Monday, 18 December 2017

End of term.....

Steve Tanner portraits for our book and website.
Marjorie is our oldest member ( now in her 80's) and a founding member and unstinting support throughout all of Shallal Dance Theatre's journey. Many thanks to her from us all!
End of term and still so much going on:
The Christmas tree decorated by Shallal 2 is still standing till end of December, at Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth.
Our AGM was "the most fun meeting i've ever been to" said a recent trustee!
Our business meetings are officially something to "look forward to"
..Many years ago i sent round a note saying the principles, ( respect, listening, positive comments and support, politeness, group manners etc and joy and fun ) of the main co are something that should inform our practice throughout Shallal! - and cake!
These recent comments mean we are now embedding it though out the 'behind the scenes' parts of Shallal - thank you all!
When people give of their time, honesty, authenticity and effort freely, and generously, manners, respect and appreciation need to be there. ~However these are high ideals and we also need to know how to apologise and say sorry and move on, as none of us are perfect.
I am often reminded when creating work with people that you need to be able to disagree in art without falling out or taking offence! as then you can keep working and discussing it, i am often wrong and ideas i start of being reluctant to accept are often some of the best work in the end! which is the joy of collaboration.

circle time!
Pep, Peter and me
just checking safety!
Ben carrying Colin!
and on they go!
we need to laugh to be able to trust
Lydia, mischievous and fun humour

So on with the list....
Business meeting today
Book meeting following
Wonderful photos from Steve Tanner...see above...
Applications to write and form for next year
Films from Residency to upload ie
Shallal Sketchbooks never stops.... keep up with it on Instagram
Congratulations to Victoria, supported by Lou and Falmouth Art Gallery, for such a successful project
Marketing and publicity for Doorways with Ladders and Footprints
and time off to be fallow and dream! and celebrate in....

Mike Sagar Fenton's review says.... "no other company speaks on this level and no other nights in the theatre do what a Shallal show does." 
"It’s one of Cornwall’s great hidden treasures,"
We have funders coming to see our last Doorways Show, please tell everyone you can think of to come so we can have a packed audience for this event!

Last not least our Christmas Party! fun as always although a sad good bye to Lydia, who has been with us for many years now, we wish her well for the future!

Peter's suggestion of a Christmas quiz was well received with compere Ms Lumber hosting it all and The Wonderful Wheelers swelling the sound and leading our hearty Christmas Carols and songs!

                                Happy Christmas and we hope to see you in the New Year

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Doorways with Ladders and Footprints Review

It’s a cliché to say it’s hard to find words to describe a performance by Shallal, but the appeal of the company seems to by-pass words altogether, to eschew the intellect and speak directly to the audience’s …. soul is really the only word. A glance at other members of the audience finds them gazing with rapt attention and also a faint smile, because no other company speaks on this level and no other nights in the theatre do what a Shallal show does.
Shallal is a company of all ages and abilities, working mainly in movement, dance and mime to music, occasionally breaking into words or poetry, sometimes into full-blooded song. The different sketches evolve from one another with use of costume and a few props but mainly by the interaction of the people on stage. They move with fluidity through each item and on to the next, changing moods from broad farce – how many adventures can be had with a standard step-ladder – to sadness and melancholy, to fiery dances, working sometimes in large groups and sometimes in couples, never hurried and sometimes almost dream-like.
Their recent show at the Acorn had two themes; one was related to mining and to Godolphin House in particular, and the other was a welcome tribute to the philanthropic work of John Passmore Edwards, whose contribution to public cultural life in the C19 was expressed in libraries and galleries all over Cornwall and elsewhere. Although words are not Shallal’s prime medium, Sir John’s love of reading was revealed in many ways, from contemporary written accounts to the use of countless huge tomes as props for many inventive purposes.
The value of Shallal is of course not restricted to the pleasure of their performances but in the confidence it has so clearly given to those involved,  who probably never imagined themselves on a stage. It’s one of Cornwall’s great hidden treasures, and I’m smiling again as I write this at the memory of the gentle magic they so effortlessly produce.   

