The wind is howling outside and there seems no better time to update my website.
I am working on a few new projects which is great. I am directing a weekly adult theatre class in Hay on Wye which is great fun, writing a performance walk concerning the Anthropocene which is a new challenge and continuing the Lead Creative Schools projects, one of which is brand new and really exciting. I am also teaching at two Universities and continuing my Creative Agent work. So lots to get my teeth into, plan, create, write and deliver.
After a busy winter I finally have time to update my website and plan for the future.
Over the cold period I was working on 5 different project, 5 days of the week. It was a reminder of the fluctuation and the demands of freelance work. Since Winter has turned to Spring projects have subsided, with evaluation deadlines and planning for the next year taking their place. Spring should be a good time for conceiving new projects, with new life brings new ideas - but it is, as always, difficult to find work that is just isn't there and develop ideas in a changed climate. Still - the search, the generation and the hope continues.
It has been months since I last posted and a lot has happened.
I am currently learning to manage five separate projects, which is both exciting and daunting. I am thrilled to have taken up a part time lecturing post at the University of Gloucestershire in Performing Arts. This came at a very good time also as I started a few days after submitting my PhD, which will remain in the back of my head for a while.
With the new term also comes lots of school projects. I am busy organising agent tasks for the Arts Council Wales Lead Creative Schools scheme. I am responsible for two schools, a secondary and primary in Powys. I will post more details of these as the project commences. This is a really exciting venture for me and new territory.
In Stoke-on-Trent I am working with Partners in Creative Learning and I am teamed up with a school to look at raising literacy standards in boys in year 5. It is great to visit a different part of the country and get varied perspectives on learning.
I was very honoured to be invited back to Gwernyfed school to be their theatre practitioner again this year. I am working alongside a beatboxer to look at raising literacy standards in year 8 and 9. It is really exciting to link these two practices and encourage a more physical approach to working with concepts and texts.
The module I am teaching at Gloucestershire is all about working within the industry, and I used the word "grafting" the other day, and it really is about that.
Very busy and very happy :)
As a theatre practitioner who lives relatively rurally, and who wants to continue living that way, I am finding it increasingly more apparent that it is hard to work and live in the same place as an artist. Don't get me wrong, I love applying to projects all over and working in different places, meeting new people and engaging in various projects across the country. However, I would also like to see more opportunities arise more locally. Access to the arts in rural places is a real issue - we should be able to live in rural places and still have choice, not in numbers but in activity.
I have recently teamed up with the Globe at Hay to start running theatre workshops for children, the aim is to run weekly sessions for two different age groups. I think outlets such as these are incredibly important, parents should be able to find activities for their children to do locally rather than seeking them out in the nearest city. This is an exciting new venture and I really hope we can drum up enough interest in the idea.
You can find information on the workshop here.
It has already been a busy couple of months, the Lead Creative School's project is well underway and the planning is in motion for Wild Worlds at The Wilson.
Kev Moss and I have been working with the entire of year 8 at Gwernyfed on a James Bond project that aims to raise literacy standards. Having transformed a old space of the school into our MI5 headquarters we are busy working with the students as Innovators and Marketers to produce an event for a public audience in March.
The students have been designing the ultimate spy app - which of course is top secret until its reveal in March.
I am very excited to be involved in a project that embeds creativity into everyday learning and I am looking forward to where it takes us over the next few weeks.
Over in Cheltenham planning is underway for family and school workshops to take place. I will be leading children through workshops that help them create stories and themes to be included in an immersive and interactive exhibition.
I am delighted to have been offered a commission to devise a Roald Dahl story into a play in a day with Key Stage 2 children for the annual Lichfield festival in July. It's always exciting and a challenge to do projects such as this, and I can't wait to meet the children to learn about their ideas for the performance!
I am delighted to have been offered a Creative Practitioner position as part of the Creative School's Scheme in Wales.
Creativity that is embedded in learning is crucial for young people's development. Through projects such as these young people learn how to think differently, collaborate and work to their strengths. I am so happy to be part of that process!
It has been far too long now, I have neglected adding to my blog! I am writing this as my spaniel is staring at me in a "is it time to go out yet?" "yet?" "yet?" kind of way. Nearly.
I am back to applying to commissions as I come towards to final stages of the PhD research. Commission browsing can take up a whole day, so it feels rewarding to find even one to apply to. I have been offered one, creating an immersive environment for children, more news to follow... and I am writing and submitting more. It is quite exciting to be back in this world again, it is great to see and hopefully be a part of some of the fantastic opportunities that are out there, both for artists and audiences. The PhD has certainly given me the skills to feel like I can go at it alone, and I take comfort in knowing so many fascinating, hard-working and intelligent artists out there, I admire them all.
But for now a walk across fields and stick throwing must commence.
I am delighted to have been accepted to Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti's 'Atmospheric pressure: Performance vs Weather' 11 September 6pm - Saturday 13 September 10pm at Folkestone Fringe.
This is a brilliant opportunity to work within a new field, revisit some former interests in space and place and work with exciting practitioners.
From Folkestone Fringe website:
A performance on the harbour will mark the end of a weekend research workshop for Live Art practictioners interested in experiementing with new methodologies for engaging with the liveness of place. See what the weeekend has inspired as they attempt to colloborate with one of its most unpredictable element - The Weather! http://www.folkestonefringe.com/2014/programme.html#sthash.RyiWQe1i.dpuf
I spent two weeks at the Mellon School of Theatre and Performance Research at Harvard University. I met inspiring people and had an incredibly fruitful time there. I am still processing the impact and outcome. It was very intense and certainly requires some time to think over what I learned and came away with. One thing I would say is that I acquired a new found respect for what we do within the field of performance and theatre. I will not go into the reasons as to why the subject is important, but being at Harvard and talking about the subject of performance for the entire time allows you to remember why we do it, what it does, how it can be used and its interdisciplinary qualities. One such project that caught my eye was the research being conducted by Kristin Flade which focuses on the artistic practices in Palestinian and Israeli societies, more information on Kristin's work can be found here http://www.applied-theatre.org/projects/good-pain-artistic-practice-conflict-zones.
A summer programme like this really reminds you of the fantastic work that is continuously happening out there!
Last week I conducted an experiment at my departmental conference. I wanted to test out the role of audience in my on-going research for reconstituting material from document and memory.
The audience were given envelopes which contained their role and instruction cards. Coupled with this was recorded audio that directly linked to what the audience were told to do, thus creating a visual to the memory heard.
They became the enactors, embodying the performers and audience of the original. It was an interesting experiment with lots to think to about! I think it has inspired me to make something on a much larger scale with further audio.