Saturday, 17 December 2016


Many things to share:
Olga's 80th Birthday!
Olga was in Shallal Dance Theatre for many wonderful years and now performs regularly with Echoes Dance co and Star.
We wish her a Happy and Wonderful Birthday and send her a huge Thank you for such lovely times together!
I rummaged and found this photo, there maybe many more, there was a wonderful short film by Phil Jacobs, Olga was in period costume with peacocks i remember, from MASK i think. Danu Fox was our manager then and her daughter Molly is now one of the most recent members in Shallal Dance Theatre!
Olga with Valerie and below Liam, Valerie and our old mutual friend Eileen.

Also I remember blogging Kerry standing tall some years ago, now this is her normal posture - fantastic and good to have her back after being unwell.
As usual a fun Christmas Party, Demleza and i agree it's one of our highlights! a shared lunch, good company, this year a spontaneous Charade style game in the centre of the tables by individuals, a hearty sing-a-long, ( thank you Glen and the Wheeler family, Demelza and Tina especially for enthusiastically inspiring this!) some dancing and a photo session with Father Christmas who came rather late - out of Peter's bag!!
more photos on FB:
Carving workshops have been really successful and very popular, there are two more after Christmas.
Many people especially Peter and Ben take it to it so naturally "a chip of the old block!" more photos on FB.

Express Yourself goes from strength to strength and just needs more funding, all our community groups are healthy in creativity and people but all vulnerable financially as at present they have no major funding, short term projects and sustainability in action for now, so this year our Sponsored Dance on 6th January is particularly for them. Since our monthly business meetings so much more is now possible and we all feel on the pulse of it all and working to sustain and develop the work from the vision of all those involved.

Review of Doorways rehearsals at SDT yesterday, more work to come and lots to think about, a challenging but wonderful site, with four distinct areas and all public spaces!
I came home to a video of the Liskeard groups Bodmin performance and well done to them and how exciting to see it. We need to try to film them with music we can have in the public domain a project for Next year! Peggy joined us this week she is 95!
Victoria and i plan to re-sort out the Shallal archives in the new year!

Off to Hall for Cornwall ( HFC) on Sunday to see the Pantomine with Shallal 2, thanks to HFC Community Club Project. We have four members under ten at present so we all chose a child friendly show, boo hiss etc!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas News

We round off the year with Shallal Dance Theatre informal Christmas Party tomorrow and yesterday saw Express Yourself's ( EY) Christmas Sharing and Zoe and George at St Johns Hall, Penzance dancing for 80 Cornwall council workers.....

I heard great things of Express Yourself and was sorry not to be there but had seen some of the work earlier in rehearsal.

Yesterday morning while last minute searching for music for Zoe, i thought of George and thankfully he was able to come which made a more exciting combination, our slot was reduced from 20 mins to 10 they were running late, so very glad to go but also glad not to have brought more people....
we now have a minimum combination 3 of us up to our 30! and all in between, i have just finished Pop Ups report and though i struggle to write and answer criteria it was good to re-reflect on it all - a really simple and effective project.

Have written late to invite our visiting/guest artists this year to our Christmas Party - thanks to Doorways funding - we have had a rich input of many art forms and are very grateful.

Also really good AGM recently so a time to Thank everyone who makes it all possible!

Oh and pick up your Shallal Sketchbook from Falmouth Art Gallery and settle down to fill it over the Christmas Holidays
for an exhibition in Falmouth Art Gallery in February!

Fun to be working with Victoria and Lou on developing it and
lovely to hand on ideas, groups and see them flower: Colin at EY and Victoria with the Sketchbooks! Thank you to them both.

new red dress works well

notes on shows

So looking forward to Wednesday .....Zoe and I are going to St Johns Hall, Penzance, to dance and sing a little and introduce Shallal's work to some of Cornwall Council staff by invitation of Aaron Rodger. We celebrate 28 years of working together!
I am still really enjoying working with the new group at Liskeard, they have gelled so quickly it no longer feels new! The nature of the work is every group, every person, teaches you so much!