Mike Sagar-Fenton 

We are so grateful to Mike for writing a review for us. Our recent work has had audience comments but not an 'official' review and I felt we needed it.
My husband remembered that Mike had reviewed us before and suggested we invite him to the show.
Looking at Mike's website and biography reminded me how special the element of place and people can be in Penwith and the intelligent, caring and profound sense of community it has.
All these qualities of care and community are everywhere, if we look, and Shallal is embedding itself into other communities:
in Falmouth where Friends and Dancing is, "Great Sharing on Wednesday. Well done everyone!" and Shallal 2 which has recently had 3 new members, David, Emily and Esme, a choreography undergraduate, "Thank you Amy, for all you did for and with us" and a visitor from Russia, "Welcome" to Katia! and Paul and Hannah returning, "Welcome back".
Out There the new  group in Liskeard is slowly embedding itself in the community under the guidance of Lois Taylor, who i am really enjoying working with.
Shallal is providing a range of engagement and provision, as well as Zoe Osmond and Jonathan Knowles at present as trainee associate artists, with Joseph and Anna also 'in the wings'.
AGM and Christmas Party tomorrow. 
I can share Mike's review with the company.
Peter Kirby,( who we might need to film miming the soprano in the Phantom of the Opera, utterly hilarious! and a highlight of Friends and Dancing's Sharing along with dear Trevor back performing and involved after operations and he plans to come to the party tomorrow!) has requested party games and a quiz so more hilarity! Shallal Quiz remains to be seen! with hostess Ms Jo Lumber!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A day and an evening! The Acorn Show, then Alex Heffes music....and more including birthdays & Christmas tree festival today!

One of the lovely things that can happen after Shallal shows is the rapport between audience and performers and the succeeding conversations, at the Acorn especially, our home territory, this can be a special treat!
Well done and thank you to everyone involved from backstage to fore.
Lots of good feedback and an unexpected donation for £500!

Kerry's shoulder wasn't healed enough to allow her to hang off ladders so Ben and Colin stood in for her,  lending comedy and chaos to this piece!

The stage is so small for the company that we didn't ask Skye and family to perform You Make Me live, however they may at AMATA. As you can see George moved upstairs to perform his music!

Last scene of Ladders and Footprints.
What is becoming of our local libraries? can they weather the change and become, cultural centres and can we fight to revision and maintain those wonderful spaces where anyone can go for shelter in a town. Truly inclusive, truly about community. The Big Issue ran some interesting articles on the changing faces of libraries some months ago.
Shallal Sketchbooks had a partnership, which sadly wasn't funded, within libraries, however  this time round in partnership with Falmouth Art Gallery it has been in Libraries in St Ives, Truro, Launceston and Falmouth, find out more on FB

Phase 3 of Cornish Doorways Project sees extracts from Ladders and Footprints visiting some Cornish Libraries and Shallal Sketchbooks and a small Doorways exhibition will go with them, along with our book, currently being complied by Victoria and George!

Finally the show!
We will film and photograph the performance at AMATA, this time round the Acorn and Terry ( Star's husband ) filmed it, so we hope to have some material.
A good audience and everyone enjoyed the rapport with an audience that builds in an indoor show. We have been working outside for a long time now.
I am struggling now with how to articulate what i want to do next where we want to go and how we want to develop the the work.
We have a good team. Our love of improvisation and really pushing it forwards seems to be core to  the next work.
Also there is potential to share our love of Passmore Edwards and his work in small ways so i'm off to research applications and write stuff!!!
Oh and then there is the Shallal Studios i still haven't shared on line so much of what the residency gave ....

A sideways conversation
is that my brother Mark and his wife Vicky eventually found an amazing composer, Alex Heffes, for their film.
I looked him up, as was excited to know who it was, and we have been working with music from his improvisation album 'Face to Face' in Shallal 2 and Out There for 2 terms now! Every time I play it people comment on it, it suits improvisational dance so well.

