The curtain may have come down on Gale Force theatre school after 25 years, but its founder and director Barbara Gale is very much in business and in demand.
She and her team of supporters and volunteers recently completed the 2014 Gale Force summer school, which consisted of five days of singing, dancing, music making and recitation classes interspersed with educational visits to places of interest around the island, with the theme throughout the week firmly on Manx history and heritage and, for this year, a special focus on the First World War.
Mrs Gale said: ‘This was our 10th summer school and as always the emphasis was on island life and culture, all the more so this year as we celebrate Island of Culture 2014.
‘The week went extremely well, thanks in no small part to some of my stalwart former Gale Force members, such as Moira Pain, Katie Colgan and Matthew Unsworth, acting as volunteers and chaperones, and the warmth of welcome we received everywhere we visited.
‘Special thanks must go to the Douglas horse tram team for being so helpful and making our visit so informative, and similarly to the Manx Museum and the Manx Aviation and Military Museum at Ronaldsway. The children had a great time – and so did the adults. We all learned a lot.
‘Every year the school attracts both local and visiting children, which makes for a good mix, and we were blessed with fine weather on our two days out.
Everything we do throughout the week is fun, but at the same time the sessions are always run to a strict timetable and discipline remains paramount.’
The group took a trip on a Douglas horse tram, visited the tramway stables, saw the memorial to the Summerland disaster in the Kaye Memorial Garden and learned of its significance, spent time at the Manx Museum and the Manx Aviation Museum and enjoyed a journey on the steam railway, while day two saw them in Mooragh Park in Ramsey.
Outside of the summer school Mrs Gale continues to tutor four- to 16-year-olds, as well as adults, in performance, public-speaking, reading and confidence-building skills.
‘With an unrivalled success rate born out of 27 years of teaching experience, not one student, adult or child, has ever failed an examination for which I have tutored them,’ said Mrs Gale, who added that she is regularly in demand as an after dinner/lunch speaker and for adjudicating speech competitions.
‘And in between all that I’m busy writing my memoirs…I’ve worked with so many wonderful people, enjoyed performing on stage, won trophies galore and my treasured four Cleveland medals and had 25 fabulous years leading Gale Force, so there’s many a tale to be told.’