It is the time of year when I reflect on where I have been and where I am going. Every time I walk to work at the University of Lincoln I pass this footbridge which asks these questions. Last year led to two new performances and several appearances at festivals, conferences and symposia. I showed work in parks, pubs, hospitals, village halls, a veterinary college, a Cathedral, auction houses and theatres in the UK and Germany, from Summerhall in Edinburgh to Studiobuhnekoln in Cologne.
Concerto was devised with Ryan O’Shea, Katt Perry, Mark Hawkhead and concert pianist, Nicholas McCarthy. This year, we toured the studio version to York St John University, Studiobuhnekoln in Cologne, Colchester Arts Centre and Exeter Phoenix. Ryan wrote a blog post about the experience of touring to Cologne here. Next year we will tour the studio version to venues and festivals nationally including UKYA Nottingham City Takeover and The Core at Corby Cube. You can see the trailer here.
This year I was awarded Arts Council England funding to produce and tour Concerto 2.0 with a full orchestra after showing it for the first time last year at Attenborough Arts Centre (Leicester). We showed this at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre in November with the Knighton Chamber Orchestra. Next year we will work with local orchestras at both the University of Sheffield and Halifax Square Chapel. There is a tour pack for both versions here. You can see the promotional trailer here.
In October 2017, I was commissioned by Frequency Festival and Lincoln Performing Arts Centre to make a new show with long-term collaborator, Ollie Smith. This year I received Arts Council England funding to produce and tour Solo and it will be shown at The Guildhall in Leicester on Saturday 4 May 2018 before touring nationally. I was also invited to attend this year’s Caravan Marketplace at Brighton Festival to showcase Concerto and Solo. You can watch a video trailer here.
Sit with us for a moment and remember
Over the summer, I revisited a one-to-one performance with The Lincoln Company and it went to Zoo Venues for the duration of the Edinburgh Fringe. The piece received great previews (Sunday Times Best Quick Show) and reviews (‘An 8 minute little wonder’ – Lyn Gardner) and was featured in The Guardian’s ‘Best Shows of the Festival’ roundup. It toured to Amplify Festival (Nottingham), Pop Out Festival (Lincoln) and Lincoln Cathedral and will tour next year. There is a video trailer here.
‘Such a bittersweet pleasure’ – The Independent
‘It may well stay with you for years’ – The Guardian
‘A hidden gem of a show’ – Fringe Review
‘Pointed, poignant site-specific theatre for one’ – The Wee Review
A Fortunate Man
This year, New Perspectives invited me to write and direct A Fortunate Man – inspired by the 1967 book of the same name by John Berger and Jean Mohr. The piece was premiered at Camden People’s Theatre in June before touring nationally and showing at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe where it received five four-star reviews. It also featured in the Sunday Times ‘Best of the Fest’ preview feature. Next year the piece will tour to Singapore Fringe Festival and Studiobuhnekoln in Cologne as well as national rural touring to village halls and medical centres. Here are some reflections on the devising process I wrote at the time. There is a video trailer here.
“beautiful, clever and caring”- The Stage ★★★★
“an extraordinary duet of diagnoses” – The Scotsman ★★★★
“delicate staging…coolly restrained” – The Independent ★★★★
“radical…stimulating…compelling” – The List ★★★★
“quietly considered, unshowingly sophisticated” – WhatsOnStage ★★★★
“moving and understated” – The Times
“a thoughtful piece of writing” – A Younger Theatre
While we were showing Concerto at Studiobuhnekoln we delivered a workshop on dramaturgy with theatre makers from the city which was a great international collaboration. I devised performances this year with students at University of Lincoln (Time Pieces) and Manchester Metropolitan University (Flight Paths) as well as having two devising exercises included in the brilliant Digital Theatre + Making Postdramatic Theatre Handbook edited by Tracey Crossley and Niki Woods. I led a series of devising workshops with 1623 Theatre Company on Autobiography and Shakespeare.
This year, I co-edited Staging Loss: Performance as Commemoration for Palgrave Macmillan. Andrew Westerside (Wes) and I wrote an introduction and conclusion to this edited collection and it features a chapter on Bolero (2014). Contributors include Alex Kelly, Andrew Quick, Karen Savage & Justin Smith, Louie Jenkins, Helen Newall, Chloe Dechery, Lisa Gaughan and Conan Lawrence & Dan Ellin. Wes and I are very proud of the book and how it marks the centenary of the Armistice.
Articles and Conferences
I have co-written an article on The Middle with Mick Mangan for Performance Research: On Ageing. I have also published an article – Open Your Eyes: Working with my children on Sit with us for a moment and remember – for Performance Research: On Children. Intellect have invited me to contribute a publication to their Playtext Series entitled The Trilogy: Acts of Dramaturgy featuring the texts of The Beginning, The Middle and The End and a series of critical essays by invited authors. I attended and spoke at several conferences including ISTR and Performance & Conflict at the University of Lincoln, TaPRA at the University of Aberystwyth and the Association of Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London. 2018 was a busy year and 2019 will be even busier. See you there. Thanks to everyone I worked with this year and look forward to working together again in 2019.