Mark on FB......
Recording the score #alexheffes #theelephantmovie
For the past five months, Alex Heffes (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void, Roots, The Queen of Katwe’ ) has been composing the score. Yesterday, as we recorded in London, we heard it played by a live orchestra for the first time. 
It was everything we hoped for - at times inspiring, poignant, fun, and emotional. Thank you to everyone who brought it to life: Alex, the amazing musicians, technicians, and all the folk at AIR.

So from a film about the lives of elephants in Tsavo National Park, Kenya to community dance groups in Cornwall, (with 'Waltz under the stars' performed by Lois and Janice from Out There, to an audience of 20 at Vital Spark sharing at Liskerett Centre Liskeard, one winter evening,) we have been enjoying his music.
And Mark shared a photo on Facebook of the orchestra recording the music for the film last month and yesterday described the days in the studio.  All I can compare it to is Shallal working with Penzance Youth String Orchestra some years ago with Tim Boulton and that was exciting enough!
We did a performance together at St John Hall Penzance 'Shallal with Strings'.

Anyway now I am really wandering off the point and initially came down to the early morning computer to write up my notes for our new applications, so back to work?!
Funding Strategy meeting on Tuesday!

More musings....
Last night was Minnie from Friends and Dancing's 30th Birthday. Happy Birthday Minnie, we first met about 11 years ago, before Minnie went away to college, she came to the then Open House group in Falmouth which i ran with Terri Stevens. After college Minnie returned to her own flat in Falmouth and is a regular participant in Friends and Dancing. Minnie also initiated the very successful social evenings/outings in Falmouth called Funky Friday.

Friends and Dancing Christmas Sharing is Wednesday 13 December 11.30am at the Dracaena Centre, Falmouth. These are usually excellent entertainment, highly recommended and free!

The group can lead onto Shallal 2, Miles has been in Shallal 2 for years now and David and Emily have just joined with Esme joining this Wednesday, ( Hannah hopes to come to when she can) more Birthday greetings to David and Esme for last week and
"Oh no more connections!"

last one.....
Yesterday we hung the decorations on Shallal 2's Christmas tree. Everyone loves Miles story board drawings of the Christmas Carol which is the theme for the trees this year,  and i used some beautiful cut outs from sweet boxes i had saved from David and Esme's wedding, to make small decorations!
Come and see it Grand Opening Today! or it's on for a while, 21,000 people visited the Christmas Tree Festival last winter!
Another birthday! Frazer's yesterday, we started the tree decorating in the light .....

.......and finished in the dark. An origami turkey?! will adorn the top this morning and it will light up tonight!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Busy week!

A busy 7 days:
Acorn dress rehearsal, squeezing us into back stage and a much smaller performance space than the front of Godolphin House for Doorways, or the plaza outside the Falmouth Library for Ladders and Footprints, however the Acorn has it's own quirky steps, levels and layout! so all sorted now ready for our first indoor show this Friday 7pm at the Acorn Theatre. A big thank you in advance for Ian While and Jacob Wheeler for stepping in to do the lighting for us - when our original technician was double booked! and to Colin and Victoria for all the behind the scenes co-ordination.
A highlight of the show will be the Duchess and the doll,  a short film made by Barbara Santi and Shallal artists, writer and performers, it was filmed on site at Godolphin House in the gardens while the bluebells were out in Spring 2016.

Straight after that Colin rounded up enthusiasts for a presentation and photo shoot at Penzance Co-op on Saturday.
Dear Lou Brett has worked tirelessly behind the scenes raising awareness and fund raising for all our community groups, and this time it paid off so well, raising more that we asked for from the Co-op scheme. Many thanks to her and all the Shallal performers who turned out to make it such a good occasion, and to all our supporters who took the time to vote for us, photos on FB
They were dancing in the aisles!
"I had the most brilliant time yesterday with Kerry, Colin, Zoe Wilton, Johnathon, George, Dillon and Charlie (from Open House).
The staff at Co-op were, really positive, kind and appreciative of Shallal's participation in their day, and of Shallal's amazing pop-ups.
All the dancers coped so well with the unusual space, positively embraced it, and expected shoppers to embrace it too! They went off dancing through queues at the tills and down the aisle.
........ Thank you everyone for a wonderful morning!" Lou Brett

