Last week I attended a memorial for my first ever manager, David Johnston, a pioneer in the field of Theatre-in-Education. It led to some reflection on my part that I wanted to share.
I worked with David at Roundabout TIE in Nottingham, my first job after leaving University, for which I was paid the princely sum of £7400 per annum to provide admin support. I was so thrilled to be working in theatre, it didn’t matter what I was doing or the amount I was paid!
These were exciting times, made more so by David, who gave me so many amazing opportunities to do things over and above my job description, from attending auditions in London, watching rehearsals, writing education packs for new TIE productions and attending exciting post-show parties and karaokes! He believed in people’s potential and trusted them to create and inspire through his leadership.
It was David’s vision in applying for a grant to do some innovative drug education work that set me on a different career path, into Personal, Social and Health Education and, over the last 18 years, Relationships and Sex Education. I still love to use drama and fun, engaging activities to give children and young people accessible learning experiences.
At the memorial last week, and previously at the funeral, it was clear the impact that David, and his work, had on so many. I count myself among these. The principles so well modeled by David have continued to guide me in my career. It is important for children to have opportunities to be creative and to learn how to think, not just what to think. They need knowledge but also the skills to use this to best advantage and lead healthy, happy lives. We should provide them with a range of learning experiences that ignite their passion, wonder, and creativity and allow them to question what is right and wrong and the world around them.
David’s work lives on in the people he inspired, I hope that I can similarly inspire people.
Rest in peace David, you inspired me. Thank you xx