Firstly I'd like to thank you all for an invaluable time at Amelia Trust farm,you were a great bunch to work with; a passionate, generous and creative bunch of was such an adventure with lots more to

I'l start with a big apology to my room mates for my hurrendous snoring habits, but luckily for me you tollerated the sounds and didn't banish me to the next room for a week (thank you ha)

Before Catherine arrived for our first day of trainning, we shared games, dialogue and giggles to warm up..... and I just knew the week was going to be my cup of tea. It was lovely Catherine being there to give us an insight into last years assembly and to share with us her experiences as creative associate. When sharing stories with us, what really resonated in my mind, was the power of questions and how,through questions, we make connections with a community. How we phrase questions will impact on a communitys willingness to engage since it has to be a question that resonates with them. It has to be a question they want to explore. What is the bigger question being made up from all the smaller questions? It needs to be a meaty universal question that everyone feels like they can chew on ! Just like gardner's planting seeds- we need to be planting the right seeds, good quality, organic ones so that fruitful dialogue and conversation can blossom, and keep growing after we leave. It has to be a question they want to
explore, a question that they feel passionate about which is where enhancing the ownership through the process will happen.

Banana, bananam mango; the rythum game that Fabio showed us wasn't only great fun, it allowed us to really play with the idea and develop it. Even though we were all given the basic structure, we were given the freedom to develop something unique and different from something that started quite simple. When listening to Fabio talk about Project Phakama , what was really clear was how good a support structure they have in place and that they seemed to have a really good working ethos with in the company - shared creative responsibility. The three people triangle of support idea was a great way of demonstrating team work and that there will always be someone behind you to catch you if you fall. The give and gain pie chart is a useful practical tool when creating a community based event because it means
that everyone is able to voice their involvment whether specifically performance based skills or the more technical side of things. Its an apporach that means everyone can contribute and feel apart of the bigger picture.

By using an array of vibrant, intriguing, slide show images, Mathilde told us about her journey as the creative associoate for NTW. She talked with us about how a space, geographically, can condition you, impact on you and how you then engage with a space, depending on how things are placed with in the space. One image that really stuck in my mind and I found thought provoking was of people dressed in tent like shaped costumes, an idea inspired by a council estate with a high population of refugees. By being asked these questions, I then began to ask my self more questions - How does space define us? What and who determines how we interact with a place? Her practical exericise, where we had to utlize the technology at hand and the space we were in, to create a performance event was a challenge. I remember saying to Abdul "I can't work technology". But thankfully, panicking slightly and rising to the challenge, we were able to create a short interactive performance entitled "a christmas spent at Amelia Farm" with the audience presented with a drunken santa, an empty pack of mince pies, pre-recorded voice clips of santas helper panicking outside for the audience to hear and an all together choatic attempt to save christmas. Whilst the other group did a rather scary, christmas rave in the kitchen for us to have a bizzare boogey". What was clear when creating this, was how important it was to really PLAY with the technology to find performance, rather than rehearsing technology into it later.

Gill Dowsett, wow what a story teller ! I couldn't help but feel like a child as she regaled the story of how Augusto Boal came to create Theatre of the Oppressed. I can still hear the sounds of her sound bowl (Can anyone tell me what this is please !!) as she started the session. This was so that she could be in the moment with us. This really worked for me and other thoughts seemed to drift from my mind. She asked us to lower our hands when we stopped hearing the sound, with meant that I  was quite tuned into listening from this point on. A common thread that seemed to run throughout the session was how you were able to tell you story, your memory, your experience through drama but with out it actually being about you. So for instance, at one point we worked in pairs, remembering a bad relationship and then showed this in a freeze frame. So without feeling the need to tell the other person about the experience, you just had to mould them to be the other person in the relationship and you then brought yourself in to the frozen image. We looked at one anothers image and didn't tell the group (audience) whose story it was, instead through questioning, the group talked about the image. Gill kept on reinforcing that there was no right answer and that people see different things, and that it was always important to keep an idea open and never close a suggesstion. Some of the questions being asked when facilitating were "What might be happening in the image" or "what do you see when you look at Owain etc",so keeping the questions as open as possible.


When we sat down to look at images/ videos of Sue and John's Journey with Dead Good Guides I was blown away with the passion, commitment and massive scale performance events they have been involved in creating over the years. Their ideas were bold, big and looked truly beautiful to watch, from giant scale puppets, to huge fire displays, to under water exhibitions, skies filled with impressive lanterns and so much more. When they asked us to create a hypothetical event for a Theatre director who was being asked to retire, our imaginations seemed to run wild with endless creative freedom !


We ended on a high with us all sharing our own creative appraoches to working... with us all bringing something very different to the table...


Owain, I'm still feeling slighty vexed that I wasn't able to walk a few simple steps wearing a blindfold to pick up a ball. I loved that Owain asked onlookers to join in our song/movement the spirit of everyone can be apart of it.


We could have created a small scale performance using Sarah's Lie down, stand up, sit down movement sequence.... using dynamics to play with the simple framework, we created a lovely movement sequence where the smallest gesture caught your eye and looked impressive against the backdrop of people sprinting across a room.


Anharad's picture devising stimulus... I loved how we were all shown a very different picture, but through exploring song, dialogue and movement reached a finishing point with an organic image of our own.


Laura's funky chicken !!!! what did you say ????  A fun, imaginative game that had us all moving like pros, thus creating the assembly dance crew.


Finally closing my eyes and being showered with sounds from a distance, all of different tone and texture was just magical keith..


Once again thank you all for an amazing week, looking forward to catching up with you all very soon :}

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Comment by Phillip Mackenzie on December 23, 2011 at 2:21

What a fab report. Thanks for that Claire, really enjoyable and informative read.

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