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!