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Othellos Testimonials

 

 

'Othellos is not just the name of a drama group, it is synonymous with excellence. Ever since our son first attended Othellos he cannot wait for each Saturday morning to come round. If we are on holiday, or through other family commitments he is unable to attend, his disappointment is palpable.

The whole ethos of the group, and the supportive and patient attitude shown by the leaders, only brings out the best in the pupils attending. This has certainly proved to be the case for our son. With the help of his 'buddies' at Ariel Othellos he has managed to learn complex routines and take stage direction, allowing him to perform on stage  confidently and with others of all ages and abilities.  Thank you for allowing him to be part of that process, and for ourselves the privilege of witnessing it'.

 

‘Samuel loves his time at Othellos and has forged strong bonds with his Buddies and other children. He responds brilliantly to the commitment it requires from all the children to attend regularly and thrives on learning the new pieces. Othellos has quickly become Samuel's favourite activity. A testament to the amazing staff and buddies!’

 

‘My son, Jamie has thoroughly enjoyed his weekly drama sessions with the Othello's Plus group on a Thursday evening.  He was very unsure if he would like it but the Buddies and staff made him feel relaxed and confident and he came out of the first trial session very happy to continue each week.

The staff were aware of Jamie's worries when it came to the whole Ariel group rehearsals because of his sensory issues with noises.  The staff provided alternative choices and quiet waiting areas for Jamie, so although he wasn't entirely comfortable, he was able to control his anxiety and continue to take full part in the performance.

The Showcase performance itself was exceptional: very well organised and professional and such a wonderful opportunity for all the members to take part as much as possible.  It definitely brought tears of joy to the majority of the audience to see our young people shine on stage and have moments of confidence and happiness.’

 

‘Thank you Orthellos you have brought the very best out of my child, in this fully inclusive theatre group, a family, my family are delighted to be part of’.

 

‘Ariel has definitely brought the best out of our son. A year ago he would barely come out of his bedroom let alone go to a group. On his first showcase he was always hiding behind someone and a year on he was clearly visible and said a piece all on his own!

Now he can't wait for Friday's to come and he's always saying ‘yes it's Saturday tomorrow, I've got Drama’. Wow! what a difference. So thank you to all at Ariel for making this happen. He also has a best friend now and went to their house for tea for the first time last weekend - whoop whoop!’

 

‘The Othellos is a fantastic idea which has brought the best out of many children with special needs and their buddies, who selflessly give their time and a lot of love and patience every week.

Our daughter Felicity loves it and adores performing on stage (so much so you need an army of Buddies to usher her out!). Testament to the creators of this group is the natural progression into Othellos Plus, which sees young adults build on their experience of their younger years or simply discover a new talent later in their life. May these classes long continue, as they are truly life changing for the children, their parents and carers, the Buddies and everyone who has witnessed their remarkable achievements at the annual Showcase. This is when humans are at their best, recognising, nurturing and celebrating talent and possibilities in all of us. Thank you to everyone for having had the vision and determination to make this happen.’

 

'The tutors have realistically high expectations of Othellos' students. My son loves Othellos. He has made special friends with his buddies and this has boosted his confidence and enhanced his social skills beyond our expectations. In short Othellos and the whole Ariel family have transformed his life!'

 

‘Katie started Ariel Othellos in September. During her first class I watched her through the glass huddled up, shy and nervous, throughout the class I watched her unfold like a flower on a summer’s morning, till she was bursting with life. ..And there she has stayed going from strength to strength. In my mind this is due to the amazing tutors, but even more so it is down to the wonderful relationship/friendship that Katie has with her buddy Sophie. Katie has most definitely made a friend for life.

On Sunday evening I watched Katie perform on the stage with more confidence, drama, determination and enthusiasm than I have ever seen before. It was pure magic and a joy to see. I can't thank you all enough for the difference that you have made to our lives. Ariel Othellos is the highlight of Katie's week.

 

‘My daughter only recently joined Ariel Othellos and it has helped her to believe in herself again and boosted her self-confidence. She was extremely nervous about the Showcase as she has memory retention issues and was anxious she wouldn't remember everything but she did a great job and felt very proud of herself.  It’s good for Chloe to see other people coping with a variety of issues and doing the best they can.  Chloe is really enjoying being part of a regular organisation and loves having the weekly routine...we just wish the class duration was a bit longer as the hour goes too quickly!

