What an action-packed, squeezed-tight programme, the staff at CPR have created in presenting their inspirational Directors Forum, which is just about to finish its 10-day run.

Having a full-time job means that it would be impossible to take part in the proceedings, but cleverly, they split the overall programme into 3x 3-day blocks, so you might do all 3, or just one or two. I attended the middle block and this is my creative impressionistic response (I was far too inspired by the forum to try to anlayse, abstract and deconstruct!)

Exploratories [a one off 2-hour workshop to explore an aspect of each directors' work/process]

I worked with:

Marnie Orr

Explored aspects of Bodyweather Laboratory practice- zero point- moving without 'comment'- points of departure and arrival- directions- trajectories- resting- recognising and responding toimpulse. We worked in the studio and outdoors.

http://marnieorr.blogspot.com/

Natalie Hennedige from Cake Theatre in Singapore

Natalie has won loads of awards for her theatre work in Singapore: she has a wonderful,activating and empowering energy. Explored ways of 'scratching the surface' with an ensemble.....layering action with text and sound as an architecture in theatre.....very strong texts written by Natalie....in search for a common language in all senses, not limitied to the verbal.

http://www.caketheatre.com/

Mike Pearson

What a wonderful workshop-Mike is a fantastic workshop leader....lots of background to the exploration before launching into physical explorations. Working on his ways in to exploring his 4-man chorus for The Persians...we were introduced to his very precise system of working developed over his career and currently being documneted by Loiuse Ritchie on her PhD: In all Languages....exploring action, text, scenography, soundtrack and technology, sliced by time and titles, layered with gesture, articulations and mediations. Can't wait to see the chorus in the NTW production in the Beacons!

http://nationaltheatrewales.org/whatson/performance/ntw06

There were loads of other exploratories- see CPR blog for info.

Laboratories [3 afternoons spent with one director in a laboratory where lots of elements are brought in/out, mixed, tested and experimented with]

I worked with:

Veenapani Chawla, Artistic Director, Adishakti Theatre Laboratory, Pondicherry, India

http://www.adishaktitheatrearts.com/

We worked on The Ramayana, an epic Indian text, which preceded The Mahabharata.

Concerns lay with: How do we present contemporary performance based on such a huge epic myth?

Veenapani's advice: choose moments......moments that inspire us, that catapult us out of the text, into the cosmos, where we begin to imagine this moment on a stage, drawing parallels with other stories and texts, myth-based, modern, narrative-based, plays.......Choose these moments and 'flesh them out' with these other layers, drawing on all signifiers that are needed.....music when words are not enough, movement when puppetry runs dry....until we begin to find and present the human context in the mix, to allow the greatest degree of accessibility for an audience.

Another major question for discussion/exploration: what relationship do these new pieces that we create, based on well-known myths, have with the original texts? The group agreed strongly, that we needed to create new,contemporary* texts that could stand alone. Mentioning the original text acts as an 'opener' for audiences, an anchor, a gateway. The aim is always to find the human experience in the story, and this is what remains constant.

I was fortunate enough to see Veenapani's company perform 'Ganapati' when I visited India 5 years ago- Adishakti's work is incredibly intensive: in both training and performance...working with rhythm as an inner text, launching from Indian performance systems, but creating a contemporary* theatre that is incredibly engaging, spirited, and precise.

[* Veenapani gave her explanation of contemporary theatre as those performances in which we can look at any moment through all lenses/which in theatre are the signifiers available to us: text/action/sound/music/ technology/scenography.]

Other laboratories were given by:

Adrian Jackson,Cardboard Citizens,UK

Das Beckwerk, Denmark

Ruth Kanner, Ruth Kanner Group,Israel

Thanks to all the staff at CPR for organising such an inspirational forum opportunity right on our doorstep!

For more reports please visit their website http://thedirectorsforum.blogspot.com/ and http://www.thecpr.org.uk/projects/conferences.php

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