Friday, 22 February 2019

Hear My Voice at The Hypatia Trust audience feedback and ideas re inclusive audiences and news

Written audience response from show...

"A great programme!! So Powerful!!"

"POWERFUL + so enjoyable."

"Sensitive and beautiful. Thank you."

"One of the best things I've seen."

"- the fact that the music/sounds wasn't loud, made it more powerful . !!"
( the warm up was fine and then the music dropped? and i couldn't find out why and didn't want to break the flow so the show went on! oops and bother, but feedback was it was ok and it was a small intimate space)

"Thank you x

it was powerful and beautiful" 



+ enjoyable -
loved it" jx

"so enjoyed it -
powerful speech
expressive dance
go on! and 
tell the world"

"Really good!
So powerful!
Loved it!"

email feedback 
"What a treat it was!  I have kept remembering the performance all yesterday and this morning - every time I think of it I see that room suffused with light.  What a beautiful and powerful piece you ( all ) have created.  I particularly loved the movement done by the lady ( Zoe Wilton) in the red dress."

"Very inspiring show and loving it, great to see what you can make in half an hour, and it was great to see Shallal without me in it for a change. Look forward to any other future projects, and can't way to come back to Shallal 2 for a change, that will be nice. It was great getting everyone to meet Lily." 
( We were really pleased to meet Lily who was visiting Eddie from Spain)

Many thanks again to Delpha at The Hypatia Trust for hosting us.

introducing the show
 I have a new trial vision for performances which aren't in theatres, of their being free and asking for donations, at the end i think might be best. Real inclusion needs to be with our audience as well as the performers.
When we had 4 young children we never went to the theatre we couldn't afford it, as they got older with more specific taste we went in twos or threes to something special to them.
Recently we have reassured support workers that we are ok with a woman who made sounds and needed to pace about and also ok in that show if she wanted to walk into the performance space - it was all improv anyway!! so the person supporting her was able to relax a bit and they could both see the show. Sometimes you don't want to commit to a high cost if the person you are with might not enjoy it or need to leave early. People are often on a diet of tribute bands, pantomine and known shows, stories, styles and don't go to new, unknown events and types of performance.
Today someone came with invisible/unseen health issues and can't sit through the length of many performances without needing to move around, this show was short 30mins but also she had been reassured by a performer who was a friend that moving was ok.
I recently listened to authors on Radio 4 talking about publishing their work and wanting to reach people. We want to reach people so now we are embarking on getting these 2 ( easily portable ) shows out...and building our audience:
Hear My Voice as like the title some of it so relevant and needs to be heard,
Embodied Space, because i love that way of working and it is quite radical and needs to be seen.
In the company it pushes us all and we really enjoy it and learn from each time.

Thank you to our audience.
We all learn so much together.

Skye has her single out!!
BREATHE IS OUT NOW on all major streaming platforms!
Links below:

iTunes/Apple Music:
Check it out!
so excited and pleased for her and we are having a Benefit featuring Skye Saturday April 13 just awaiting final confirmation of the date with the venue and Nordic Skiers will be supporting her - fun!

Nice to be invited back in April to Get Changed Theatre co to run a workshop as they create a new show.
Looking forward to Shallal Dance Theatre working with Harry Theaker on a short film for a project in March.
Plans to film and photograph 'Hear My Voice' at it's next outing - thank you to Emily and Martha for offering their time and skills.
Anna is in Residency with Breathing Space in March she is supported in this by Falmouth Art Gallery.

George is back from US and Pep returns soon from Catalonia.

Love and best wishes to those who have been ill this winter - hope to see you soon!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Celebration , another show and feedback from workshop for Wheal Martyn Memory Cafe

We do like a tea party: throw in nice people and some inspiring art and 27 people showed up!
Also such fondness for this room, which we have often used as a dressing room! 
Huge table, wonderful hospitality - Thank you to Henrietta and all the Falmouth Art Gallery staff and ....
one thing leads to another so ....

..... we will be performing at Falmouth Library on Friday 8 March 7.30pm
International Women's Day 
which is "is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for well over a century - and continue's to grow from strength to strength."

Monday i ran a session at the Memory Cafe at Wheal Martyn Clay Museum, interspersed with tea and biscuits and conversation.....and 

"Thank you so much for today, the session really was lovely and I felt so much better after it."

