What I’m up to….

Last week I found myself in a club in London being asked ‘so what are you up to at the moment’ and I managed to give such a dull and boring answer I decided it was about time to update my blog with a ‘what I’m doing now post!’.

So here’s the new stuff….

On the production side I’m working with two new clients – Windswept Productions and 30bird. The contrast of the two is great – and actually represents the breadth of my interests (from live art to live lit). Coupled with that I’ve also been invited to join The Independents – a Cultural Leadership Programme being run by Battersea Arts Centre.

After two days of fierce discussion – and one debate almost coming to blows – the Artist taking the Lead panel I’m chairing in the East finally came up with our short list of 5. Its an extremely varied list and is provoking quite a bit of online debate (please join in!). You can see me more here http://www.artiststakingthelead.org.uk/east. The five selected artists are currently working up there proposals and the panel meets them face to face in October for a series of presentations and interviews.

Things are also hotting up with my role as co-ordinator for BBC Blast (Colchester). The event hits Colchester in November 2009 (19-21) and I’m currently busy pulling together the programme for the event. More on this in later blogs. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/blast/

I’m still thoroughly enjoying my work with EM Media – working as a critical friend in effect with the three media centres in the East Midlands – Phoenix, Broadway and QUAD.

My two projects at Summer Sundae (http://www.summersundae.com/) are now in that really dull but essential stage of being wound down and tidied up. The film tent was a great success (in fact the only criticism I heard was that no one joined in with Rocky Horror Show!). Phrased and Confused was once again really hard work but great fun. Four fantastic commissions and some amazing performances! The video will be up on the P&C site shortly (www.phrasedandconfused.co.uk) and do check out the podcasts (see previous blog entries). P&C now begins a research project into developing a digital arm – should be fun!

And just to finish things off I’m doing a bit of mentoring for author and poet John Osborne (if your into radio check out his book Radiohead – see here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Radio-Head-Down-Dial-British/dp/1847372309 and I’m chair of Foot in Hand – Louise Katterega’s extraordinary integrated dance company. In fact if your in London on 17 October do go see the company at Rich Mix – see here for info http://www.richmix.org.uk/aandc_footinhand.htm.

And talking of things to do both BADco (who I toured in November 08) and Metro Boulot Dodo (my former company in residence at Phoenix Arts) are part of the SEAS roadshow which sails into Skegness later this month. Its a great opportunity to see new work from companies across Europe – and stay in a Butlins chalet! See http://www.skegnessinternational.com/ for more info. What more could you want. Hopefully see you there!

And here is a bit more info about the new stuff..

Windswept Productions is the new company formed by poet Murray Lachlan Young (who I toured with on Phrased and Confused in May – see http://www.vimeo.com/5074638) and director Paul Jepson. We’re working on three productions together. Techno Shanties (a re working of classic folk tunes in true Murray style) and a fabulous new kids show Modern Cautionary Tales for Children II. Both of these will be off on the road in late January – and the kids show might even make a brief Christmas appearance! Further down the line we’re looking at developing a new dance theatre piece (with a script by Murray) in association with C-Scape. Excitingly this is going to be developed at Beaford Arts in January 2010 (if we’re successful with our bid to the Arts Council).

30bird Productions are a totally different type of company. Led by the inspirational director Mehrdad Seyf the company has over the years produced a vast array of stunningly beautiful and often challenging work (their latest piece is about sex change operations in Iran!). If you happen to be in Southend this weekend the company are pretty much taking up residence there – see http://www.30birdproductions.org/ for details (go to start / performance /chodzenie). Having been blown away by Majnoun at a Decibel festival years and years ago I’m really delighted to be working with them as an Associate Producer especially as they continue their journey away from the traditional theatre space.

The Independents – here is what the official blurb has to say about the programme:-
We believe that independent arts leaders are a vital resource for the cultural sector. These individuals often retain a fleetness-of-foot and entrepreneurial zeal which positions them at the vanguard of artform and audience development. The independent, unconstrained by organisational weight and expectation, often displays a flexibility, opportunism and dynamism that can otherwise be hemmed in by the constraints of large organisational structures. Particularly in emerging artforms these individuals can and do play a vital role in the creation of new practice and the development of new models of operation. They are the essential cultural leaders of the 21st Century.

This programme aims to meet the need of independent cultural leaders who want to be part of a network and connect to organisations. It also aims to demonstrate to organisations the value of working in partnership with independent artists and producers to develop a wider development conversation between independent artists and practitioners. This programme is specifically designed to support the development of mid career artists and practitioners who demonstrate significant leadership potential in the cultural and creative industries.

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