So two shows in the making, a report to finish (so blogging instead of committing to good prose!) and an exhibition at the beginning of the new year! variety......
Nice work in the morning, i came in needing more material for Doorways Falmouth and we now have three or more potential pieces to build on, Demelza and Peter and Jonathan and Star, Molly and co, groups for building, Passmore's new hat...
Shallal 2 are half way there in the new work, music and themes identified just need to form it more, and lastly the order.

Monday, 28 November 2016

last week

Images from the week:

Doorways visiting artists continue with Patrick Mcwilliam and sculpture/carving - fun!! everyone who did it last week loved it and did really well...

More dances coming together for the piece and Barbara Santi in filming for a short 'older' dancer film, i dislike categories, but if we do this we show older dancers/artists working with every other age, so celebrating and getting our inclusion perspective out there!

Animation design also started with Barbara....
and postcards i am collecting for our AGM getting finished! bring them in all of you who are late or have forgotten!!

Currently writing termly report and thinking i had nothing much to say and then finding we are full, full full, wonderful and thank you to our funders and donors!

AGM Friday 2pm Newlyn

Showing from Footprints this Saturday 3 - 6pm Saturday Back Lane West, Redruth
come along for refreshments and to see some of the work produced over the past month!

Ben and Brian

6 work benches and all go...

some worked in pairs and then this group were left and created a great new piece!

with Katy! and Jo behind - eyes right!

photos by Victoria, so pleased she and George are working on the book, see George's lovely photos from the residency on the studios blog

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The past week

from Craig at Squashbox Theatre
 "had a really wonderful time performing to the group - one of the best audiences I've ever had!"
"I loved doing my show for you!
It was a real joy to perform for an audience who were so attentive and enthusiastic."

We were able to invite in other groups to watch as well....
Craig showing how the puppets work 

Well done to Alice, Janice and Tom on Tuesday night at the Bodmin Dance Platform we hope to make it a regular event in our calender!
I love the Liskerett centre the warm, clean, uncluttered, light space with shafts of light and a view!!
unwinding towards the end of the session
Janice, Tom and Pam

Last not least a great week for BLW;  more details on Shallal Studios blog

this week visited The Shallal Sketchbooks and yesterday the Collective, and this weekend sees Pep, Colin and Kerry with some mats and a stepladder! joined in the afternoon by musicians Delpha and Nigel! with Kerry and Mel in on Sunday ( Toby maybe as well)
The next week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday i get a chance to 'play" with Shallal artists and guests moving and drawing and ....! 
Come and see some of what has happened on Saturday 3rd December  3 - 6pm
and another chance with interactions in the Private view ( we are fixing the date ) At Helston Museum gallery 3- 16 January

looking at film
And just a few hat photos! from last week :

hats in the making!
and today we celebrate Victoria's birthday she has brought so much to Shallal and this afternoon she delivers the second Shallal Sketchbook Project workshop with St Levan School.

if you haven't seen it then....

This afternoon Barbara Santi returns with film opportunities , animation this time!- and we start work with Patrick Mcwilliam on sculpture!!

Behind the scenes Lou soon starts writing bid/s for us and our AGM is next Friday 2pm 2nd December at St Peter's Hall, Newlyn.

This summer holidays was the first summer for many years when i haven't had to carry concerns about structure and funding and i am very grateful to everyone who has enabled that, and to those in the past who supported us through to this point.

About to sign off without mentioning the real improvement and sensitive and confident work, withinteresting choreography, i saw at Friends and Dancing this week! do get along to their Sharing on morning of 14 December, Dracaena Centre, Falmouth if you can.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A rich time & a short rant re moving on/forwards Art: Provision, Perspective and Delivery of art for everyone!

We've just had a wonderful rich time:

A show by Squashbox Theatre to Shallal Dance Theatre and guests, followed by a really interesting discussion on how Craig creates work etc, part of our Doorways Rand D.

