Supporting the young people of Mozambique to enable them to make a sustainable living and support their communities
Registered Charity Number 1154635
A brief video from our friends in Mozambique
The Knucker of Knodishall
REVIEW: THE KNUCKER OF KNODISHALL
"Adding to your vocabulary is but one tiny benefit of the latest collaboration between the drama company Rust & Stardust and the pupils of Orford Primary School. In the production of staged in Orford Town Hall, we learnt that a knucker is a sort of water dragon. Who knew? Rust & Stardust have many strings to their bow – they are actors, puppeteers, musicians and writers. Their work with Orford School pupils was all about readying our children for the production, giving them skills and confidence they didn’t know they had. In advance of the show, the children worked with the company to make their own magical birds puppets and learn to ‘work’ them. The children acted, sang, and worked on the choreography. They were trained up to be the Ensemble supporting the 4 adult actors. The result was a delight. On a warm evening we, the audience, were plunged into another time where the goodies and the baddies and the magnificent Knucker puppet entranced us. The Ensemble blended with the professional actors. The audience were encouraged to sing and shout. It was a proper let your hair down kind of event. Many of the adults present must have wished they’d had the chance to be part of such an event. But how was it for the children who did participate (for whom this is part of an Arts Award scheme)? Apart from saying what a ball they’d had, one of the Orford crew said ‘I have always been shy, this has given me so much confidence’. So thank you Rust & Stardust for bringing some magic to town and more thanks to The Thomas Marshall Education Fund and all of the local sponsors who made this happen for our children".
In March 2016 with help from Thomas Marshall Education Fund and funding from the Orford Business Association and others, a fledgling theatre company, Rust and Stardust, brought The Wild Man of Orford to life in Orford Church and provided puppet workshops for Orford School in Orford Castle.
Following the success of The Wild Man, the company returned in April 2017 with The Green Children of Woolpit. This visit included a free workshop for children on the morning before the evening performance. In April 2018 they included children from Orford School in their performances of Black Shuck with the children’s own puppets made under instruction from Rust and Stardust as part of the school’s inclusion of the Arts Award Scheme in their curriculum
In July 2021, after being delayed by Covid, the company again worked with the Orford School children to produce puppets to be included in a performance of The Marsh Demons of Iken.
Comments received following the previous projects with Orford School include:
“What a wonderful opportunity for the school children to be able to participate alongside professional puppeteers”.
“My daughter jumped at the chance to watch Rust and Stardust again, she enjoyed working with them so much”.
“Amazing seeing the actors use the whole of the building so effectively. My favourite memory is of the children when they mimicked bird flight, it really felt like air rushing past wings”.
“Lots of special moments, and a great opportunity for Orford kids and great use of the building”.
“Heartening to see the more confident children helping and encouraging the less confident ones”.
This year around one hundred proud parents and lucky residents and visitors were treated to two outstanding performances of The Knucker of Knodishall in Orford Town Hall with Rust and Stardust and an enthusiastic and talented bunch of children from Orford School.
Acting Head, Gemma Cannon said: “Taking part in the Rust and Stardust project is a hugely valuable experience for our children. They are geographically and socially isolated: many have never experienced going to the theatre, let alone being able to meet professionals in the industry and take part in a performance. The opportunity to achieve their Arts Award alongside enables them to attain something concrete they can be proud of and use as a springboard for future projects; they wouldn't normally be exposed to this as we do not have the expertise in school. Some of our children can be reserved and quiet too - Rust and Stardust help build self-esteem and confidence: all skills they take with them through life”.
Discussions have started to bring the company back in 2025 with a rerun of The Wild Man of Orford, this time with the school children as part of the ensemble.
The costs of these projects over the years have been covered by various grants from Arts Council England, New Orford Town Trust and local businesses plus generous donations and sponsorship. All ticket receipts are used by Thomas Marshall Education Fund to support the young people of Mozambique to enable them to make a sustainable living and support their communities.