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,  http://shallal-arts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/an-account-of-wheelchair-use.html 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!"

A reply to Downs Syndrome TV programme

Well what i can i say, i saw an article by Sally Phillips last week a friend pointed it out to me, and then watched the programme last night...." A World Without Downs Syndrome? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07ycbj5

My whole work is founded on the joy and pleasure i receive from many people who are labelled with 'disability' and sharing and showing their talents within society, enabling opportunities and spaces so we can all benefit from each other.
 I am horrified, speechless, angry, upset, disappointed ( and worse, not surprised) and need to reconsider if in Shallal we ever do obviously 'political' work! I think i never have partly, as those of you who work with me know, that i am quickly outspoken! also i am not sure i have a gift for it and i feel people with support needs have enough to face each day, without emphasising how some of society is unsupportive and against you. I prefer to cultivate the positive and know we have changed some peoples perceptions, even if only a little.
We all need experience and understanding. I believe we are all equal, unique, mysterious, wonderful and loved in the eyes of God ( all created in His image) and that is enough for me.

When i first started seriously thinking about it at 17 I thought that a really good society would place the care of those were vulnerable at it's heart and the love and care for them would then radiate out into the love and care given throughout society. I would come home in tears to my mother, who was trained as a nurse, and talk to her about how unfair it all was! her ethos permeated all my thinking about it, everyone is important we are People first. I am very grateful to her.

Our last child Luke was born when i was 44 and i was offered screening for Downs syndrome the midwife continued to promote it to me even when i said, "Some of my close friends have Downs syndrome and i am finding this offensive, i wouldn't have a termination anyway so please stop!"
Also many years ago i had a friend, who was an older mother, who had an amniocentesis test and then had a miscarriage and so lost her baby, her despair was severe.

It is hard to live in society where some of the values promoted are not those we believe in, but there has always been a fight and in my early work it was the old institutions and hospitals people with perceived disabilities were put in. I have been overjoyed in recent years to see so many children and people with downs syndrome loved in their families and in schools and society, lets not loose this.
Choice is interesting and talked about a lot in the TV show, choices can be wrong and misguided they are not in themselves always good, we all need education, experience, support and real help.

Few people ever talk about the regret and grief some mothers experience after choosing termination, I have heard many speak about it in private, it is not easy, and we don't judge but we need to be aware and make fully informed choices and when you are pregnant you are very vulnerable.

Lets just choose to love and support each other more and to celebrate the beauty and difference we all hold.

If you have got to the end of this, I'm posting it when i need to be advertising our show tomorrow, come along and see for yourself the real beauty and gifts of many people, (including those who have Downs syndrome) who happen to be our good friends and make our lives better and richer for knowing them.