So inspired were we when we attended the Q&A with Pilot Theatre and Alex Wheatle, that we simply could not delay a moment in contacting Alex and inviting him to join forces with John Godber, Jane Thornton-Godber and Jessica Hynes, as an ND Patron.
As Alex’s words reached across the virtual platforms, it was clear he was touching the hearts, minds and spirits of the listeners. We had watched Pilot Theatre’s inspired performance of Crongton Knights, based on Alex’s award-winning novel of the same name, and then had the privilege of hearing Alex talk about his life and how his creative talents were nurtured.
It occured to us that Alex Wheatle could connect with people – all kinds of people. His work reflects what he sees in front of him and his stories are told with honesty and integrity.
Having spent most of his childhood in the notorious Shirley Oaks children’s home in Surrey, Alex knows hardship but also learned the importance of having someone who believed in him. This is the message he strongly conveyed – everybody needs someone to believe in them. As educators, and more specifically as drama teachers, we understood this message. It resonated with us, as faces of pupils we had helped along the way flashed across our minds.
Alex Wheatle received an MBE for his services to literature. He has travelled nationally and internationally visiting schools, inspiring young people to be creative and to record their stories. During term time, Alex teaches children’s literary fiction at Manchester Metropolitan University.
We are delighted that Alex has already been in touch with our other Patrons to consider how they can join forces in championing drama in schools, and strenghten the role of National Drama as the professional subject association for drama and theatre educators.
We thank Alex for accepting our invitation to be a Patron and for believing in us.