Washington DC Part Three

First performance today. The morning show will be peppered with some quite young students. We may even have some 10-12 year olds. It’s a baptism of fire for my American leg but a sure-fire way of knowing what works and what doesn’t with the toughest critics.

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Well, that went better than I had hoped. Apart from accidentally skipping a page of text! The start of the show was pretty raucous but that is part of the charm of the beginning. I open it up for the audience to react and reply and they jumped in with both feet like young people do. After the initial fear, understandable on my part, that they might not settle down to listen in detail, I was pleasantly surprised by their focus and attention. The Q&A post show was excellent with pertinent questions that confirmed that they had been with me all the way.

Two interesting things came out of that session today. One was that out of the approximately 375 spectators present this morning only 10 put their hands up when I asked how many knew anything of a Black England. Fascinating, and encouraging in some ways. It means that what the show represents for many is their first glimpse of a world they’d never heard about.

The other point is related. One teacher asked if people in England and students in particular had heard about or been taught about Sancho in school. The answer left me feeling sad and a little ashamed of the UK school system. ‘No, I’m afraid. And we still don’t teach our young people about Sancho even though he is such an important figure for Black Britons”.

So, we have much work to do. But as Sancho says, “Today, perhaps, today it may begin…”