I have just finished my latest artistic venture with Indomitable Productions - and it was our very first Arts Council England funded project. Inevitably, this means I have a considerable amount to muse upon and be grateful for!
Although it had not occurred to me at first, I realised that the project I proposed in the original ACE application was aligned with my initial PhD proposal (which, a few months previously, I had somewhat happily placed on the back-burner). For this project, I had committed to create an open environment where musicians would be able play and develop contemporary performance techniques including acting, physicality, text work and puppetry.
Whether these questions arose subconsciously or serendipitously they were present and six months later I feel I am a little closer now to beginning to answer something that I think we'll still be curious about in ten years time. I discovered that there is a desire present from both the performers and the directors working in opera for more extensive training in performance and acting. I also discovered that with this mind-set and the right environment, one is able to offer introductions to various skills and methods; puppetry, view points, Stanislavsky's system and basic physical awareness over a ten day period - although longer would of course be better. It is acknowledged that there is perhaps a danger in simplifying these skill-sets by gently brushing over them in half-day sessions, but the benefit from these 'taster workshops' seemed to have tremendous value and certainly offered a spring board from which the artists can leap in their own practice.
The ten day R&D achieved a workshop style with these training opportunities as well as visiting practitioners who facilitated sessions with clear and focused intentions. The dream now, as with each ACE funded project I'm sure, is to find the time and space to have a rehearsal period to actually make a piece with these performers and their developing skills. But in the meantime, I am pleased to announce that we will be taking An Album of Memories (our outreach program connected to the opera) forward as we have been programmed in a festival for in Autumn 2016. This project was so very very rewarding, especially so as we partnered with Age UK Camden, Camden Carers and Elder's Voice. This next commitment allows us to work towards tweaking and improving our bespoke and personalised concerts and enables us to ultimately reach more people. Click here to read more about it.
We are just processing and evaluating this project - and as you can tell there's lots to be pleased with! Yet, once again my greatest challenge has been balancing more than one role within my work - this time as director/facilitator, producer and puppet maker. This will, no doubt, feature as it's own blog in the near future...
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