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Never Work with Animals or Children

They say “never work with animals or children". I have done both, so this piece of work, only with children, should be a doddle! Right? Except the cast includes several 5 year olds and a 4 year old who snuck in because he was funny.

A curious weekend as we set to work on The Museum of (my) Childhood returning to our childhood playroom with a sense of purpose. Memories of Kerplunk, MouseTrap and board games… or “bored games”. I was a little disappointed not to find these, but hope they found a home. But my dolls house, now emptied of a family of mismatched frogs, is now ready to be a film star.

Sam Keston Dolls House

This is a curious project and falls somewhere between art, a school project for junior students of the School, and some kind of “putting to bed” of an instruction I was offered up by my mother in a dream shortly after her passing (believe what you will it arrived with me in the form of lyrics I had never before heard, but were apparently well known to her, and were unquestionably her advice).

So, after a lot of chuckling, my sidekick sister jumped in to raid the costume rooms of our mother’s eccentric collection to bring this piece of (is it) art to life. I might add that even as adults these rooms were “out of bounds” unless all items were listed , so ransacking them with our heavy hands has been something close to blasphemy, although my naughtier spirit has enjoyed making a mess and not having to tidy up. 

Phil, my loyal husband and cameraman, has reliably joined the party and as the ideas have poured out, helped to hone a piece that I believe will achieve its mission. Yesterday Colin the Musical Director at the school worked his magic with the children and by lunchtime the young voices were mastered and Colin was able to go home to his family while we created the look book for 40 children, which includes 1970’s girls and boys (like those I remember clearly from my childhood) and dolls house maids, cooks and chimney sweeps who come to life. I am explaining this because I don’t wish to take credit for what is not mine. Phil tells me I should acknowledge my projects, but it takes a team, and let’s face it…if it ain’t great, then we can share the humiliation too ! My sister was quick to remind me that I get her into a lot of (creative) scrapes. I chuckle, because I have a love-hate relationship with this unquestionably youngest child part of my character. She really isn’t wrong, but the nature of “art” surely is that it involves a new vision. I am hoping that it will entertain but regardless I can see the joy and fresh air it is bringing to the space.


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