This year saw us visiting our favourite theatre, the Minack, over and over and over again! An open air amphitheatre, built against the rocky granite cliffs of Porthcurno and overlooking the sea, this is truly a special place to go if you ever have the opportunity! As well as having the pleasure of performing to parents and family there in February, we also took many excursions to watch plays there over the summer… we saw such delights as ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘A Comedy of Errors’ by Shakespeare, as well as enjoying more contemporary work, such as ‘Goodnight, Mister Tom’ and ‘Treasure Island’! Before the performances begin, it is traditional to bring a picnic of cornish pasties and enjoy eating dinner overlooking the sea!
As well as our full length courses, we also run shorter weekend ones, to tie into term-times at school. Throughout this year we held a trio of courses looking at the lives of Victorian children through the eyes of one of our most beloved authors, Charles Dickens. Using a different novel over each weekend, we were able to dissect and analyse the historical and cultural issues surrounding childhood in the Victorian age; a subject that Dickens was a great spokesman for. The books we studied were ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘David Copperfield’. Do get in touch if you would like to know about our upcoming weekend courses!
In August, we held our second Animal Worlds course here at Novel English. This time, we explored the world through the eyes of horses whilst looking at the classic novel ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell. This was one of our most exciting courses of the summer, as we had a lot of new faces attend! It turns out that Cornwall is the perfect place to be to take part in a course such as this, as we got the opportunity to visit many different equestrian sites around the county! We are lucky enough to be situated just down the road from The Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary, where we spent an afternoon seeing miniature ponies and learning about the work the sanctuary does. We were also lucky enough to be able to visit a farm with Shire horses and many wonderful examples of 19th Century wagons and traps! The course was topped off with a visit to a local stables where the children had a riding lesson!
We are very proud of our garden here at Novel English; and we are always looking for new inspiration to improve its charms! Recently we have built a spiral herb garden and have also installed a beautiful angel under the bush where the tame robin sings…
This year, we wanted to develop the perfect summer course, based all around gardens and their infinite magical properties…and the Gardens of Magic course was born! We looked at two of our very favourite novels about gardens: ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett and ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ by Philippa Pearce.
The participants had the opportunity to build their own mini magical gardens and, over an afternoon tea, perform excerpts from the books to parents and family on the last day. The perfect summer course indeed!
Jane Austen is one of our favourite authors here at Novel English! Therefore, we couldn’t allow the 200 year anniversary of her death go by without constructing a special weekend course based all around her life and her wonderful works of fiction. Happily, we also had the opportunity to visit the Minack Theatre to watch a production of Pride and Prejudice (her most famous novel of all!)
We know the summer has truly begun when we host our annual Midsummer course here at Novel English! This year, we had a special one night jaunt into the world of Shakespeare’s most whimsical and hilarious play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream! What other text to look at during the Solstice!?
Our Easter Holidays at Novel English are always wonderful- spring is coming, the weather is getting warmer and there are always great hopes of summer ahead! But this Easter, we were given truly summer-like weather in April! How perfect, as it saw us hosting our King Arthur: Knights and Quests course. We felt the Arthurian Tales had to be explored as Cornwall is famous for being the location of King Arthur’s childhood home, Tintagel! Set amongst mighty cliffs and overlooking the sea, this ancient castle is well worth a visit, which is exactly what we did on a perfect, sunny day in April. Our main text for the course was the most well known rendition of Arthur: Roger Lancelyn Green’s ‘King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’. The participants also spent a happy afternoon doing their own Quest for the Holy Grail!
It’s been a while but the February half-term course is still fresh in our minds as it was a particularly exciting one! The theme was Stand and Deliver! and we looked at the dramatic world of the 18th Century and highwaymen! We concentrated on the wonderfully thrilling book ‘Smith’ by Leon Garfield (if you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend it!) What was particularly wonderful about this course is that we got the opportunity to perform in front of parents and family at the Minack Theatre, which is a pretty dramatic location in its own right! Despite it being February, we were lucky to have fantastic weather for the outdoor performance and the participants made us very proud with their renditions of scenes from ‘Smith’!
Hello everyone! This is just a quick blog to say sorry for the distinct lack of blogging this year so far! It’s been a highly interesting, stressful and eventful year and with all the things that have been happening, we haven’t had much time for keeping the blogs up to date!
This is just a quick message to say, blogs for this year’s courses are on the way!
Watch this space…
January 9, 2017
Last Saturday we held the first of our Creative Writing Clubs here at Novel English! These will take place every month, on the first Saturday of the month and run between 2:30 and 5pm.
During this first session, we focused on genre and how to write a first sentence in a story.
It was lovely to see some new faces and we do hope you enjoyed yourselves and will come again, both to the club and to other courses!