In the background Colin, Victoria and I have just finished writing about 2016-2017 for the Annual report, (the AGM is 15 December St Peters Hall, Newlyn 9.30am - 12.30pm followed by Christmas Party 1-3pm, this year it is themed with quiz and games requested by Peter Kirby for all those with seasonal holiday birthdays, Peter will be 31 this year!)
 and as always what shows up is how Shallal is "the sum of its parts" and last night Maz suggested we enter the Christmas Tree Festival in Falmouth at Gyllyngdune gardens so after Fridays Show,  it's tree decorating on Saturday 3-5pm at Gyllyngdune Gardens tbc, ready for an opening at 5.30pm Sunday !
We hope it will become an annual event that we participate in and we look forward to working with Gyllyngdune Gardens and Jacqui Owen who are always so supportive.

Short snap shots into Shallal's external life:
Rehearsing, large project winding up - Doorways Project finishes in June 2018
New community group receiving funding from it's local community, our Pop Up style performances out and about again
A full theatre show at the Acorn
Shallal members' initiative to be part of the local community, doing something fun and awareness raising together...
all this on top of our normal sessions...

I could expand but for now
Thank You all and a Happy Advent to you all.
See you somewhere soon, there's a lot to come along to!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Grateful thanks for Danu and new music

About ten years ago Shallal said goodbye to an old friend and supporter Eileen Inge Herzberg.
Eileen was an unofficial aunt to my family and there for us all when our fifth child was born caring for all the others at home while i was in hospital. She travelled to India and from there we heard she died from pneumonia at Goa, her heart wasn't well ....
Eileen was a large personality radiating joy to those she knew...
We dedicated a show to her, which remains Colin's favourite, Mind the Gap, it included wonderful sculptures, film etc.

Eileen was close friends with Danu who came in to help with music, ended up also doing our admin and then became our first Arts Council funded development officer, she enabled Shallal to become a charity and have a public face and put in all the first round of background effort needed to create it as it is now!
She had to drag us ( i worked then with Phil Jacobs who was our theatre facilitator into the new ways of doing things, not an enviable task! force me to articulate what i had done instinctively for over 15 years, and she came up with the line "Shallal celebrates ability, diversity and community."
She bought Shallal's first film camera which opened doors to many beautiful pieces with images, in our shows at the Acorn.

So all this is to celebrate her life and gifts and say thank you, as Danu died early last Monday morning.

I was especially moved last Tuesday morning (in the early hours of 'better turn on the computer and catch up' - as the next 4 days are going to start and won't stop) as interrupting my 'to do' list there came a reason why we do this, a beautiful piece of music (earlier this term Shallal commissioned a piece of music) from Darcy Hodgkinson.
He was inspired by the image of "Dancing in the evening skies."
And it feels right to dedicate it to Danu and we will do work in memory of her. ( Eddie emailed to remind me).
I then went to the Liskeard group who were working on the Dark Skies theme for Vital Spark last  Saturday. So i was able to share it immediately.

What feels important is our legacy, what we leave behind and how we are remembered, we are very grateful to Danu for all the hard work she invested in Shallal and remember some wonderful music and singing.
Recently life did one of its circles as Danu's daughter Molly joined Shallal Dance Theatre.

 We can express the deepest parts of ourselves and our deepest prayers through song. 
Danu Fox

We send our love to Molly, Graham and Ian and all Danu's family and friends.
Molly on the right in Ladders and Footprints at Holifield this summer
this was in the Cornishman!
Jo - dance, Danu - music, and Phil - theatre

Phil, Graham and Danu

Danu and Molly 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Creation Space R&D outdoors and indoors

My favourite

Can't wait to put these photographs from yesterday on Facebook, so putting them here so i can warble on a bit.....

Thank you to George for them and to Colin for organising it...

We have 19 pieces of film and a few more to come from our Creation Space R&D at Back Lane West for now they will go on Vimeo but it might be one a week for now!

The above photos are exciting as they are the outdoor research, which Colin and co were able to do.

