Friday 24 April 2009

Home is where the art is

This afternoon I spoke to a former Tallis student, Kat Joyce, about two exciting projects. I taught Kat when she was in Year 8 (I think that was 1991) and she was later in my sixth form tutor group. She has since gone on to bigger and better things, working in the performing arts as a writer/director. The first project is called Home. This is how it's described on the website:

Whether home is a mansion, a shack, or a tent, we all strive to protect the place of safety that we’ve created. Is home a place, a language, a network of people, or a four-walled structure? How fragile is the membrane between home and the rest of the world? We wanted to challenge ourselves to create a show which did not rely on a traditional theatre building – which has its suitcase packed and is ready to be performed anywhere. A homeless piece of theatre that can happen in tents, car parks and in woods, in fact anywhere. The concept for the show sprung from a desire to challenge and stretch the ensemble’s ability to react honestly and freshly to each new performance, making each show real and live. Home is a nomadic performance which we are continuing to devise and test in many different spaces – inside and outside, in the woods, in underground tunnels, in nightclubs and at festivals, for audiences of many and audiences of one. We are still finding out what Home might become, but we are excited by the idea that, rather than making a show which has a finished, fixed form, we could create a show which is like a resourceful camper, with the outfit and gadgets to adapt to each new circumstance, which is formed afresh each time from an expanding repertoire of work, responding live to each new temporary home.
The film above is a document of a previous residency carried out by Tangled Feet at a school in St. Albans. I like the way the performance uses different spaces around the school, takes people by surprise and asks some challenging questions about the idea of home. It occurred to me that the project echoed many of our thoughts about the nature of creativity (risk, challenge, imagination, collaboration, exploration etc.) and the ideas we have shared about a site specific event at Tallis. One of the key issues we face, of course, is our own change of home as we move to a new school. This mirrors the creation of new residential homes to replace the existing Ferrier Estate just on our doorstep.

Kat is also working on a project called 1 Mile Away in collaboration with Nathan Curry. It is a new play about a one-mile-radius area of London. From Parliament to Elephant, Vauxhall Farm to Lower Marsh, Kat and Nathan are collaborating with many local people to build a literary picture of the many narratives in this complex area. Kat will be weaving all the ideas into a new play, which will be performed by a professional cast in the summer. I really liked the idea of a community generated story, the strands of which are collected using social networking tools.

Again, I thought it would be great to chat to Kat about the possibility that we could collaborate with her on our event, perhaps incorporating elements of both Home and 1 Mile Away. As a result, I have asked Kat to come in to talk to us next Friday after school. I think this will help to put some meat on the bones of our emerging ideas. Come prepared to explain to her what we've been doing and ask her questions about both of these exciting projects. I look forward to seeing you all then.


Anonymous said...

Amazing, I loved the video (and the sound track) I thought the idea of taking people by supprise was amazing here... the tents at the start was superb!... Looking forward to the meeting on Friday! (DHI?)


Soren Hawes said...

I enjoyed the way the performances seemed to be three parts drama and one part Dom Joly. I really like the idea of impromptu, unannounced and maybe unexplained events that challenge the routines of school life. I know that schools are reliant on routines for lots of perfectly sensible reasons, but I think we can also become rather limited by them.

Mr. Hawes