Paines Plough Wrighters’ Weekend (Tongue twister, ‘innit!)

16 Jun

I have spent this weekend at a ‘Wrighters’ Weekend,’ from Theatre Company Paines Plough.  Leading the two-days of workshops was Assistant Director Jack Lowe.

Here is a bit about them from their website:

“Paines Plough is an award-winning, nationally and internationally renowned touring theatre company, specialising exclusively in commissioning and producing new plays and helping playwrights develop their craft. As the UK’s national theatre of new plays with the playwright always at the heart of everything we do, Paines Plough widely tours world premiere productions and offers bespoke development support to playwrights.”

http://www.painesplough.com/about-us/introduction

I decided it would be good to develop my writting skills as a performing artist, to give me confidence for the time where I wish to write my own work. (My experience so far has been a couple of scenes, journals and Performance Poetry.)

Day one; Jack taught us some key concepts to consider when writting a script, Do’s and Don’ts, and also set us some short writting tasks. 

Day two; We wrote for our main writting task: a play based on a local news article. We then worked with some actors who delivered our work back to us. This was great, as writers and actors so often don’t get to meet… it is special to see your work performed, and it emphasised the importance of stage directions.

It was a very fruitfull weekend, and I enjoyed the company of other writers… they were lovely and mostly more experienced than I! I gained a lot from my time, particularly confidence. I also really enjoyed the company of the lady sat next to me, who had had the most interesting, albeit tragic, life. It made me realise the powerfull link between suffering and creativity. That pain will create the catalyst for the most beautiful works of art.

 

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Working on the Last Spring

22 May

This week, I have been working on the production of the LAST SPRING, with the teachers and children of ‘Phil and Jim’ Primary School!

It’s been a varied week, my highlights have been giving one on one acting tuition to a couple of actresses and helping with the direction of scenes. (I was only helping though! Mr. Bliss already did a great job directing!) I have really realised that I really care about performance-quality, and I really enjoy helping people with their performance delivery.

The Costumes for The last Spring are STUNNING! We had two wonderful Ladies – Amanda and Beatrice – in care of costume and set, and I had the pleasure of helping them implement their vision! We got the children to make their own headdresses to signify the animal they are playing. I shall have to attach a photo of some, they are truly brilliant.

I also helped the dancers with their rehearsals, suggesting ideas and trying to motivate them. I really learnt a lot from seeing Mr. Nicholls direct and enthuse them; he was a very gifted director and motivator from what I saw. One thing I remember him saying was…

“I am ….. and I am in the World!” 

To encourage shrinking violet behavior.

I am going to be backstage for the performance, cueing people on stage and keeping order. I am going to rise to this challenge!

ORDER NOW…. SHHHHHH!

Museum De Santiago, Chile

22 May

(Sorry for the late posting folks!)

Today in Chile we visited a Human Rights Museum. I was very impacted by the Chilean political history which went from communism to a military government after the murder (or debated suicide) of the country’s leader in 1973.  Under military rule, detention centres were set up where people were tortured. The justice system that followed was very poor, and documents have been sealed for ten years!

I thought the Museum was brilliant, and really did serve its museum purposes. I.E I learnt about Chilean history in a fun, interactive way! It also was an emotional experience, which I think was the intention at some exhibitions. The tour guide was great too, and the exhibitions were well organised and varied in their methods of presenting information… video, audio, visuals, text, EXPERIENCE.

Chile – International Seminar – day seys

22 May

(Sorry for the late posting of this one folks…. !)

We’ve had lots of presentations over the last two days from Political and Social organistions of Chile… I shall share some nuggets of usefull advice with you:

“Do something for somebody each day. Spread your positive opinions to others even if you are judged.”

“Theatre is a Mirror, I.E, seeing things as they are. The theatre has a lot of power.”

(… I couldn’t agree with that quote more!)

The Last Spring

15 May

For those of you that don’t know, I work as a TA and Playworker at a truely amazing Primary School called Phil and Jims. It is fantastically colourful, a nurturing environment and NO UNIFORMS!

Hurrah for Friday! For on Friday, I was assigned to work on the School play during “CX Week” (Curriculum extra). This has shown me that as one door closes, another opens since the Glee Club Start up, was a non-starter.

The play is called The Last Spring, and I’m looking forward to working on it next week.

Chile de cuatro días – Gender Roles

6 Apr

It’s day four of the “Together” Network Conference: “Think Global, Act Local.”

