Saturday, 25 February 2012

Working in Studio J at The Performance Centre, Thursday group

How lovely is this studio!
There were only 7 of us last Thursday but everyone did really good work and Anna brought Michael's camera, so wanted to show what a lovely space it is! Thank you to The Performance Centre's widening participation for us being here and to The Woodward Trust for the last 2 terms. The time we meet is currently 7 - 8.30pm.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

State of the Arts Conference

So..i got there, the first thing,  i couldn't match up flights and had to drive! 6 -7 hours, however those who know me know i do early mornings!
Many thanks to the Arts Council for their care and hospitality, especially of the bursary artists.
 The event was run with input from Manchester International Festival and the BBC which made it all a richer experience.
Where to start; our accomodation was in a Holiday Inn in Media City, an interesting place with modern archietecture - i felt i had come into my teenage childrens world, hi tech and digital, - and then a tram ride into Manchester to the Hive, for our first meeting of bursay artists - 100 applied and 50 were chosen -, a short film, "What Matters?" now on their website ://
commissioned by the Arts Council, and then short introductions, although these take time i'm a great fan of this as you have short reference to each person can place them/their art form, and choose to follow up and chat to them, it definitely broke the ice for us all and afterwards we could all talk whenever we met.
There were many interesting conversations, not least as there were 3 of us from Cornwall!
We walked to hear Robert Wilson who i had never heard of but am now very intrigued by, especially his work with Raymond and Christopher both with varying challenges and profound insights to those who could follow them, which it seems he did.

then on to The Whitworth Gallery, by this time I had remembered my time living in London and was enjoying the feel of a city again. Greeted by bubbly wine and the enjoying the private view of Cotton: Global Threads exhibition. We were flagging by now, past my bed time and so didn't join the crush to hear the speeches, but stood on the edge and then ate, chatted and left to rest for the next day, leaving some to party to  world music duo Amadou and Mariam.

The conference was held at the Lowry a modern theatre in Media City. Kirsty Wark introduced it, Ed Vaizey MP Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, spoke well ....

Artists and communities;
the 2 comments about disability /inclusion from myself and another delegate were not noted/fed back to the larger panel, the Arts Council/arts world still has some way to go on this - as we all do - we need to constantly question ourselves, learn from feedback, there was a plea I heard twice for having the text on films for those hard of hearing or with English as a second language or...I take that on as we haven't, and i was reminded we still haven't managed to sign our work.
listened to Rosie Kay describe her work particularly her research, creation and the use of 5 Soldiers
Dan Thompson's Pop Up work and call for flexibility was inspiring,
Walk the Plank were interesting, large scale outdoor productions/events........
sat next to Ruth from Cape Farewell; artists, scientists and climate change in fragile places..... ...more inspiring work.
 met Miriam O' Keefe from BBC who have given us funding for the Doorways Project.

A really nice surprise to bump into Neville Gabie - we usually meet through family and friends -.....
Neville recently worked as  the Artist in residence on the Olympic Park.

after lunch groups
Artists and Audiences;
very interesting speakers from British museums and Greenwich International free Festival,
but think i might have gained more from the funding workshop, they had someone speaking from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation ......but couldn't face it when i booked in.

Later on I sat next to Emma who is working on Space project about to be launched by BBC and ACE, sounded very interesting when talked about, new digital platform etc (not so much when written about),

slightly wilting by now, still some excellent talks particularly by David Edgar..... and some wrap up rap by Contact Theatre
walked over the bridge to drinks at Imperial War Museum and met nice woman Chloe from Proper Job Theatre company

Someone i didn't get to meet was Tim Wheeler from Mind the Gap, who i was going to be introduced to...have just looked at their website and am sorry to have missed the opportunity ..a mational touring theatre company of a high standard with actors with LD's

Many thanks to ACE for the bursary and it was good to put my head outside Cornwall and see some of what's going on and hear some of the current debates, there are age old themes, how to survive is the main one, which doesn't by it's nature change much but, how people approach it / live with it does, and how artists use and reflect contemporary society etc
Thank you to everyone i met and chatted to which enriched it all, this is just a brief overview and the ideas i heard and encountered will feed into my research for a long time, such as a conversation about the use of smell/scent in small scale performance..but all that another time!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Hoping to perform at UCF's Diversifest week on Friday 9th March and wondering what to do, we showed Works in Progress last time we were there before Christmas, we have these but some have developed and we are right at beginning of new devising process..but realise i like this part the best....a friend Nigel Maynard has taken some wonderful photos of water falling over Drift dam and would love to backproject them, have just written to "musical" friends of Shallal, as live music would be wonderful, we shall see what happens ..if anything this time

Other ideas perculating away from recent rehearsals; Debs brought in an old recording of her uncle singing, played on cassette on an old family radio/player - duet with her and Trevor, there are 2 poems so far, word shower, a mad one off big group improvisation with a step ladder..can we make anything from it in 2 rehearsals!
 What can be used, what kept for the garden? at the moment involving flowers, flying mermaids - will they last?- boat watchers, ravens, Edwardian ladies, gardener, .....and lets not forget the Door!

The company is over 20 people at the moment and for the first time we felt squashed rolling around in St Peter's Hall last week and there were 4 people away...
Sammy is back with some more support, Jewel is waiting for Tallulah to return from Cuba! before trying the company again.

There is also an exhibition coming up at Studio 61 in March, featuring Zoe, Eddie and Toby's work, and hopefully Andy Parker..keeping it simple this time, as these artists have already framed work to show - as this will be done on no budget but, we hope it will be the start of many exhibitions of visual arts from main co members and friends of Shallal.......still want to do a Supported Studios project, just waiting for it to ferment and hopefully fall into place! If you carry an idea around long enough it often happens..and another project is to work with people with high needs in Centres. We already do these sessions sporadically in Murdoch and Trevithick and John Daniel Centre, but want to find funding and develop it, one facilitator with one dancer.....
so much can be done, but this would need proper funding... many people are getting out now to access community groups, which is ideal, but the logistics for this is still very complicated for this group of people, so we would go to them and then develop the work.
The freedom it is possible to experience when using/borrowing someone else's body to move with can be an incredible experience and the profound difference of touch in that way, through dance movement/ gestural language relationship, in contrast to the functional care people experience, and just the fun of it: the range dance can cover from social fun/ rhythm to deep creative sharing and expression in a short time..the functional aspect of stretching to the body in art...
I didn't work creatively yesterday, may explain all this today....  but went to Human Rights Human Lives training day, (with Rory and Colin)..if you stay in the same field of work /experience long enough, ask the same questions; choice, decisions, freedom .... it's interesting to watch developments and things have moved on, now there is legisaltion supporting rights such as The Mental Capacity Act..think i should go and reread the notes they gave us..
if you've read to the end, well done!
weather permitting I'm off to SOTA conference next week...thanks to the Arts Council for the bursary.