After just over a year away from working on the Avon Calling project (due to me being in Bristol producing Theatre Sandbox for 12 months – more about that here) Louise Platt and myself are easing ourselves back into it. Here’s a brief summary about where our thinking is right now.
We did quite a lot of research and development work on the Avon Calling project in the Autumn of 2009 in the lead up to a performance opportunity at Warwick Arts Centre as part of It Came From Pilot. As a result of that work we made two pretty major decisions:
1. We would site the performance in audience members’ own houses (not on a stage – what were we doing there anyway?!- very unnatural!);
2. The show would be an Avon Party-come-theatre performance;
3. We would create a fictional character and story rather than tell a mostly factual first person narrative of the performer’s personal experiences.
So, we’ve got a solid starting point and some useful limitations to contain our thinking.
In some ways it feels like a completely clean sheet, but we know in our heart of hearts that all the work we did back in 2009 is going to seep in and inform our new work in an unconscious and hopefully more useful way.
We’re lucky enough to be working with Alex Kelly from Sheffield’s Third Angel as a mentor on this project, which is a new thing for us. We’ve got our first session together this week (excluding the skype meeting), and Lou and myself are both excited about gaining a bit of external perspective on our thoughts so far.
In terms of development process, so far we’ve played around with making ‘static narratives’ as we call them, as a way to open up ideas in a visual way – for this project this meant a kind of ‘Avon Cluedo’. An object, in a room, with a character/person type/feeling: eg: A lipstick, in the bedroom, with a feeling of fear. Random selection of these elements yields the best results – as soon as we tried influencing the selection our creations became less interesting. The idea is to create a static scene without people, but that feels as if someone has just left it. It should be crackling with the energy of that.
Here’s a pic of Lou enacting a progression of this exercise – where we placed ourselves in the image too in a characterised fashion. I can’t remember exactly what titles she had, except I guess ‘bubble bath’ and ‘bathroom’.
There’s still an enormous amount that we don’t know, especially about our main character, the audience’s journey through the piece, and a million other things. But we’re excited to be working on it again.
We’re also holding our breath waiting to find out if our application to Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme has been successful – fingers and toes crossed. I’ll let you know as soon as we do.
Update! We are pleased to announce that we have received funding from Arts Council England for Avon Calling. So its full steam ahead.