Thursday, 22 December 2011

Final Bow

A final bow out to the old year and bring in the new, with a few of the lovely photos that John and Linda have taken and passed on to us from Holiday- thank you.

Including one with Skye who hasn't managed to be captured in many photos this year despite being an extremely strong performer who continues to develop, progress and surprise us - a big thank you to her and everyone else for their work this past year, we are still here!!!
Skye, Linda, Kerry
and there are still new collaborations, and projects developing. Yesterday had a fascinaiting talk with photographer Andy Parker who will start to visit the company in the New Year.

Thanks to Star who introduced him to us.
Star's website is

Leaving you with a few cheery photos of Colin's workshop at Holiday,we haven't had many workshop photos on the blog this year.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

feedback and comments from the 16th

I need to get these done before holiday mode kicks in...

Feedback from the "Works in Progress" within The Platform Festive Performance Feast, at the Performance Centre, Tremough Campus.

"Excellent and heartwarming performance at Tremough!
It's very inspiring to see the freedom of expression the performers have."

"Fantastic - moving and inspirational 
  totally inclusive" I wanted to wax on about German expressionism and Hilde Holger Wolfgang's old teacher. I could never find what I wanted to go to see/do, for CPD until Wolfgang gave a tribute to Hilde Holger at the Lyric Theatre and I wanted to go to see the roots of my roots! in dance / expression etc, which I did and I was very grateful for it. (Wolfgang often talked about Hilde and in the 80's I went to see a small show her students did).
Mentioning this to my husband he said and your own influences ( tastes ) which of course is true, Wolfgang said to teach from yourself, I have always loved art and watching the process of painting and abstract art have really fuelled and influenced the work.

Also from my time with Wolfgang in London in the 80's;

  • the incredible performances that happened spontaneously in his classes
  •  fringe art events, especially mime that I watched with Mike Mizrahi, now;
  • Buskers in Covent Garden 
  • Theatre de Complicite
  • Katie Duck and Groupo
  • Suraya Hilal
googling all these dancers/performers so many share a common humanity thread of inclusion and expression and started their work in the early 80's ..enjoy looking at them if you have the time! 
I think I will revisit them as part of my holiday research and relaxation!


Zoe and Colin in rehearsal for their duet at The Performance Centre last Friday.

Festive greetings

Sometimes my morning emails offer nice surprises!
such as this from Colin Rogers.....
 "Sue me!  I've used your e-card and sent it to all the trustees and senior managers in Mencap as my Christmas card.  Hope that's OK !"
 Colin Rogers
Managing Director
Deco Films & Television Ltd.

"Yes, I know, it's unusual to send someone else's e-card to wish you a Happy Christmas!  But this one is special.  It was designed by 11 year-old Anna for Shallal, an inclusive community-based charity that makes dance theatre and related arts accessible to a wide range of people in Cornwall, particularly those with learning disability.  Shallal was started at The Acorn in Penzance, which I help to run, but later became a stand-alone charity.  They do fantastic, inspiring work but, like many others, Shallal has this year lost all the funding it had, not because it is not worthy of support but because those with the gentlest voices are the hardest to hear."
You can see more about them at .
Wishing you a very happy festive season.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Friends and Dancing and new short film

Yesterday went well, thanks to everyones efforts and support!
 from The Performance centre to the dancers, family and friends, and support workers.
This group is fortunate in having fantastic support workers who fully participate and enjoy it, which allows the group to have fun, enjoy each others company and be so inclusive. 

The quality of care and engagement with people is also embodied in Debs work and experience she is currently the "Health Promotion Liasion for adults with a learning disability", she would like to see groups like Friends and Dancing throughout Cornwall.
Echoed in a converstion I was having where I mentioned that many years ago ( when Shallal first restarted) after seeing a show someone said "There should be one in every town."
Most towns / communities have a ballet/dance school and amateur dramatics group, so why not an inclusive dance/theatre group?

There was the joy of many nice conversations afterwards. The Improvisation and Performance group we have at The Performance Centre is to see if we can seed something like the main company in another area/community. Hopefully more people will come to this from these conversations yesterday, as it has a strong core group but needs a few more to solidify it.
The work has it's own life, and my job - as with creativity - is not to get in the way of it but to facilitate and ease and enable it. After shows / outreach, there has always come new work, more opportunities. 
This was how my work happened many years ago, and it is lovely to see it happen on a bigger scale now Shallal is a charity.

Exciting news that Chris Marsh has edited the short film to Jacqui Callis music.
 We have received good feedback from it already including from our patron Patrick Gale, " BEAUTIFUL!! I shall Facebook and Tweet it at once. I so wish I could have been there." 