Wonderful opportunity to see a free HFC show all together for most Shallal community groups! Thank you Hall for Cornwall, each group decides on a show they want to see, that will be fun in itself!
Shallal Sketchbooks first 'proper' outing, of its relaunch, at St Levan School, wonderful images and a great success, well done Victoria - so pleased!

Amazing hats emerging from workshops with Victoria and Amanda

in the week......
Book meeting held so we are on our way, where it will lead we don't quite know yet, but i just needed it started,  the team are Victoria and George (with me floating around) and we hope to be helped by George's friend Jonathan
also 'phew' something positive - to combat the trends in the NHS screening

Good meeting with trustees Nick and Lesley-ann, we learn a lot from their experience, insight and support - thank you - and Lou is now able to crack on with our next stage in our strategy for funding, and all those lovely possibilities and plans....

Liskeard new group, small but beautiful, a little microcosm of who Shallal reaches and speaks to and three of them are performing on Tuesday at Bodmin College in a dance platform...see poster...

Footprints residency at Back lane West nearly half way through - Jo Lumber in the studio with writing, performing and music on her mind this weekend  - i love residencies, the chance to dig deeper, dwell longer on things and in process and more friends to join us....

Shallal Sketchbooks there on Monday and Tuesday...see poster....

3 of the Liskeard group. Janice, Alice and Tom - final pose of last dance! all improv so come along and see them in action on Tuesday evening!
more photos on FB page

A slightly older blog which fits with the "Hurray" we are pursuing our funding dreams...
"I'm one of those people who learn by talking, or ear bashing! apologies those who have to listen!
so today when discussing how next to look for funding for Shallal with Lou, i felt strongly that - as i had said ( politely i hope ) in my provocation at AHSW conference -
Please, lets stop congratulating ourselves that art makes a difference in peoples lives, we know that! Art Therapies have been around a long time now, Community Arts long enough to know they work and should have supporting evidence eg,  dance is good for your health, well being, confidence, decision making etc etc etc. I'm not an academic but papers have been written on rather than reinventing the wheel or saying again 'good hygiene is good for health' - we know that, 'The arts can work' we know that,
So how do you present them?
How do you take them out into the wider society, the world of creative arts so everyone can join in, not just in ghetto groups but i want to suggest change in Art: 'perspective, provision and delivery', i want Shallal to, ideally, be funded for that!"


the first 2 have been on my mind and then the third popped in, and recently i had the opportunity to talk about it to Artist Joan Gabie
What happens when the art absorbs you, painting/drawing/dancing, timelessness takes over, you touch something else
you can't command it, you can make opportunity to fall into it
What unities people who like to dance together....?

non verbal art forms.....


and so it goes on....

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Catch Up

Eddie's hat in the making

Lydia at lunchtime.
Lydia is a lady of outfits, sometimes 3 a day!!
this was her Halloween theme for lunch
Now with Facebook and our Shallal Studios blog, it is sometimes a decision as to where to put things, however this blog is still a good place for bits from everything.

Open invitation to friends to join us on Friday 18th 11am for free Squashbox Theatre Show at St Peter's Hall, Newlyn.

Good news that the Safariseat Kickstarter project we have mentioned and advertised on FB, has hit a target to £50,000 and is still going strong.

Footprints residency at Back Lane West has started and going strong, last week Joan Gabie followed by Anna and Annis, this week Laura Menzies and friends, follow it on Shallal Studios blog and FB.

Shallal Sketchbooks relaunch with Victoria Hodgkinson and has its first official outing soon to St Levan School and then the residency. Fantastic to have it in partnership with Falmouth Art Gallery and library, and how things swing round as some years ago the Libraries put in for a combined project and now it is happening! and also on

Some Shallal Studio artists are signed up for Outside In Pallant House Gallery South West touring exhibition hope some of them get in, more on Studios blog.

So a few photos from around Shallal:
Colin's hands and my feet captured by Victoria's camera,
our arty meeting, pulling together Dreams and Visions and ideas from Shallal Dance Theatre for the next Doorways Show
and we have the date July 14 

A plethora of wonderful photos lovingly sorted into a book and extra put on a special FB page - Thank you Belinda.

