September 29, 2012
The Helen Foundation provided financial awards to 8 children in the Teignmouth area, whose family circumstances made them eligible for a bursary, thus allowing them to take part in an exciting musical drama project over the summer. Composer and Musical Director David Haines wrote a musical drama called ‘The PuzzleJigs’ that tells the story of a living jigsaw puzzle and the traumas that result when one piece appears to not fit and another goes missing. After the breakdown of the jigsaw society, it is rescued only by learning to recognise each piece for its own value, and by understanding that society functions best when it embraces difference and diversity.
“After our two mainly-music days in July, Director Leigh Toney and I began our five days of intensive staging rehearsals on The PuzzleJigs excited but nervous: could we really pull off staging a show written for up to 46 characters with a cast of just fourteen children and teenagers aged from 7 to 14?
We were especially delighted to witness the friendships that grew up over the week, across the full age range and regardless of gender or background. The sense of mutual support and teamwork was palpable, and it was evident that participants were learning lessons about life, confidence and working together that they would carry with them far beyond the confines of the Carlton Theatre.
With refreshments, programmes and other support provided by South Devon Singers, the workshop reached its triumphant culmination on Friday evening in the hour-long performance. The performers rose to the occasion brilliantly, singing, acting, dancing with poise, commitment and boundless energy. Leigh and I were proud of what they (and we) had achieved in so little time. And we share the gratitude of those young people whose participation was made possible through the generous bursaries offered by The Helen Foundation.”