half (from the path next to the river) at the dress rehearsal. A great achievement for a 9 year old who has not previously done anything like it.
Eliza also really enjoyed being part of the band -…
I was very pleased that 6 people who are still at, or who have attended Bawdsey School were involved in the final production: Finn (Y5), Scarlett, Saul and Megan ( Y7 at FHS), Eliza ( Y11 FHS), and Rhian Roberts – Finn’s class teacher at Bawdsey!
I must also thank you for the great write-up about Bawdsey School in the programme. We are an extremely small school right at the end of the peninsular, so it is lovely that our little part in the development of the production was acknowledged.
I think that the whole venture was a success; the performances of the local children and adults along with the professional singers were excellent and I hope that Jana in particular was thrilled to see her music come alive.
Woodbridge Primary School newsletter (written by Caroline Moore, Teacher)
So very, very proud of the children who undertook their final performance of The King’s River on Saturday. They have shown all of the qualities that we value at our school. They attended rehearsals at weekends, working tirelessly to take part in a stunning production at the Riverside. They have had the opportunity to work with a professional team, many who are resident in Woodbridge. The children’s attitude to all the challenges that this has entailed, has been exemplary.
Over the last 18 months the project has involved visits and workshops with the composer, Jana Rowland and the Co-Producers. The Sae Wylfing replica came last summer along with a team of actors. This part of the community project comes to a close with the final performance of The King’s River but there is more to come.
ADVISORS, SPONSORS, etc
Dr. Scilla Dyke, MBE – has acted as a guide/advisor for TKR
Just to confirm that I have completed the online questionnaire in some detail… Although I wasn’t able to add the absolutely crucial points of my heartfelt respect and congratulations for all the creatives… the integrity, tenacity and detail of the creative output and outreach of the Kings River quite simply outstanding. I also omitted!! to include that my observations throughout the questionnaire were from lived knowledge and understanding as an artist, producer, academic, curator, author, animateur and choreographer…
….Wow! Wow! Wow… simply sensational… … truly sensational. Stunningly beautiful and a true example of community engagement and creativity… the power of community engagement resonated … in every sinew of each and every performer… the entire cast.
The arresting image of the longboat against the tide mill, mudflats, the tide slowly rising during the performance, the east Anglian sky vast, light constantly changing during the performance to naturally illuminate the inspired and magnificent consumes … the breeze gently caressing audience and performers alike enhancing the experience and engagement.. all silhouetted against the seemingly colour washed cladding of the regenerated construction … the leads so strong evoking empathy… passion … all emotions bombarded… the cast growing second by second in confidence and power .. the jolly and real passion exuded by the volunteers… and the orchestra..
… even the rather unexpected audience participation in the opening moments… …
The promenade was magnificent… families chatted … laughter, tears, hugs… even a train .. amazing street food, simply the best Suffolk ice cream, tea… the senses touched again… the mingling of audience with the core creators the lifeblood of the The King’s River…
The pace and production of the Riverside Part 2 … contrasting and equally fabulous.
This was quite simply the finest example of true community cross generational engagement in a modern day opera… music, dance, theatre, art, woven into a work that engaged, touched the senses and lingers… resonating long after the curtain calls…
… a delightfully and highly produced souvenir programme…
You – yes! Sam and Nancy, Nancy and Sam both blew me away as Producers … just stunning…I imagine a documentary montage …
My heartfelt congratulations to you both and to all… it was so so much more than we could ever have imagined… and I am humbled to have travelled the journey with you…
My love and utter respect and admiration..
From a member of one of our sponsors
By the time you receive this you will probably have had the last performance of The King’s River and, hopefully, started to relax in the knowledge that your team could not have done more to make The King’s River a roaring success. I have spoken to numerous volunteers and friends in Woodbridge who had a mesmerizing evening. It was inspired to have two locations for the performance and the buzz in the audience spoke volumes. My belief is that community theatre of this type helps to make a story much more emotional and personal.