 

I thought the show was really rewarding, both for the students and the audience.  I actually thought some of the routines and songs were pretty complicated so credit to the teachers and the students who obviously worked incredibly hard.  The most interesting part for me was hearing what is was like to have autism from the student’s point of view, it was incredibly moving.’

 

‘Our son Thomas, who is 10 years old has autism and cerebral palsy and has been attending Othellos for over a year now.

We have always strived to find non-school activities that are beneficial to Thomas, whilst being enjoyable too, but this is so difficult.  Things tend to be one thing but not the other, or work a short while, and then interest and enthusiasm is lost.  However, he has loved every minute of his time with Othellos.

He always looks forward to going and heads off to the sessions with a huge smile on his face, only matched or improved upon by his smile when we pick him up!  The tutors and volunteers are just amazing with him – they are a real credit to Ariel and to themselves, and you can see how much they care for the Othellos they are working with.

It is amazing to see how his confidence has grown and grown, whilst the work he does has also helped with his speech and language.  It was unthinkable a couple of years ago that our son would perform at a local theatre in front of 400 people, and get so much enjoyment out of it – not even a hint of nerves!  For an autistic child, this is some achievement, and all done without him realising he was doing anything other than having fun, fun, fun.

 We cannot recommend the Othellos group highly enough, to any parent of a child with any type of disability.’

 

‘Since joining Ariel in 2012 Ben has grown in confidence, for us as parents to see him on the stage singing and dancing his little heart out with that huge grin on his face and above all having fun is just amazing, to see all the children performing is truly inspirational.  Ben is still buzzing from the Showcase and is still playing the showcase CD in the car days later! Through Ariel Ben now has a real love for dance and drama and has had the opportunity to attend castings and do TV work. We can't thank Matt his tutor and all the buddies enough for making his Othello classes the highlight of his week.’

 

‘I have been going to Ariel Othellos for just over 2 years. I love it because it is lots of fun and I love going on stage. I don't think I would normally get this opportunity because I am in a wheelchair and I can't talk, but with the help of my amazing tutor Matt, and the wonderful Buddies who help me, I can do this. It makes me feel included with other young people and I feel a great sense of achievement to take part and go on stage. I have made lots of new friends and going to Othellos is the highlight of my week - I love it!’

Becky, age 14.

 

'Our autistic son, Alex, has been part of the ACT Othellos' group for the last year under the combined directorship of Nicci and Bev and we have been extremely impressed by the professionalism of the drama school and all the care that has been taken to ensure that the special needs' students feel welcome. They are encouraged to participate in all activities and are supported during weekly workshops and annual performances, all in a way that pays consistent attention to and responds sympathetically to the needs of each individual students.'

 

'Keeping him positively involved is not always easy as his autism severely impacts on his ability to interact socially without support, to manage his expectations and to easily take turns. He is also extremely sensitive to things not being 'just right' so on many occasions Bev, Nicci and the tutors must balance direction with  encouragement and empathy whilst ensuring the rest of the group does not grind to a halt because he is having a difficult day.'

 

'Watching them in action, it is evident that the directors of the Othello group have an understanding of the challenges faced by a wide variety of special needs' students, but  never let that special need limit what a student can  aspire to: they are willing to work  individually with each  student to manage their anxieties, to adapt all  pieces to accommodate physical, sensory and learning difficulties, and to give the students the space and time they

need to work up confidence on new  and/or difficult activities.'

 

'We have also appreciated how the directors and tutors actively listen to both students and parents/carers in order to better 'tweak' activities to make them more accessible, relevant and engaging to individual students. This extra care and attention is evident in their  showcase performances where the Othello  students, across all ages and abilities, are given all of the same opportunities to have a 'professional theatre' experience as the

mainstream students. It has been an amazing opportunity for him to be part of this group and I cannot thank the ACT Othellos' team enough for their warmth  and support in meeting his needs and in giving him such a positive space in which  to try new things.'

 

 

'To impact the lives of young people by providing educational programmes that build character, instil life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through Drama, Singing and Dance.'

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