News

Director of Programming at JW3

I’m delighted to announce that in September I’ll be starting a new role as Director of Programming at JW3.

JW3 is a Jewish community and cultural centre in London, providing a programme of year-round events, both free and ticketed, for all sectors of the diverse Jewish community and for people of all backgrounds. Everyone is welcome!

The centre houses a cinema, a multi-purpose theatre hall, a demonstration kitchen, several classrooms, workshop spaces and arts and drama studios, a restaurant, cafe and bar… and a piazza which transforms from a beach in summer to an ice rink in winter.

I’m excited by the range and quality of the work which the phenomenal team at JW3 is able to provide for the public. More broadly, I’m inspired by JW3 as an inclusive, non-denominational, apolitical space of connection which is deeply important to the health of the Jewish community and the wider community.

I believe that the space created by JW3, and the connections made in that space between people who might otherwise not encounter one another, can promote resilience at times when relations between communities – and within them – risk becoming brittle or fractured.

I’m thrilled to be starting this new adventure.

Please see here for further information:

JW3 New Programming Director Press Release

This is Also England

I’m totally utterly delighted to be working on a new musical by my partner in crime from Pins and Needles, Joseph Finlay, and new accomplice Raphael Smith… and a little bit by me too.

This is Also England is a story of bravery, solidarity, oppression and love, set in a West London slum house in 1957. It’s a musical where personal struggles act in tandem with serious political themes: fighting free from unreasonable authority, the ugliness of racism, learning to overcome trauma through love, and accepting that change is inevitable and often for the better. The show brings together the experiences of Caribbean and Jewish immigrants and the indigenous Londoners who fought the war only to lose an empire and all the certainty that went with it. It’s set in the past but it’s really about us, now.

It’s brilliant. We’re writing, workshopping and pitching and I’ll post updates as I have them.

The picture above is not of This is Also England. We don’t have any pictures yet. It’s of Guys and Dolls. Because.

Beautiful Change

At the moment I’m working with Jeanette Bain-Burnett, a Creative Producer who works in Social Policy, on an event to share the highlights of her research into partnership working between arts organisations and social organisations, with reflections on effective partnership working more broadly and recommendations for a framework for sharing knowledge and embedding learning between partners.

Beautiful Change: What do cultural and social leaders learn when they work together?

It’s free to attend, it’s at City Hall in London on June 1st from 4.30pm-6pm, and if you’re interested in culture, social change, learning and managing knowledge then you’re invited. But space is limited and you must book through eventbrite here. Maybe see you there!

It’s Only Words but lots of people have read them

My article on our use of language in the arts, ‘Words, words, they’re all we have to go on’ – or, in its original title ‘It’s Only Words (And Words Are All I Have)’, which I suppose they had to change for copyright reasons – has been listed as one of ArtsProfessional’s best read features in 2016. Fifth best read, I believe.

If you’re not one of the thousands who’ve read it (yes, really!) then you can just click on the link and catch up…

Whatever Happens (Next) to Mrs Exeter?

In May 2016 I directed the first showing of Whatever Happened to Mrs Exeter for Visible Theatre at Graeae’s Bradbury Studios to an invited audience of funders, industry professionals, company supporters and the real women on whose interview transcripts much of this semi-verbatim play (which was originally called The Wardrobe Project) was based.

Here’s more info on the cast, script and process.

We’re debriefing at the moment but it’s looking good for a full run to theatre and non-theatre spaces later this year – more on that soon.

It’s Only Words (and words are all I have)

On Thursday 7 April, Arts Professional published my feature article on our use of language in the arts.

You can read it here.

During my time as a Clore Fellow 2013-2015, I had become increasingly uncomfortable with certain phrases and terms, including ‘diversity’, ‘cultural offer’ and even ‘creativity’. I began to feel that unless we challenged ourselves to improve our language, we would never make the progress we hoped for in the areas and ideas to which our words referred.

So I turned my frustration into… a stream of words. The irony was not lost on me! The article was written as a provocation, rather than a definitive contribution, and I’d welcome comments if you see things differently (or even perhaps agree with me).

 

Casting!

This week, Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March, writer Sonja Linden and I will be casting for Visible Theatre’s The Wardrobe Project, a new piece of theatre made in collaboration with the London College of Fashion, exploring age and identity through the clothing choices made by older women.

Sonja is the Artistic Director of Visible Theatre. You can read more about the play and the company here.

We’re looking for 6 actresses, playing age 60+, including a transgender actress, to first interview and then play a range of women, explore ensemble techniques for verbatim text, and dramatise the life and strange death of Vogue’s erstwhile older role model, Mrs Exeter (pictured above).

Please contact me if you would like more details.

New Movement Collective: Collapse

This week I was invited by Malgorzata Dzierzon of the New Movement Collective (NMC) to join them in their research and development work on ‘Collapse’, a collaboration with ScanLAB architectural 3D data capture specialists.

As shown above, ScanLab are creating 1:1 scale sculptures of the dancers in movement using a process called Slow Life Scanning, and the sculptures themselves form part of the performance – an exploration of the theme of collapse. In the time we spent together we worked on the ideas of cycles of collapse, the escapability or inescapability of those cycles, and the mechanisms people employ to cope as things fall apart.

This was my first taste of dramaturgy in a dance context, and it’s whetted my appetite to do more in future.

NMC is a collective of new generation choreographers with a long collaborative working history, developing work that is directly presented in response to different and unusual theatrical settings. With a strong commitment to collaborative working methods between dance, architecture, film and music, NMC is dedicated to unlocking the performance potential within the hidden pockets of our cities.

For more information about NMC please see here.

The image above shows NMC dancer Clemmie Svaas in a previous showing of ‘Collapse’, and was taken by Matthew Shaw of ScanLAB projects.

The Wardrobe Project

I’m delighted to have been invited to work with Visible Theatre on their new piece in development, The Wardrobe Project.

Visible make new theatre of provocation and beauty that celebrates and transcends age. The Wardrobe Project is inspired by the fashion choices women make as they grow older, what that reveals about their own identities, and also about changing societal and cultural attitudes to age and body.

The Wardrobe Project will be written by Sonja Linden, based on interviews conducted by the acting company, and designed by Agnes Treplin. Sonja and Agnes collaborated on Visible’s launch production, Who Do We Think We Are? which was a huge success at Southwark Playhouse in 2014 (image above).

If you’re interested in finding out more please contact Visible’s Education and Outreach Director, Claire French, on info@visible.org.uk