Happy Birthday to Demelza a week or so ago!
this one made me laugh!
Demelza and Colin! 

Photos from rehearsal 4 November:
experience and risk taking, combined in Demelza, Kerry and Zoe.
Kerry with Colin and Pep are in BLW soon for a day exploring hanging off stepladders!

Skye has written and recorded a lovely song for us, but i was unsure how we would use it, however on Friday it found its home accompanying this, which became a potential centre piece with 4 other supporting groups for the stairwell maybe - very exciting! The teenagers are sorely missed however we were able to commission this song from Skye, and Anna and Annis have been in Back Lane West, so we are all still connected!

Lydia threw off her pink visor - very fetching on Colin!

Really good morning at least 4 new pieces on the way

Thinking of making a short documentary with Barbara Santi for a PDSW competition which focuses on dancers over 50! there are 8 of us now over 50, our age range at present is 19 - 83 or 84?

"The world isn't simple enough to explain in words," Studio Ghibli creator Miyazaki from film The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.

His working process is lovely, he doesn't know the end till he gets there....

Friday 30 September a busy day!

"We are very pleased that the group enjoyed taking part.  What a fantastic group that you facilitate. It was a privilege to be part of it for the afternoon.

Yes, it was a great high score, and we will definitely keep you informed of the competition results."

Dr Amanda Lucas
Postdoctoral Research Associate
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter
Cornwall Campus

Thank you to trustee Hennie who recommended us for, we knew not what! and to Colin who made it run smoothly and Amanda and Debbie the researchers!
Screens were put up forms and instructions circulated around the place and participants waited on chairs as in a waiting room, but a quiet bubble of intrigue and interest was sustained and the result was fun and some surprising high scores - hidden talents to the fore!

All that after:
 a visit from old Shallal friend Patrick Mcwilliam ( previously known for enthusiasm and vaulting over piano stools at Open House Penzance! many years ago) and some wild and wonderful ideas already percolating for sculptures, installations and more!
Barbara popping in, so grateful for all her multi layered input and support
Tom Willoughby leading a morning fun and interesting dance/movement/ mime/hiphop style workshop with high appeal
During which George and i managed a creative meeting to get the next phase of rehearsals and planning moving
Last not least George and Victoria will work on our book 
and more:
Zoe's wonderful red dress in time for the Summer Pop Up show!!
busy day!
Thanks to Victoria for sourcing this, Zoe was thrilled.

Passmore Edwards and his hat by Eddie
(Passmore Edwards turned down a knighthood twice!)

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


The hilarity of watching the nearly final edit of "The Duchess and the doll"
everyone so enjoyed it, and the filming day was beautiful, bluebells and sunshine and lots of great acting!

Trevor, always the gentlemen, often gives flowers, i bought these in to draw as they were so colourful and he decided they were for him - why not! the only man to give me champagne spontaneously, for no reason, wrapped in a blue plastic bag - Thank you Trevor!

more hilarity!

focus now! thorough recording of ideas for Falmouth, very exciting, 4 different potential areas to use for performance

Saturday, 22 October 2016

News from this term, Trengwaiton Gardens Shallal Dance Theatre, Wheal Martyn Museum Shallal 2 and new group at Liskerett Centre

So much going on recently, the sun shone for our outing at Trengwainton and we had a really good time.....
lots of wonderful art work, photographs, poetry from Trengwainton still to sift through, thanks again to Barbara Santi and team
Shallal 2's trip to Wheal Martyn, wonderful site and our own tour guide.....There was a lot to learn and marvel at and we want to return again, this time possibly with Zoe taking photographs of dancers in the spaces.
Erin and Mia have joined mum Maz this term, Rosie in the background and Jo L - who could be mistaken for our tour guide!

Ley with others and Maybelle

New wonderful Liskeard group at the lovely light and airy Liskerett Centre: every Thursday morning in term time, spread the word!
Pam and Janice


The initial participants jelled so quickly that we are already working towards showing a little of their work at the Bodmin Dance Platform 22nd November.
Many thanks to old Shallal friend Alison Duress for inviting us and for Tom our support artist, it's a pleasure to work with him.

