Sunday, 31 January 2016

New Year News

Well, that's the first month of 2016 over and done with. Is it me, or are the months going by even quicker than before?

Lots of exciting things happening, anyway. I'm on my second residency with Hereford Courtyard's Making of Me project. I really do enjoy working with older people and it's heartening to know that there are some organisations that really do take the words 'care' and 'home' seriously. The OSJCT homes I've been working with to date have been wonderful.

I'm running workshops at Westgate House at the moment. Their last resident artist was Angela Conlan who was exploring dance with them for ten weeks. I have been in post for just five weeks and already we have amassed 33 poems written by the group and individually. The subjects range from the Coventry blitz and gathering walnuts to knitting socks and some very profound thinking about the sea as a metaphor for human existence. It's wonderful to see friendships form and blossom, too.

I shall be working with the wonderful Oxford Concert Party soon - again in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum. This will be an intergenerational project. Working across several generations - we artists fall somewhere in between young and old - is immensely rewarding for all of us.

I've also been working with the hugely talented Oliver Vibrans who is in his second year at Cambridge. Late last year he asked  if I might collaborate with him on a piece of narrative with music 'sort of along the lines of The Soldier's Tale by Stravinsky'. So, no pressure there then! I've never worked with a composer before. Text doesn't have the same function in this context I've discovered. It's perhaps more of a way marker or a sign-post. The music is the narrative. It's a fascinating dynamic, particularly as we both see things in theatrical terms too, so there is a strong visual element and the audience are integral.

The performance is due to take place at the end of February. Watch this space!

I understand I've just come 2nd in a poetry competition. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say which one yet, but that's another good start to this year.

And finally, on my artistic radar is a completely new discovery for me - the short films of Jan ┼ávankmajer. Highly recommended. There are plenty of clips of his films on YouTube. 

I hope 2016 is a good one for you too!

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