Thank you for raising the profile of the ship, waterfront, Woodbridge and of course Sutton Hoo. We really appreciated being given tickets for Tuesday night and as you can tell had a wonderful evening.
David Chittock, Ensors
We thoroughly enjoyed the performance last Thursday and you and your team should be really proud of what you have achieved.
Lucy Bayliss, Dance East
Thank you so much for inviting me to see the Kings River world premiere yesterday evening – I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening and was really impressed at what an epic event it was that you have pulled off. The audience were really warm and supportive and the performers were evidently having the best time. And what a joy to have sold out all five performances!
Congratulations to creatives and crew for a really significant local achievement and best wishes for the rest of the week
Julian and Sarah Royle, sponsor
Congratulations. A most moving and memorable production that has revived the heart of Woodbridge Riverside mixing memory and mystery, history and harmony. A wonderful achievement.
Andrew Longbon, sponsor
I thought ‘The King’s River’ was fantastic. Clearly a huge amount of work and skill involved and all should, justifiably, feel proud of their efforts. For my very small part, I am so glad that Longbon & Company sponsored the production. It is great to be involved with something of such high quality, whilst being local. Thank you for the opportunity.
THOSE INVOLVED (PERFORMED, VOLUNTEERS, ETC)
A young performer
I enjoyed it very much and want to do it again! … And I enjoyed the party too.
Nick Harrison, performer
Best wishes and thanks again for all your hard work – it was certainly one of the most enjoyable events I have ever been involved in.
Sarah Evelegh, knitting volunteer
First of all so many congratulations on such a huge success – a real tour de force entirely due to your original idea and taking it forward. Everyone who was able to get to a performance is full of praise for the whole production – a real team effort by so many people.
Kathy Vaughan, costumes and chaperone volunteer
…Once again, I was delighted to be able to help in a small way, so thank you for the experience of seeing this wonderful pageant take shape from its infancy to the spectacular show that I attended on
from a chaperone
Very many thanks for the invitation and for having me on the team. I did so enjoy the whole venture and you are all to be heartily congratulated
Marion Lyon (co-ordinator for costume volunteers)
How wonderful the costumes looked, how wonderful the production was, how worthwhile all the effort you all put in .I went on the last day to see The King’s River from the front rather than back stage and was excited to see the costumes as the audience saw them. It has been hard work for all but my goodness how it paid off in such a moving experience.
from one of our professional team
Thank you for involving me in this amazingly ambitious project. It has been a great endeavour for all participants and has brought joy to their families and friends. I have connected with professionals from a different family to those I would normally work with, which has been a delight, and I have re-connected with my heritage, my roots.
From a parent of a young performer
Thank you all so much for giving Rufus this wonderful experience.
Zoe Todd (Principal)
Just wanted to say thank you again and say once more how amazed I am at what you accomplished in such a short period of time! It has been an absolute joy working with you and meeting such fun creative people.
Tom Walker, parent
…I personally think that it’s going to be something that the children will remember for the rest of their lives. Thanks from me also!
And his parents….just a note to say how thrilled we were to see Katie taking part in such a polished performance. The hard work that went into it was clearly well worth it. We are sure that Katie will be able to look back with a great deal of pride and say to herself “I was a part of that”. I don’t know how activities like this rate with Ofsted but can you thank the school,on behalf of two very proud grandparents, for giving Katie the chance to be connected with a first rate performance, Dorothy and Gerry.
Bryan Knibbs (part of WRT, and enabled Sae Wylfing, the Anglo Saxon ship to be part of scene)
Fabulous picture of our little girl, thank you (note: Sae Wylfing)
But more importantly Thank You and Nancy and your wonderful team for staging a brilliiant and at times emotional show….. It was a fabulous pageant musical produced and performed with great aplomb by all concerned
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You should be tremendously proud of what you have achieved.