I enjoyed the session and it is a hallmark of sessions that ideally they should be enjoyable for everyone! I look forward to returning next month. There is often so much talent in the room: ballet, line dancing, ballroom dancing, keep fit, aerobics....none of which i can do!

The week ended with rehearsal for Hear My Voice - yes i do love this show and am happy and pleasantly surprised that we have ended up with a piece of 'political' theatre, and am in awe of the writing and delivery, effortless and moving.
A challenge could be for may of us in Shallal to each come up with a group to perform this to! 
Listening again to this homage to unsung heroes, it could be called the 'Mrs Hunt tribute show!' and maybe we need to get it out to some Salvation Army groups.
It's a grateful reminder of all those who have gone before us with thanks for their selfless acts, and all that we have to be grateful for and need to (fight to) retain.

The afternoon saw art work and meetings, listening to Ken Turner describe a new project some dancers might get involved in - looking around the internet for traces of his work i found this!
HIs project is cross art form and about being 'here,' and i just watched this
both have echoes of elements present in Embodied Space, although tackled/viewed through a Shallal collaboration prism, always interesting that similar themes and idea percolate in culture/creativity at the same time.
Exciting to bring artists together ( one off projects and performances) and also wonderful to see artists who know each other well ( established company over time) and can communicate effortlessly and take risks.

Demelza took some photos on Friday afternoon...

Joseph finished his Heron drawing

Katie and Zo


Molly and Colin
Photos from Shallal 2 rehearsal just in from Emily Alden, so grateful, might put them into film slide show don't know yet and possible help with filming from a conversation today.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Hear My Voice background ....

We are about to perform Hear My Voice again this time at The Hypatia Trust, a fitting venue...

We have other possibilities in the wings including Falmouth Art Gallery and Wheal Martyn Clay Museum
I need to write about it and so want to share Debs first notes.
(The show has more words than our usual shows which is appropriate for the subject and I am as always in awe of 'the talent in the room', with a poem from Elaine Waller and writing by Jo Lumber 
and a central piece for three voices by Debbie ONyons).
here are her notes;

 "I have been doing some research regarding the suffragette movement in Cornwall and the Salvation army were highly active and supportive of the social reforms the suffragettes offered to women as they were leading on changing the way unwed mothers were treated in the workhouses within the county.

The Salvation Army enthusiastically supported this political campaign, its philanthropic and egalitarian ideologies attracted followers with values that strongly complimented those that motivated the first wave feminist suffrage campaign.  The Salvation army promoted gender equality within its organisation.

I would like to write some prose/poetry about the story of my great grandmother below whom without the suffragettes would not have survived for long.

My great grandmother was one of the unwed pregnant mothers who benefited from a strong lady within the salvation army, she was cast out by her family and the church at age 17, pregnant by a man she discovered to be married.  She was penniless and entered the workhouse and gave birth to a daughter,  the policy at this time was for the children to be adopted (or sold). 
Refusing to sign the paperwork she caught the attention of one of the salvation army members - this woman offered to foster the child but Ethel refused to be seperated, the woman and her husband then fostered both mother and child.  Later she cared for the child during the day so Ethel could work and eventually helped them to rent a small cottage.  Even when women achieved the vote the fight was not over, unwed mothers were despised and life was very hard with both mother and child suffering malnutrition and ill health.  Social reform transformed there lives, receiving warm, dry social housing at one point they had to sell every possession to pay for medical treatment for my grandmother  when it was thought she would die from diphtheria.

The story has a beautiful ending as my grandmother cared for the couple who fought for social reform and fostered her in childhood through there own infirmity up to there death."

at the centenary of “some women winning the right to vote in 1918”.............this act also newly enfranchised approximately 8 million men as it abolished the residential and property qualifications that had denied the vote to 40% of men. These included most of the poorest in society: soldiers, sailors and men such as adult sons living in their parents’ houses.

Then we started looking at who can vote and when it was given and what supported it and it gets more complicated! and that is for another time and why we like to stop and chat about it all afterwards! it raises many questions.....

I have been invited to Wheal Martyn on Thursday for HRH The Countess of Wessex visit, need to clean my shoes...
very grateful to be invited we love working with Wheal Martyn...
It fits in nicely on the way home from Liskeard group.

And Friday we have our own Celebration ...