(Patrick has a..... "New (very Cornish) novel out this March.. ")

watch the film on Vimeo
Thank you to Jacqui for her music and support, (we are always trying to hatch collaborative plans)...

 and to say that Apex now has a CD available;
" .....participants each wrote and recorded their own song with Jacqui Callis, an independent  music facilitator/ songwriter. The Voice Outside CD is available from their website" 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Friends and Dancing Christmas Gathering

Friends and Dancing have our annual Christmas end of term showing of work and gathering of family, friends and supporters - do come along.
 We are very grateful to have; funding for the next two terms, and have just received news of support from the local Rosemullion Trust. 
Local support makes a huge difference in the continuation and establishment in the community of such initiatives as Friends and Dancing, which continues to grow and develop.
The Performance Centre are also supporting this event for us, and it will be the first visit for many of this group, and we are grateful for their support and hospitality.

                                   Friends and Dancing
                                                   Family and Friends 
                                                              to their
                                          Christmas Gathering
                                               Wednesday 14th December
                                                       10.30am - 12pm
                                                   Dances in Studio J 
                                                           followed by 
                                                Refreshments in the Foyer
                                                            Studio J 
                                                The Performance Centre,
                                                    Tremough Campus,
                                                          TR10 9EZ 
                                              University College Falmouth
                                This event is part of The Performance Centre’s
                                         Open Access Community Week 

                                            disabled parking outside Studio J
              enter by Delivery gate through Kernick Industrial Estate (2nd left past ASDA)
                                  phone Jo if you need directions;  01326 375867

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

From the film day

Some nice quotes from working with Ian and Chris;

"The group were lovely and I was really impressed by the variety and complexity of the individual pieces; ..........
 there's more than enough material to work as an effective and exciting showcase for the group. The footage Chris and I got looks really good.............. Thanks for making us so welcome and including us in the day.
It was a pleasure!"
Ian won Best Cornish Short award this year at the 10th Annual Cornwall Film Festival, more about it on his blog!

 "I had such a wonderful time with everyone and left the performance with a spring in my step!"

Chris hopes to have a rough edit ready by Friday the 16th December to be shown then!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Filming at The Performance Centre

It was lovely to be in such a fantastic space again, and working with Lucy,... who hadn't had the fun of working there before.
Thank you to the Performance Centre for making this possible.
 It was short notice so not everyone could come, but it was lovely to have Katie and Tina back with us for the day and Trevor came to in kilted regalia, (which fitted our colour scheme !), so we were able to fit him and Eleanor in.
Ian and Lucy in background

Giles, Tina, Michael and Katie
Ian and Chris with Toby's kinetic sculpture/mobile

so lovely to be in such a space again

Ian Bucknore filmed with UCF student Chris. It was a strange intensity working to film and not audience and an interesting learning curve. There are funds for Chris to edit it with supervision from Barbara, so we await to see it. Many thanks to Lucy, Ian and Chris and everyone who was able  to come.
warm up

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Play, Improvisation, Workshop as an art form

Thoughts for notes after yesterdays group;
*workshop as an art form
-Moveable Feast, that Phil went to some years ago.
*continual dialogue with the work, solutions often arising spontaneously while working
*highs and lows of it; as a faciltiator observing my own attachment and vulnerability felt within it
*fortunate to be working with people
*gestural communication - the fun  of it
*the humour of gestural communication
*the pleasure / privilege of watching people, the continual surprises and development
*play as serious activity for the young, practise / rehearsal of life skills, refind old quote from, "The Knowing Body."
*play as integral to improvisation ......once people can play together.....

Then I went on to research Moveable Feast and these quotes are from that;
“We learn how to learn.” Tony Gee, from Resurgence article, "All roads lead to Ermo."
We can have discipline and rigour alongside freedom and play because in workshop everything matters, nothing is wasted – it is not about success and failure, it is a journey from I can’t to I can. It is an ecological pedagogy.”
“Moreno, the originator of psychodrama wrote that, “we may survive in this changing difficult world only if we are able to perceive what is really going on in the ’here and now’ and if we are spontaneous and creative enough to invent new solutions.” It is too late for us to be dictated to, we must discover for ourselves. Workshop as a popular form is in its infancy but it is crucial that it is not viewed as an educational luxury but positioned at the heart of an education founded on dialogue, participation and discovery. This requires us to embrace the central premise of 20th century science: uncertainty. We start all of our workshops with knowledge of how we will begin without ever knowing who will be the one to raise a new standard in Ermo. If, as in a prescribed curriculum, you know what is going to happen then you don’t come up with anything new, nothing is created, least of all solutions. You are not part of the fundamental generosity essential to generate active and creative culture.” 

