Dear Rob and Paul,
I have just come home after watching the first performance of ‘This Turbulent Priest’. It was stunning on every level. The setting in Conquest House was not just historically the most appropriate place – (being the probable actual location of the knights’ overnight stay before the assassination of Becket) but also its ancient, flinty and echoing walls seemed redolent with historical associations themselves – you made them part of the play. Watching this fascinating play in such an extraordinary place was a real privilege. Your acting was just great. You almost immediately and skilfully drew us into the relationship and the issues of identity, trust, love and jealousy between you and I could see that the rest of the audience was captivated too. Accessible in language and because of its physicality to children of primary and secondary age I can see how the play could stimulate really powerful discussions about friendship and values like trust, courage and consistency as well as the corrupting nature of power and ambition.
The play itself is so well written. It is historically very accurate being based on some of the original sources from monks who lived in Canterbury at the time. It kept our interest fizzing, as it explored a wide range of emotions and situations common to many friendships and offered any number of opportunities to enter personally into the dilemmas that arise.
I wish you both the greatest of luck with this production and know that schools will just love it – especially if you give children the chance to talk to you and question you afterwards. I can easily imagine teachers producing literacy activity sheets and even staging debates arising from the major human issues dealt with in the play….and what a lovely way to learn history!
I also loved Sam’s music throughout – never distracting but always providing just the right amount of atmosphere.
Well done all
Dr Jonathan Barnes
Dear Mr McCrea,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting St Thomas' Catholic Primary School on Monday 12th June. "This Turbulent Priest" based on the life of St Thomas Becket, which Key Stage 2 pupils had the privilege to see, fully engaged their interest.
The story was powerfully and accurately portrayed in a creative way, with built in humour. It gave pupils opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the King and Bishop (state and church). This play was ideal for our KS2 pupils. They were able to ask and answer questions surrounding the characters at the end of the performance. I can envisage this play acting as a great stimulus for further work deepening our pupils' knowledge and historical skills.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this play to other schools.
Miss L. M. D'Agostini BA. Ed. Hons. NPQH
Headteacher at St Thomas Catholic Primary School
"I felt transported back in time, anxiously witnessing the growing tension between Becket and the King, as if it was actually happening. The performance is still vividly in my mind days later."