Friday, 25 January 2019

Sharing "an understanding of the unknown," reflections after Embodied Space at Newlyn Art Gallery

This morning i cheekily wrote this:

Embodied Space
".......keeps the element of surprise and playful spontaneity often missing in our lives and art, bringing the joy of creation, as in a session, to the professionalism of performance in a public space, Shallals unique performance style enables the audience to experience both."
Come along and see if we achieve this!

on Facebook.

Especially in the early days pre 'learning' about marketing etc, i had always wanted to do a more 'honest' ( to the process) press release....
"We are half way through rehearsals we hope/think/ trust ( nervously)  it will be ok, however it's not finished yet, ( no new show is until just before opening) come along and see what you think".

I settled more easily into the world of publicity once i realised you could use what other people wrote about you - the good stuff that is, thankfully any other comments  people are usually too polite to tell you.

Today we collected some verbal feedback and as a lady disappeared downstairs after the performance she said to me, "Thank you. Fabulous, heart warming and inspiring. Thank you."
Even more cheering as she had sat for an hour squashed into a corner watching, as we had 45 in the audience.

And the reason i sat down to blog - to get over the last part of adrenalin, wind down, digestion after the performance - was, I am so deeply grateful for my family and my two closest critics came today along with a dear friend.
My two closest critics are my dear husband Peter and youngest daughter Anna. They hadn't seen Embodied Space and it is my 'baby' my dearest creative intention, vision at present. A culmination of work and in the last two days my ( mid life crisis - does it ever go away its been popping up for sooo long) vision forwards for work.
We have now a format we can use, it truly suits us, it is engaging, encompassing audience and dancers alike, who share together in, as Anna put it,  "an understanding of the unknown."

The artists i work with are always so articulate about what they like enjoy, get from it and today while listening to everyone, Charlie came into his own and voiced his view clearly and strongly for the first time and he is settled now.

So i could go on, but for now let me say...
I have been watching the dancers in all my sessions recently, the level of engagement and creativity is so high these days, what to do with them? how to extend them? and to really get out and perform more is i think the answer.
I'm 56 soon:(?!

Today i met again someone who i used to see lying on a lino floor behind the door in Budock Hospital in the high needs part. ( it must have been over 30 years ago , i think we are about the same age). It broke/ached my heart every time, I saw him. Now i see him living a fulfilled and happy life in the community coming with two support workers to a gallery to see a show.
We must never let it happen again that we lock up people from life, with nothing but bare walls and spaces, you couldn't see out of the windows it was an old workhouse. Your basic needs were looked after, clean and fed, and if you were lucky you went for a walk and the grounds were lovely but......

We need to share our talents and our care, the whole is then greater than the sum of it's parts and what can be done when we work in that way across, throughout life!

Shallal for me has always been a glimpse of what it possible. When i was younger and first really came across the isolation and struggle people with support needs faced, I would come home in tears in my mid late teens and talk with my mother - an old style trained nurse, ( we are all 'People first' - she used that saying before it became a slogan) and i said how my ideal society would have those who were vulnerable at the heart of society being lovingly cared for and that care would then radiate out throughout society. 
Anyone whose worked in a large group/institution also knows you need to look after the carers/workers needs,  then they look after those they work/care for/with. Our contemporary attitudes often negate this, stressing our teachers and healthcare professionals, although some modern younger companies/organisations are bringing it back, making friendly environments, work conditions etc adapting so as to get the best from people.

Thank you to everyone who performs and to our audiences, together we share an experience from our own unique perspectives and it gives us all something, for which i am very grateful.

Also a last word of thanks to Simon at Newlyn gallery, because of my early experience and care for those i work with i am careful who/where we work and whilst explaining this one day to George he told me a permaculture saying" Only walk through open doors".
So a thank you to all who 'open their doors' to us, and from a parting conversation with Simon, we have a new opportunity to have an exhibition/events for two days next winter, January probably, so we could: showcase Back Lane West residency work, large paintings - ooh the possibilities - 'one good thing leads to another.'