I have just uploaded a link to one from the studio on our Facebook page, it was hard to choose which but in the end i know Zoe is confident and such a performer!
Art done by the group the day before!
It was a fortuitous last minute offer from Jacqui to come and sing/improvise with Eddie, so that also felt good.

And now that Book, which i have been putting off as i have to dig through archives and macbook clutter to find the information needed, we have so much, i don't want to let down the artists, but also now there is more time i look forward to doing it and handing it over the material to others with more skill....

Sunday, 22 October 2017

2 days bits and bobs and BLW

A collection of images that don't quite go on FB!

Firstly Sidney!in the last dance for Shallal2 in CLAY!

Thank you to Gemma for the flowers, and organising it all! a film was made, so we hope to be able to share that sometime soon!
Well done to everyone involved there are plans to do more and even to try to run a group in St Austell which i would love's hoping!
One comment from film maker was "Amazing".
Performers at CLAY Wheal Martyn Clay Museum on Saturday!

Afterwards we went back to see the Sketchbooks, it was quiet as at the end of the Private view so we really enjoyed looking at them.

Then looking back to Friday!
Lunchtime with Lydia!
is usually an occasion to dress up, 2 or 3 outfits a day and she and Victoria are collecting photos for a sketchbook and then maybe Instagram who knows!

then the hats went to be filmed accompanied by Eddie, Peter and Jonathan!

at the end of the day i turned round to see 'Geraldine' the dummy!
resplendent in Zoe's latest creation
last of all first time at Back Lane West for Alice and Rebecca
Alices dancing was wonderful with Out There on Saturday we hope some of it was filmed.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

CLAY at Wheal Martyn returning with friends.....

A busy month with return invitation to Wheal Martyn, many thanks to Gemma, and a chance to share work with 3 groups of children, Doubletrees School, Mevagissey Primary School Dance Club and St Austell area Home ed group!
Also to work with new associate artists Kerry Tomlins, and Anna Willis.
(Sadly we didn't get to work with Janice and Zoe with an extra group,  but another time!)

So do come!
Shallal 2 are revisiting some of our previous inspiration along with some new pieces,
there is new work created specially from the other group workshops  as well as 'Out There' with some of the Liskeard group in an new piece.
The machinery, that wonderful waterwheel and the 'floating' ponds of sinking clay feature strongly in our inspirations, along with the sheer hard physical work of moving clay!

We are thrilled to introduce Sidney!
Who some of you may remember dancing at Falmouth Art Gallery with Rosie and in a sling as a baby at AMATA from Always New residency!
Here he is with his sister Maybelle, dancing to music played by Erin!

new piece - we love the album Face to face by Alex Heffes and collaborators

Wheal Martyn project and Clair Milne community group funding has allowed us to bring on new trainee associate artists, we are really grateful and 2 of them have been in Shallal since children so they really 'get it' and can stretch it further and both their individual art practices are exciting, and Sidney is a lovely sign of continuing generations.

I do believe in art provision, not just as a project to tantalise people, open doors and then leave them but a continuing provision, which is a struggle for everyone who cares in the arts!
Projects have their place but then where!

We hope James aged 6 from the Home ed group will come to the Liskeard group .....
Last photo of Maz on the left, dancing to Erin's playing ( Erin is her 10 yr old daughter)  and their family have been into Back Lane West ( see previous blog they enjoyed it so much they are going in again at half term!

Also i believe in the importance of having somewhere you can work in creative equality with your children! There are currently 5 families working regularly in Shallal sessions.

George, Demelza, Anna and i went to Kestle Barton this week, lured by the improvised music of Spontonality.
I have been thinking of old Shallal friend Rory more recently, as he was the one who was going to make the book originally conceived from Doorways and i am collating it now - so i miss him!
So the joy of meeting Riya at Kestle Barton and finding out Rory is her close friend !
despite the long cornish narrow lanes to get there,  the warm welcome and spaces are inviting so we hope to do something there next year!
gallery and gardens

Riya and Demelza - Happy Birthday to Demelza for next week!