Monday 5th December 2011
Having met at National Theatre Wales office in Cardiff, we hit the road for what would prove to be a week of learning, bonding, sharing and creativity. Arriving at Amelia Trust Farm with lots of energy, enthusiasm, we quickly got settled in before a session of games, activities and general getting to know each other. Games were played, stories were told and secrets shared, a lovely start to what promised to be a great week.
The afternoon brought with it Catherine Paskell the first of our 6 facilitators/ trainers. She delivered a workshop, which shared her journey, learning and thoughts as a Creative Associate delivering the ‘Assembly’ performances in the first year National Theatre Wales programme. The session was insightful and very useful for the team as it painted a picture as to what to expect, but also the impact & legacy that the events can & have created.
After a marathon shopping spree at Morrisons and some fanatic cooking, we gathered for dinner and the second of our trainers, Fabio Santos from Project Phakama joined us. During & after dinner there were conversations, thoughts and insight shared about things ranging from food & culture to theatre.
Quote for the day
“There’s a rabbit in the moon”
Pic of the day:
Tuesday 6th Dec 2011
The following day started with the cockerel crowing and the farm stirring into action. Our day started with a lovely stretch and massage warm up delivered by Sarah Mumford and Owain Roach. Then it was over to Fabio to lead us through a packed but very useful morning of information and activities.
He gave us a presentation on Project Phakama, their history and philosophy. Then led us thorough a variety of activities ranging from focus games, singing, rhythm games & the give & gain wheel. Following a packed but very well pitched and delivered morning Fabio left us with much food for thought and many new things to consider.
After a nice prolonged lunch we had our third trainer Mathilde Lopez join us. Her session intended on giving the team a chance to understand her journey through the last 2 years as Creative Associate at National Theatre Wales creating and delivering 6 of the 12 Assembly events. She shared visuals, stories and thoughts from her experience of the events and also the research up to the point of delivery. Her practical exercise enabled the team to utilize technology and the spaces available within our abode to create interesting performance events. The idea being to give us an idea of what an Assembly project might require & how easily accessible technology such as mobiles, flip cams & live feed can be used to create interactive performances.
The day ended with a lovely dinner cooked by Owain & Sarah, with the rest of the team playing & sharing trust exercises. Dinner was followed by a lovely visual mediation session to send us to sleep in order to rest & ready ourselves for day 3.
“Are you embarrassed” – Young person at the farm on an alternative curriculum programme.
Pic of the day:
Wednesday 7th December 2011
John Fox & Sue Gill from Dead Good Guides were found wondering around the farm looking for us as we started our day with a warm up led by Angharad Evans. Once John & Sue were set up, the group entered to enjoy the rest of the day listening, understanding and exploring the notion of spectacle, celebration, community & how scaling up work within communities need not be the arduous of tasks.
The session once again went from presentations & slide shows to exploring the farm & creating hypothetical celebratory events, presented back to the group. Also this session enabled the group to work within a new space and really understand the geography of the farm. By the end of the day an agreed consensus of different components of community arts was reached. Sue and John then took their leave whilst the team rested and a ‘Dragon pie’ was cooked by Angharad Evans & Keith Murrell and happily consumed by all for dinner.
However the eager team wanted further stimulus and activities, so games around improvising and storytelling were played. With Abdul Shayek & Laura Jeffs taking the group through a variety of different story telling exercises culminating in a improvisation game called ‘Space Jump’. The final activity of the day was a walk on to stage in neutral with the participant conveying no story, emotion or mood- this then led into a final discussion around whether one can do such a thing in front of an audience.
Quote of the day: 'Tradition has to be created at some point'
Pic of the day:
Thursday 8th December 2011
Gill Dowsett from Theatr Fforwm Cymru joined us today to give us some understanding around forum theatre/ theatre of the Oppressed techniques & history. The day mainly centered on how and what questions should be asked, techniques to instigate conversations amongst audience in relation to the performance.
The day although long provided a real sense of introspective thinking and taking that thinking into delivery & facilitation. The day made the group investigate many things & analyse their practice and how to make participants willing contributors and themselves better story collectors.
Claire Hathway and Laura Jeffs cooked up a delicious stir-fry for all to consume, before we went on to figure out a set of shared values we felt would encompass our process and method whilst we delivered the projects. So alongside the existing National Theatre Wales ethos of being Engaged, Innovative & International, we had the following values we wanted to implement through ‘Assembly’ events:
Quote of the day: 'Strong centres open minds'
Pic of the day:
Friday 9th December 2011
The final day was for each team member to share personal creative practices. With each team member leading a workshop in their preferred art form whether that be drama, circus, dance or music. The sessions provided a catalyst for the team to think about their learning over the week & also how they may utilise & adapt those skills in community settings whilst delivering ‘Assembly’ events.
After a packed morning of walking around with eyes closed looking for a ball in the sports hall, running around the space creating movement pieces & then delving into personal memories in order to create short performance scenes.
We had lunch, which comprised of leftovers from the week & a visit to the farm café. The afternoon had us creating highly synchronized dance sequences, using image to create performance to an amazing audio shower. The week on the farm came to beautiful conclusion with a group song.
We left the farm to head back to Cardiff and the National Theatre Wales office in order have a meet & greet and tell the team back in the office about the amazing week we had had. Then it was on to a night of reveling & celebration after an intense but rewarding week.
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