Fogo Island!

Hello, Internet, today is Saturday, March 12th, and yesterday we did a show for the junior high and high school aged students at Fogo Island Central Academy.

I have a long history with Fogo Island (for four years I worked for the Shorefast Foundation, and founded and ran a theatre company here), and I was excited to come out again, but there is something especially wonderful about bringing new people to this island so that they can see the stark beauty of the place, meet some of the best people, and enjoy living in a refurbished traditional house up against the wind.

So, on Thursday we left our hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor and came straight up to Farewell, where one catches the ferry. We were aiming for the 11:15am crossing, but were prepared to turn around and get lunch in Gander or Lewisporte if we couldn’t get on. As we pulled up to the booth, though, the ferry was docked and unloading, and we were the only ones wanting to get on, so on we got.

Fogo Island van on boat

The lone vehicle on the ferry.

It was a beautiful crossing and the ferry ride was spectacular.

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We arrived, found our house, and had time for lunch and a bit of an explore before heading to the school to load in after classes ended at 3pm.

Fogo Island brimstone head

Brimstone Head – the corner of the flat earth

We had a lovely experience at FICA. We were met by the Vice Principal, Guidance Counselor and 4 enthusiastic students who helped us put everything together. Within 3 hours, we had the show loaded in, set up, the sound and lighting levels fixed (school gyms are especially interesting for sound levels), and had run through a couple of pieces.

Fogo Island set up

Almost ready…

Fogo Island nap

Laura takes a rest before levels in the audience seating.

Yesterday, we awoke to a shockingly beautiful day. As usual, I was up far earlier than I wanted to be, but I set up a little kitchen office which is likely my favourite temporary office of the tour.

Fogo Island office space

Not bad at all.

We went into the school for 9:30 for the 11:05 show, taped down some cables, and generally were nervous (maybe that was just me) until the students started filing in.

Fogo Island ready to go

The show was lovely. About 100 students sat on those mats and watched very attentively.

At talk back, we had 3 workers from Central Health come and speak to the students. It seems that Fogo Island Central Academy works closely with the healthcare workers to promote mental health already: they have a committee between them, consisting of teachers, a student representative, and a public health nurse. It was wonderful to see that these students, who live in relative isolation (you do, after all, have to get in a boat to get here), are so supported in their own community.

Today is a day off, so I am set to visit some people I know and rarely see, while Crystal, Evan and Laura are left to their own devices to do some exploring.

Fogo Island the team goes exploring

Taken from the window of the house: my excellent cast & crew, running towards the ocean.

Based on their enthusiasm yesterday, I think they will have a successful time of it.