March was a month to get through and I managed, I think…
We started in London on our Team Effort trip which made me wonder how to “make the most” of opportunities. Visiting the lovely Matthew at the National Theatre Studio reminded me that it has been about 14 months since I had my residency there, but I’m not totally sure what has moved on for me from that. It’s good to know that the doors are open, but I’m not sure what I’m bringing.
The trip also made me question how much we Team Effort artists can/need to/want to understand each others’ practices and interests. It’s still in the air for me.
Then I was putting together an exhibition in a gallery in East Lothian… This was part of a slightly farcical project I’ve been involved in for over a year that has been dragging on. The exhibition itself is aimed at children and families as a way of engaging with ideas of museums and curating and is inspired by work I’ve done with a primary school class over the past months. Working with the children has been great, but made complicated and tiring by being in a school that’s really hard to reach by public transport as well as very loose and unclear direction from the gallery.
The goalposts of the project have changed greatly since I agreed to be part of it. So by the time I was actually doing the exhibition, which was originally scheduled for August 2013, the creative commission brief had changed from being an ipad theatre piece with £4000 budget to cover new technology, to having no budget whatsoever and no aims whatsoever.
So I made some things and displayed some other things. And it looks OK! I gave myself three days with some great helpers to put it together in situ, which is obviously a very short time, but it was hard to give more time to it. I’m pleasantly surprised with the result but it’s been pretty unsatisfying all in all. And I can’t totally work out how I could have managed it better apart from pulling out and refusing to complete the project.
Then I was working on a new project for Eco Drama. I devised and directed a performance/workshop for primary school children about worms and food waste. It was probably a bit crazy to say yes to this project as it had to be finished before the end of the business year to use up some funding, but it was a clear and contained project and paid well so now it will enable other work to happen. I was definitely pleased with the result, as was the client and the schools, and it also allowed me to work with a new collaborator on props and costumes
The most important thing that happened in March was that we lost a good friend and great artist in Adrian Howells. His death has been a real shock and very hard to deal with. The time since we found out he had died has been taken up with holding on tight to friends and finding a balance between taking time out to grieve and process, looking after each other, and trying to get on with everyday life.
Here’s to you, Adrian – missing you.