Dance and Drama Teacher and Traditional Arts Consultant
Verna trained as a drama teacher at Newton Park College, Bath. She was involved in a workshop based student theatre company gaining extensive experience of characterisation and improvisation and taking leading roles in company productions.
As a primary class teacher she used these skills in many areas of her work: exploring aspects of personal and social development; storytelling; investigating historical events. Working collaboratively with groups, she devised and produced many performances through improvisation; using ballads, historical events and traditional material as starting points.
During two years as an advisory teacher for humanities she extended this work to adult groups, and ran demonstration workshops in schools. She trained teachers in all aspects of the History Curriculum, and advised schools on policy and planning issues.
She has always had an interest in traditional music and dance. Known locally as a step dancer; she became a founder member of the Albionnettes, performing at major theatres around the country with the Albion Band. This extended the range of her dancing to include: Appalachian step, tap and historical dances from the 16th to the 20th century. The collaborative working of the group enabled her to gain experience of devising choreography particularly during the development of "The Complete Dancing Master", a stage show commissioned for the opening of the Wilde Theatre at Bracknell Arts Centre.
The production of a community play in her home village of Cropredy gave her the opportunity to extend these skills. Responsible for researching and selecting music of the Civil War period, she also had the task of choreographing and teaching appropriate dances.
Recently her interest in dance, drama and music have come together in her work with children to devise and produce a Tudor masque; a 17th century May Day; a series of medieval mystery plays; and a performance in Norwich Cathedral telling the story of the 13th century riots which razed the cloister to the ground.
Verna plays fiddle with the Adderbury Morris Men; is a member of the Adderbury Mummers; Squire of Bloxham Morris; and a member of the Oxford Historical Dance Society.
As Squire for Bloxham Morris she is responsible for day to day management and administration. She has experience of arts and folk festival organisation, most recently the Banbury Hobby Horse Festival. She has extensive experience in organising foreign travel for groups of traditional performers in countries as diverse as France, Latvia and Romania.