Rachael Tecklenberg, Chorus Master (of adult singers in Part 1)
All I can say is that I was completely blown away by your wonderful singing and stage presence, drawing the audience into your storyline at each turn of the score!
I am probably biased, but in my humble opinion, the strength of the adult chorus was the backbone and supporting structure of Part 1, which all the other elements, solos, dances, acting, children’s performances were woen through and launched into a vivid, imaginative re-telling. It is truly wonderful to see such a mixed group of ages and abilities, young and old (alright not so old!), novice and accomplished musicians coming together to enjoy this wonderful experience. Many thanks to Nancy, Sam, Jana and Sylvia for getting me involved in the beginning!
It is wonderful to finally get to see Part 2, and the quality of the performance was outstanding…
From a performer
..what an absolute delight and privilege it has been to be a part of The King’s River Dream! I know you are thrilled after an enormous amount of hard work, as to how it has all come together, and I, like everyone else have enjoyed a special and memorable experience.
Gill Hargraves, costume and chaperone volunteer
I just wanted to write and thank you, and also Sam, for all your amazing inspiration and very hard work to produce The King’s River. It was wonderful to play a very small part with making the costumes and also chaperoning and dressing the children. It was such fun and an insight into how much work was involved. My husband and I were enthralled by the performance on Wednesday night.
From a parent and chaperone volunteer
Thank you so much for giving (my child)and me the opportunity to be involved with this fabulous production. We’ve had a great time and it’s been a privilege to meet and work with such a great team of people.
Rita James, steward volunteer
It was in October 2015 when you first told me of your hopes and dreams of creating a community based production to celebrate our local heritage – and wow, what a fantastic achievement it has been! I want to thank you so very, very much for the wonderful experience you’ve given to us all. I know you and Sam had the help of a very supportive team but you were the driving force and The King’s River leaves a legacy which had touched so many people, especially the children; their lives will have been enriched and changed forever. Your thoughtful consideration for everything, your concern for everyone and your attention to detail – done with so much love – made us all feel part of something very special.
From an usher
This just to congratulate you – and ALL your team – for the wonderful production. You should all be very proud of yourselves. It was brilliant and totally unique. Everyone who performed did such a good job. If you do produce a DVD in the future, we would be very interested as I would love our family to see it.
Once again, well done!
Janet King (sister of a performer from London)
…But really this is to feed back some of the impressions we got: people arriving at the post-production party – two in particular had only been in Woodbridge for a couple of years, and so much appreciated being involved (usher and chaperone); another parent who said he didn’t like musicals, had then been overwhelmed by the performance; families arriving keen to find the pool, were amazed to see the food and drinks laid out in such a large space. No-one wanted to go home and that surely signals solid friendships made over a long period. You’ve been a major part of a community project which may have now ended, but something else got created along the way which will last a long time!
I have Warriors, dancers, Healing Women, River, King, Cwaen, and Prince all etched in my memory against a backdrop of Sae Wylfing with Sutton Hoo beyond – not easily forgotten!
From a member of the audience (a letter to Andrew Tidmarsh, Director)
I had to write and say how marvellous your production of The King’s River was – and what an effect it has had on the audience. We were all overwhelmed!
My husband and I were both born in Woodbridge and are now in our 90s. I have always been involved in so many “projects” – but have never had such an inspiring evening before, and am amazed that this has happened here!.
Many of our friends were involved but you, and the other professionals…have somehow achieved it.
Many sincere congratulations.
Mike Simpson, Just 42 (a thank you letter for the gift of 10 complimentary tickets to Just 42)
….thank you for an opportunity to see this wonderful production…
On the evening I attended the weather was ideal for the outdoors part of the presentation and it was so meaningful listening to and seeing the portrayal of King Raedwald’s funeral whilst gazing across the River to where he was originally buried all those centuries ago.
To then link it to 1939 and the discovery of the grave and the Sutton Hoo treasure was a masterstroke and the whole team deserve congratulations for their ability to bring this to life in such an imaginative way.
