A St Albans resident said she was absolutely “astonished” upon receiving the news she had been recognised as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Rosalind Paul, who lives in the city, was awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for her role in a charity which works with children to write plays which are then performed by actors.
The charity Scene & Heard, where Rosalind works as chief executive officer and artistic director, works to pair children in Somners Town with volunteer theatre professionals.
This among many more benefits helps boost children’s self-esteem and raise their aspirations through personal experiences of success.
Speaking about her initial reaction upon hearing that she had been recognised with an MBE for her charitable services to Theatre, to Young People and to Families, Rosalind said she was blown away.
She said: “I was astonished, it absolutely floored me. I had no idea I would be receiving the award and really couldn’t quite believe it.
“I’m still slightly overwhelmed. We are a localised charity, we are not a national organisation so it’s really nice for the charity to be recognised.”
Rosalind also spoke about the importance of the charity in helping children to express their emotions through playwriting.
She said: “The children are not allowed to write human characters, that’s the only rule, so write about animals, objects or things from nature.
“They can talk about their feelings and how difficult or fun life is.
“These characters are then inhabited by really good professional actors, there’s no sense of patronisation or anything over than absolute truth or conviction. The performances are rich in pathos but also charming and funny.”
This continued throughout the turmoil of the pandemic with the charity supporting children with online videos from actors and once restrictions were eased staff and volunteers visited local schools.
Rosalind added: “Normally we would take children out of schools to the theatre, but the safest place for the children was the environment they were in, in their bubbles.
“It was a project called Coming Back to Play which reminded children who had been locked in their flats for so long how to express their feelings and remembering how to play.”
Rosalind also wanted to pay a thank you to everyone who has supported her and the charity.
To find out more about Scene & Heard, head to: www.sceneandheard.org/