“It is my belief that Workshop is a contemporary form of arts practice and that its effects could be profound on how we learn if we go beyond scraping the surface of its potential.
"So 'What is Workshop?'
"Workshop's history is unwritten. It has succeeded in eluding institutionalisation. There is not 'A Workshop Theory'. Workshops are something you 'just do'. There is no body of literature that expounds their history and no professional body to standardise practice. This has the advantage of allowing great licence to play, invent, improvise and to be responsive to the moment. But, conversely, it allows events to be dry, fixed and didactic or simply disorganised and still claim the title, 'workshop'."
Tony Gee, "Workshop. A Moveable Feast". (see Books)

...given an opportunity to expand their view of what is possible and what Workshops are all about, by being totally immersed in Workshop for several days.
As well as dreaming..."Chaos, taking risk, collaboration, site specifity, exploring a theme, opening the group, busting the expectation, breaking new ground, learning about others, leading and following, performing to each other, spectating for each other, playing with available resources, looking at the stories inherent in the group, connecting art forms and practice, being in a particular environment and transforming it, employing media, forms and disciplines other than your own and experimenting without financial obligation or expectation"...are some of the things that go on.
We believe Workshop is an arts practice in its own right with unrealised potential for 21st Century experiential learning.
....Moveable Feast website....

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Redruth Open House

Shallal Open House Redruth 2011-2012
We are very happy to tell you Shallal Dance Theatre Company will be running its community group, Open House at the Redruth Community Centre, Foundry Row, Chapel Street, TR15 1AN.
 The sessions are open to all and will be a fun way of exploring movement, dance and drama in a safe and friendly environment, run by two experienced Shallal  facilitators. 
Open House is on a Thursday morning, doors open at 10.15am for 10.30 start- finish at 12 noon. The charge for each session is £3 per person, support workers and carers will not be charged but any donations are welcome.
The first three sessions on Dec 1st& 8th  and January 12th are tasters to see if it’s your cup of tea, we will then be running 21 sessions in which we will be looking at setting some achievable aims and then finding ways of helping people to meet them. There will be an element of commitment to attending a certain number of sessions as we need to meet our funders requirements.
If you would like more information about Open House or other sessions call Colin on 01736 350 106 or 0774 754 3300

Monday, 28 November 2011

Film and Open Access week at The Performance Centre

Good news that we have the opportunity to make a short film from Chromatic thanks to funding and support from The Performance Centre. A nice end to last years work. Those of the company who can make it are having a day in Studio B filming this Saturday. We have the pleasure of working with Lucy Gaskell,  "Lucy Lights" again. Barbara Santi sadly can't make it but Ian Bucknole will be filming, helped by a UCF student.

Diary dates are:

Wednesday 14th December, 10.30am -12pm
  Friends and Dancing end of term Christmas gathering with friends and family - all welcome - at Studio J, The Performance Centre. 
The dances by Friends and Dancing can be some of the most moving, and this is a chance to see their work (although we've had little rehearsal time this term) they are well worth seeing, as some of the dancers are unable to perform in other groups.

Friday 16th December
Works in Progress from Shallal main company, and Thursday group in community evening at The Performance Centre, entrance free. time tbc

Backstage photos from Variety evening

Marjorie, Micahel, Zoe, Colin, Anna with Luke, Eddie and Skye.
 Backstage at the Princess pavillions, from the Variety night, photos thanks to Jacqui who was there to speak about Apex.
Michael and Colin


Marjorie and Zoe

Friday, 18 November 2011

Rory's visit and a study of hands

A study of hands, in the art session....
Toby, working from Zoe's black and white photo

Zoe, Doorway



Eddie, portraits


Rory and Colin

Well if you roll back time 15yrs or so, was the last time Rory and I worked together in St Peter's hall, a joy to be working together again thanks to providence and The BBC funding for part of the Doorways project, we got excited and could spring board many more projects just off one idea and chat....
We could have invited in many talented local dancers/ choreographers, but decided to invite Rory who has worked with us before and knows how we work, which speeds up the whole process.
He has multi art skills as well which help with the way we develop work.
I had hoped to photograph Rory with the company, but today was a day of delays, and we staggered in at various times and for various reasons, but good work was done,  a new duet with Colin and Zoe and costume coming together slowly. Toby brought in a fabulous tunic and hat he made.
Sam managed to find her way here, so she begins her 4 week trial with the main company and we are happy to have her with us. Sam comes to Friends and Dancing and has attended Penryn Improvisation and Performance group
We have a date to visit Gyllngdune Gardens in January, so all progressing nicely, and Rory now definitely working with us on Doorways...hurray!