Stella Houlder, friend of a performer and co-producer; lives in London
I’m still stunned! What a project, what a vision, what an achievement. The King’s River was and is a triumph and well worth the 200 miles Bruce travelled last night! We were all enthralled and felt very proud of you and of Pete’s delightful performances….. Many congratulations to all who collaborated and shared in the creative endeavour. I’m sure it will provide one of life’s very good memories, and set the new Whisstocks redevelopment on the right path for many years to come.
Linda Davidson, friend of a performer and co-producer; lives in Eastbourne
…we are still totally stunned by the wonderful King’s River….
Janet Harrison, sister of performer; she wrote this as a Letter to the Editor of the EADT
I travelled from Hampshire to attend this production principally to witness my brother who, at the age of 62, was to “walk the boards” for the first time ever. He thought he would be an accompaniment to the main action onstage, but soon discovered he was to be costumed, choreographed and required to speak the odd line – everyone involved was to be featured.
He felt both excited and very nervous – this was some responsibility, and the longer everyone worked on the piece, the more responsible he felt not to let everyone else down. For me, The King’s River encapsulated those qualities and features that epitomise the very best of community projects.
Professional experts in writing, composing, production, design and performance – almost exclusively with local connections – created, developed and staged the piece. Local people of all ages – amateur actors, singers, musicians, dancers – were drawn into the process, trained in new skills, rehearsed over several months, and finally entrusted with the job of communicating both historical narrative and re-enactment to an audience of predominantly local people. The final result was visually and vocally stunning.
This production reminded me of Peter Shaffer’s note prefacing The Royal Hunt of The Sun: “My hope was always to realize on stage a kind of total theatre, involving not only words but rites, mimes, masks and magics.”
The King’s River had all these elements aplenty. The audience was enraptured throughout. We witnessed events from both 7th Century East Anglia and 1939 when the treasure at Sutton Hoo was discovered. Not only were we entertained and informed, above all, we were left with an overriding feeling of the collective pride felt by the people of Woodbridge in their heritage.
Thank you so much for a wonderful evening.
From a member of the audience with a background in theatre-related events
What a triumph…..haven’t had such a profoundly moving theatre experience like that ever before
What am amazing feat for you all….thanks to everyone involved for all that power and thought and skill and research and words and music and dance and exhilarating timing that made a truly wonderful evening.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to Jana in the Theatre!
Bring it back again soon, it cannot just vanish ?
Marion Wells (local poet and playwright)
It was a real treat to attend The King’s River on Saturday. You did a brilliant job of holding the vision for what you wanted to create and had great team working with you. I’m very impressed. Well done you and all involved in the project. It will be very memorable to all who were involved and in the audiences.
Sally Campbell (accountant with local clients)
I was very impressed by the Kings River production…..I thought it was absolutely magical; it was great having such a contrast between the two halves and the performance space at Whisstocks worked really well. Even the birdsong was perfectly on cue!
Carole Goddard, friend who lives in Essex
Just a quick line to let you know how much we both enjoyed ‘The King’s River’. We can both be pretty critical so please be reassured by our mutual enjoyment!
Neither Bryony nor I expected it to be so well done. It was clearly a whole community project and the children were a delight. (We have both worked with children of that age a great deal so we know how difficult they can be!) The music was well written and the children clearly enjoyed singing it. The adults were very professional and the printed programme was excellent as well as reasonably priced..
The fact that we were not from the local community did not lessen our enjoyment at all. If I have any criticism it is only that at times the storyline was not self-explanatory and I referred to my programme a few times throughout the performance for clarification. I was pleased that I had read the resume of the play beforehand and I think that perhaps a resume should have been given out with every ticket with instructions to read it! I understand now why your friend had asked who the king’s spirit was and by telling us about that comment we were forewarned, so we did know! I am not absolutely sure that we would have realised otherwise.
We had such a lovely time at the show and really enjoyed ourselves – how lucky that it didn’t rain!