Then the final report for The Wardrobe Project: many thanks to our humble unnamed funder.... the skills gained are reflected not just in textiles and costumes created but the ease in which the company now works with each other to dress a performance sharing and sourcing items for each other.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Safariseat Kickstarter Campaign fantastic new wheelchair design!

For any of you who have ever pushed a wheelchair, which snags at the first stone and you feel you are bumping and rattling the poor passenger with every push and there's not much you can do to make it better and you/they can't go smoothly over rough ground unless the chair costs a fortune, and if you're propelling yourself it's darned hard work on the hands -if you can do it.

 Well there is now a positive solution.

Some of you may remember me sharing the story of Freddy hurtling downhill in his wheelchair when he broke his knee, the silver lining of that hard time has turned into this design.

Safariseat Kickstarter Campaign 
Kickstarter have chosen Safariseat as a 'project we love' which means they get behind it and will help spread the word on social media. 

Share it, back it if you can and here's to more cheap, good, generous and creative solutions to such problems and lets hope they make them soon in the UK.

Freddy is my oldest nephew, ( i am a proud auntie!)
Congratulations and good wishes to him and all the team for this enterprise and more to come!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

from Summer Pop Ups

Wrote this a while ago but still want to post it:
I find I am still reeling underneath from the TV show ( and struggling and angry and hurting and many things to be looked at ).Last week we had friends staying whose daughter is volunteering on a rescue boat in the Mediterranean, her mother was receiving texts and 750 people were saved in one trip, they were overjoyed to be saved but what are the responses in some countries to them when they arrive to safety?
(Kneehigh by the way are involved and doing helpful stuff for refugees... see link as to how to help)
Star, Trevor, Jonathan and Zoe in Shallal Summer Pop ups and more, they were 'and more' unrehearsed!

Do we see "our brother as our life," do we feel connected and "love our neighbour," do we "share" there is so much to respond to, do we feel compassion fatigue and exhausted and anxious just about our own life?
Wherever we are we have struggles and we need beauty and community and care, sharing. Years ago after doing various voluntary work watching people learn and change their understanding and the whole range through to burn out, and seeing the range of needs we have in the world we live in I felt we need to choose out 'little' patch and work on it while supporting those on theirs, being supportive of each other. There is a lot i'd like to do i don't have the skills for and it would grind me down. I do believe it should be mutual and give you joy ( which is different from the American pursuit of happiness).
I hadn't meant to ramble on but a conversation yesterday brought it to the fore and I felt the need to mention to people who hadn't seen the programme so they know what is out there now.

I came into work frazzled yesterday, something i try not to do, and as ever I was amazed and impressed by the artistry, presence and creativity of everyone in the company. It was showing our pop ups indoors and some totally new spontaneous work - one of the reasons i was artistically stretched however it is also the technical side ( too many buttons and leads, and music on different systems) and many of our supports were away - i am, as i get older, so grateful and rely far more heavily, on our fantastic team, but we don't always have the budget to have everyone in place and we are a community group so sometimes people have other commitments. In the end we technically survived and i forget one piece which i was reminded of and all went well - phew!

As it was a nice informal style show i presented it and explained some of our new work techniques and so a professional friend said she watched to see 'flaws," "wobbles" and she couldn't. The style really allows people to take artistic control, choice, and they just need reminding and support in this. Presence and spontaneity are joyful, life affirming things to do and to behold.
Many people have written well on play and improvisation, and play and art are the same word in some languages i am told. Improvisation is like childhood play it is fun, magical etc but to the child it is serious it is practising skills for life and a very important part of their development, it teaches in the moment response, not reaction ( and is why it can be especially challenging to people on the autistic spectrum, although they can do it very well and do enjoy it).
Another professional old Shallal friend wrote: : Delighted to see Shallal again! spent the entire show with a broad smile on my face. Shallal's combination of humour, grace and originality is a winner :) Thank you!"