St Peter's Hall
I have worked here for many years and am very fond of this hall, so put the photo on for nostalgic reasons!

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Quick updates.
Rory visiting the company this Friday and development of Doorways project underway.
This term has seen playing with ideas, settling in,  outreach to Big Health Day at Eden and short performance at Variety show... just done.
Artists visits to Penryn group, 2 art workshops with Candy and now awaiting inspired music to continue working with- no pressure Roger and Jamie!!
Possibility of making short film from Chromatic, funded by The Performance Centre, we should know soon if we can squeeze this in in time, hopeful as feel it would be a lovely finish to that piece.
 Exciting end of term opportunities with The Performance Centre, for all the groups......more soon.
Also good news this week of Open House Redruth reopening soon thanks to funding, and Friends and Dancing will also be funded for the next 2 terms!  more information coming soon.
Jacqui and Eddie have just given us Apex's CD, which we look forward to working with.

Monday, 7 November 2011

BBC Performing Arts Fund, Community Dance Winner

Shallal are thrilled to be one of the recipients of the BBC Performing Arts Fund Community Dance awards.

"The Community Dance announcements have been made! You can find the full list of winners (downloadable PDF) and the statement on the BBC Press Office website:

We have also written a blog so that visitors to the BBC PAF website can read about the great news! "

The funding will enable a dance artist/choreographer to work with Shallal creating site specific performances for the summer of 2012. The venues planned are Godolphin House, Gyllngdune Gardens, Falmouth and Mousehole.
Discussion is going ahead with dance artist Rory Mcdermott. We had a lovely meeting today and he will visit the main company on the 18th November before finalising working with us.
We first worked with Rory 17 years ago, and he brings a depth of experience, challenge and understanding to Shallal's process and performance and we hope to work with him again.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Magical Christmas Cracker Variety Night

As advertised we will be there: with Zoe's new dance to Siobhan, Jacqui and Apex's song, and Eddie's version of Singing in the rain! with complete cast of 7! and a few umbrellas!
We look forward to it and hope you can come.

Zoe's poem

A poem written by Zoe in the Art session last time.
Posted for Roger Pinsent (composer) to read and see if it could be set to music, as i can't find another of hers - i need to keep looking - this one deserves to be read aloud and is remarkable for it's colour imagery, and linking visual sounds and images. I think it probably works better alone and will continue to look for Zoe's other poem someone else had started on and need to show Roger our poetry portfolio etc.
Many years ago Jamie Brown wrote am amazing poem Roger set to music.

                                                       summer  sun
    Rising sun shining round, yellow orange behind
                 Dark brown castle, sitting top of calm 
                     Water’s cave, warm is a Hot like  
                                   Sunny day 
                 Come out where cat’s purring gazey 
                  and girls playing furry fur warm 
                         cosy cats  round ? round 
                       running from Hanging sun
                          Drop  Drop  blue will be 
                          brown to peace yellow 
                               shining Bright
                          silver sun, cooling Red
             Sun up! Bright High Pearl is a Pearl cat 

                    Where the sun speaking calling 
                                sticking boy’s 
                     Acting in the dark ages behind 
                        inside St Michael’s Mount 
                       very brown he in so bright
                     shining bright as sun set setting 
                              Drop! Drop sun 
                 Bollard holding hunting yellow 
                     The Hot speak fire ball Birds 
                              flying catching 
                               How coloured 
                            will show the sun 
                            Holding rising sun 
                              shining all day 
                                 midnight  call
                             mid Drift  rising sun 
by Zoe Wilton 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Big Health Day

            There should be a better photo coming soon,courtesy of photographer in blue!
     But just to show we were there! represented by Zoe in the centre surrounded by Flava.
   It was another highly successful event. Flava came and joined in the workshop,
which had many familiar and new faces - a real joy as ever, and everyone very confident.

Hope rekindled to start something the future in Truro, as a lovely group of people from Launceston are keen to consider continuing. They can travel to Truro in 3/4hr so it's possible, and would be worth considering a monthly event..we shall see, need a good space and some positive partnerships.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Big Health Day

                           Shallal are at the Big Health Day.

 Dance workshop at 10.30am with Jo Willis and Zoe Wilton.
 New Solo by Zoe at about 12.30pm.

The new solo is to a piece by Siobhan Purdy and Jacqui Callis, 
(originally created for the Variety Show at Princess Pavillions, Falmouth on 16th Nov.)

The song came out of work from Apex, which is really worth looking at

Shallal were present last year at the Big Health Day ( Friends and Dancing performed) and it was a great event.