Today we completed presentations on the organisations we were all from. I have learned good things from listening to these presentations, and learnt more about the social needs in other countries. (Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Poland and Chile.) Out of the presentations today, I was particularly interested in Guatemalan company ‘Connectivo No’j,’ part of which promotes expression through drama and performing arts. This is exactly what I want to do: I want to help people who have difficulties expressing themselves through performing, under the safe guise of acting pretense and a supportive atmosphere.

After an AMAZING lunch of humita, (mushed onion and corn with sugar or salt), we set about our afternoon on the topic of ‘Gender Equality.’ We were set the task of having a group discussion then creating 5 photos to depict what we had discussed.

I learnt that there is a lot of diversity world-wide in the roles of women, to give one example that we used: It is permissible for a woman to go out and work whilst her husband stays at home in the Dominican Republic, but in Chile this is not accepted. In Europe women’s rights are greatly discussed. We felt that the fight which has emerged  for equilibrium is sometimes damaging, and actually discriminatory against women who DO choose to take a traditional role in the home instead of competing with men, in what was (in Europe) a man’s world.

We agreed that it is important to offer choices not impose them, and that we must value the role of women as maternal, since this is being lost in modern societies of today. It would be terrible if we saw this imprinted – in a negative way – in the next generation. We all agreed that childhood is crucial for  individual’s development; motherhood should not be undermined, A.K.A. seen as a cop-out, or as settling for a boring ‘under-the-thumb’ life.

I must admit that I in the past have bought into this; passing through a feminist stage, I believed from the media that true happiness was in career success. This meant that I competed against men rather than accepting them as family members. This is not gender equality. However, more and more I am discovering that happiness comes from the equilibrium of good relationships and family building, particularly since finding a faith and building an understanding of  God. This new way means both genders working together in mutual respect instead of competing, or maintaining un-balanced status-quos.

Chile day two.

4 Apr

I’m in Chile! Attending a conference called “Act Local, Think Global.”

I am so fortunate to get this opportunity, along with Sony and Caro from OYAP! We are spending two weeks at a conference which will teach us about global issues, and how to promote them in our local settings. We will learn about Chilian culture and visit local NGO’s and indiginous peoples.

We are studying at the Centre de Cultura in La Pintana and at first impression it is very impressive! So much art and creativity happens here! I even got to join in a Quaker dance, and did some belly Dancing! 

Today was the Press Conference for the project, where we met the Major of Santiago, enjoyed local music and dancing and listened to presenations. The afternoon was meeting new people, and delightful food! We also were given the course programe and we shared our hopes, fears and contributions to the project.

I am finding Spanish difficult, but I am detirmined to make the most of this and learn the art of communitcating even when it is difficult. That is a very valueable skill to learn. I know I will get out what I put in, so I’m just going to diregard my idea of myself of being bad a languages and do my best!

Update General

12 Feb

 

This is a general update on my life and times!

I am currently going to tap dance once a week and working on my various bits (musical set and monologue) for Wednesday’s Arts Night at Baby Simple bar. Got a smashing new job as a Playworker and Learning Support Assistant at a School! These art grand times! Working too, on a musical project with children learning and communication difficulties with one innovative Sarah.

…And to top it all off today I ate a Mexican Breakfast! Aiiiii Reeeeeebaaaaa!

Ethical Fashion

20 Jan

Last night, I took a friend to Magdelen Studios to listen to a talk by a young Ethical Clothes designer Feng Ho, and a mature, experienced photograher. It was a really encouraging environment, the young designer was pasionate about her work and shared with us the difficulty of sourcing materials which are ethcially sound (I.E. fair trade, not far to ship, enviromentally friendly in processing.) There is a problem that people are not yet willing enough to spend more on clothing, in the knowlege that they are reducing harmfull effects on our world. It is more expensive to get these materials, (she exampled bamboo) and even more so because there is not the demand for them. I believe we are slowly seeing a growing number of those who do care about these issues, but they are still a small community. Perhaps we need more Performance Artists, or those in the Media to investigate this and bring the truth to the public’s awareness. They say that ignorance is bliss, but what expense has that ignorance over anothers life?

If you are interested check out fengho.co.uk.

Jo

Marketing and Self Promotion Day

14 Jan

We had an interesting session today at OYAP on Marketing and Self Promotion. The session was mostly on how to use multi-media to your advantage and was very interesting.

NGM are showing a bit of interest in me doing Luv Ester. I am waiting for them to get back to me with a date I should come down and meet them. I am wondering if it is realisitic with the time frame, and I know I’d like to collaborate with other the young leaders; so perhaps it won’t be this project that I will do.