Thursday, 24 January 2019

original notes for Embodied Space

Notes from my phone on original ideas for this area of exploration
currently Embodied Space

[ ] All art is expressed through the body...embodies explores our humanity all different shapes and sizes ages, who are we? what do we do? inhabiting this body in this space 
[ ] Placed in an art gallery setting Shallal artists and  performers,  move relate ignore play and express themselves, come and see, join in? who are we embodied in this space, at this time, what do we do, is it performance, spectacle collaboration, live art, portrait, narrative, abstract, symbolic all of this and more.
[ ] 
[ ] For you to interpret...
[ ] Dancers work with Space, defining the space by tape THE SPACE......a canvas a blank space a void a vacuum to fill ..listen to...
[ ] Characters, costume, chalk , sound...
[ ] 
[ ] Building on Popups and Always new
[ ] This keeps the element of surprise and playful  spontaneity often missing in our lives and art, bringing the joy of creation as in a session to the professionalism of performance in a public space Shallals unique performance style enables the audience to experience both.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

music and musings

Distraction, side roads and there is an underlying thread as seeking new latest distraction started with:
and now as all my admin time has been used up! it has ended on this
so heyho now i am eating into my very last piece of time by blogging!
the joy of self employment is the admin will have to be done tonight!

Many years ago i lived 'upstream' from Joe Hemming:
at Polwheveral near Constantine and on my way home i would drop in, cup of tea, chat and it would always involve listening to music....
Joe's love for music is infectious, he is also a beautiful musician...
the music of Estas Tonne takes me back to sources of more to be said music has its own language and meeting point,.
I often say I tend towards 'love' non verbal art forms, although Anna has been reading me Mary Oliver poems, and i picked up again Pilgrim at Tinker Creek whilst not working this holidays.
Good art always points, opens, shares, leads, enables..... to something greater/deeper....

I wanted to interview 2 people about Soul and meeting at depth in their work ( and maybe publish it) and i'm not sure now if i will have, or catch, the time to do they are
Wolfgang Stange
and Father Benedict ...

both had films/documentaries made about them some years

off now ...
Shallal 2 were marvellous last night, they have all deepened progressed their work and i am 'challenged' to find the right vehicle to show/share this
and a big thank you to Sasha for her new baby sister Josephine, only 2 weeks old, coming to visit us
( Congratulations to Jamie and Syd and Welcome to Josephine) 
Out There Liskeard today, new people bring new influences and joy and we are appreciating Zoe, ( greek dance music and ancient Armenian duduk music) Penny, Jay and Jake.

Tomorrow Embodied Space at Newlyn!
Great news dear Peter Kirby returns as a guest artist! everyone is really pleased, ill health and tiredness had led to Peter not making Fridays but he is still at Friends and Dancing and can slot into Shallal Dance Theatre as he knows the company and loves to perform.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

New Instagram, new exhibition, new venues, happy new year!

New Instagram
New Exhibition
New Embodied Space 
New venue for 'Hear My Voice'

Happy New Year!

1. I have to say i am a lover of Instagram, i started it when our older children travelled, and then i found artists and friends and then sayings...and now i have to keep it limited!
Shallal Sketchbooks started a fantastic Instagram with Victoria and continues with Kerry.
(Victoria is hoping to continue into more design training, more news as it unfolds, it's a privilege to work with people and then have to try to write an adequate reference!
Thank you to Anna for setting up our new Instagram account and to Lou and Annis they are all  working behind the scenes on our marketing etc.
We hope it will be an easy and exciting visual way to follow all of Shallal activities.

2. So do go along to see the exhibition in the community gallery at Falmouth Art Gallery it's on till 14 February.

This painting was one of my favourite Christmas presents from Zoe Wilton of her and her mum Marjorie.
It's not for sale but i was asked about it as soon as it was posted.

3. So looking forward to Embodied Space in the empty gallery spaces at Newlyn ..thank you to Simon Jacques for enabling this. Hope to see you there. Each show is unique!
Friday 25 January 1.30pm  free

It had such good feedback we want to travel it around and with no more funding for it - as yet- we are doing it local and bijou!
Thank you to Delpha Hudson for welcoming us back to The Hypatia Trust, where we did most of our original research for the piece!
We welcome invitations to show this work, it can fit into quite small settings, village halls etc.

Still chasing funding for Shallal Dance Theatre, Shallal2 and Shallal Studios & Sketchbooks

so also New Fundraiser in the mix, more soon
I'm really looking forward to it as a good night out!

All new equipment now squeezed into our new studio spaces.
Thanks again to Cultivator Cornwall and Creative Kernow.

Lou and i are looking at continual funding and support for this new permanent studio/s venture and meanwhile thanks also to Ann Rylands Small Donation, The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, all the grants small or large enable us to continue.