Flava are there this year and we had hoped to do collaborative performance with a few dancers, but time was against us, however we both hope this may happen in the future.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Kerry and Thursday's Art and Music

There is often wonderful news and progress to share and last Friday we celebrated how upright Kerry is now.
Kerry and Linda have worked really hard together in the warm ups in the main company. Kerry is dedicated in her commitment to dance and when Open House was running she was able to dance 3 times a week.
Linda and Kerry

 Kerry now works with everyone in the company with increased physical confidence, she and Sam are developing a powerful short duet. She takes risks and adds an amazing intensity, absorption and concentration to many pieces of performance. Kerry has her own story to tell and maybe one day she will put some of it on the blog.

last Thursday Candy came to The Penryn group to start exploring art with us, here are 2 of the many pieces produced, expressing the movement/colour rhythm etc. I am excited by it and looking forward to how it all progresses.
Tallulah's drawing

Carly's painting 
This Thursday we add an artist/musician to our exploratory collaborations. Jamie has worked with this group before and we hope to look at an old unfinished piece using rhythm and a wall, we shall see how it transposes to this new space as it was part of our playing against a wonderful big wall at the Z shed.
Carol and Jamie at Falmouth Art Gallery
Jamie has gone on to do wonderful collaborations with Stella Azzurra ( and Sarah Jarvis ( dance artists.

Jamie Mills is an interdisciplinary artist and musician. His visual work and largely improvised music is an exploration into internal/external dialogues surrounding a sense of place, landscape and experience (

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

                                                               Friends and Dancing
though we had many people away this week - we often number 24 ! -
I had the camera with me and wanted to try and capture some moments from this group.
There is a strong core of people from the beginning of the group over a year ago and many new faces as well.
For many people it is one of the highlights of their week - I always look forward to it.

I was moved by some of the comments this week;
"It's a safe space."
"It's something to do I don't want to be stuck at home on my own, I want to get out to see people, make friends."

Two of the women are meeting today so one can show the other how to get to the Thursday group by bus, and then find it as it's up on Tremough Campus!

The group has raised money through it's Sponsored Dance to help it to keep going this term, and as ever we await funding!
While looking around this morning to see who funds positive social inclusion came across:  

"....the most convincing voices supporting the positive impacts of the projects come from the participants themselves who referred to gaining skills and increasing confidence through participation in arts projects."

Not just a treat: Arts and Social Inclusion        
A report to the Scottish Arts Council by Glasgow University

It is unbelievably tiring to keep convincing people when the work has worked for over 20 years, when the need is there, when it's been shown to work, when you have to spend hours searching for money, when you could be doing the work and more: developing it, planting it in new areas, helping new people join in.
I end up concentrating more on images in this blog but, there is so much to say in support of the work. I'm not possibly the one to say it and have never wanted to shout about the work, feeling it speaks for itself and it's the artists voices that need to be heard and society is the richer for hearing all our voices.
 But I am upset, angry about how after all these years there are still so few places that enable positive inclusion, where people can go, feel safe, feel it's aimed for them but includes and attracts others who want to share and work with them, where there is a mutuality and respect, where they are often the most talented people there, not always on the receiving end but able to fully contribute at their level and give back.

How would you feel if most of your life you could only just follow what was going on? being said around you: exhausted, under confident, lonely? I definitely felt a small amount of that the other day when asked a maths question in a large group my mind went blank, I would have needed a lot of time, quiet support and slow explanations to cope, this was not available and I just left and cried! 
Many people with learning disabilities have developed a good front to protect their vulnerability. The language of gesture, (movement, dance - and music)  is a shared language which we all read, but  which many people with learning disabilities are more sophisticated and at home with than other people. This a shared and equal world and naturally calls forth the right support from others and enables decision making and choice. We no longer have huge institutions but we can still have lives with little choice or creativity or opportunity, or positive meeting places. 

Part of my early career was spent at Budock Hospital and I still remember those I worked with there very fondly, every morning that I would walk in to the bottom corridor I would wish someone would blow it up! 
It is no longer there. 
Now what I wish is to see other things growing and flowering in the community. My children are growing up not having seen the oppression of big institutions but they need to see positive role models, so that can never happen again.

art again

Alan's work

This last week Alan returned looking really well from a summer at Holifield 
( ) and it was good to have him back with us and to see his art work.
Sam with wonderful line drawings
This week everyones work was their own voice, very exciting work, and Michael wrote his wonderful puns over a drawing of hands.
Zoe brought in her new camera and started filming rehearsals and outdoors. Film may help some of the company develop and remember improvisations into performance and we were excited at the possibility of using it regularly.

Michael with many circles