Time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going, work I’ve made and work I’ve toured and new projects in development. As well as planned activity as a writer, lecturer and theatre-maker, each year there are surprising invitations and unexpected opportunities. This year, there have been local, national and international projects that took me further afield, from jazz bars to park benches to churches to sheds, from Crewe to Corby to Cologne, and final shows in Singapore and Salford.
A Fortunate Man
I continued working on this devised performance supported by New Perspectives which, following its successful run at Edinburgh Fringe 2018, toured to Singapore International Fringe Festival and Theaterszene Europa in Cologne. UK dates included Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Axis Arts Centre in Crewe. This project has also kickstarted interest in adapting more of John Berger and Jean Mohr’s work. An article about the devising process was published in Contemporary Theatre Review here.
2019 saw the final tour dates working with the creative team (Mark Hawkhead, Nicholas McCarthy, Katt Perry and Ryan O’Shea) after three years of touring. Concerto was shown at the UK Young Artists City Takeover in Nottingham, EnableUs Festival in Sheffield, The Core at Corby Cube (with a vocal and physical orchestra), Square Chapel Halifax (with Square Chapel Orchestra conducted by Robert Guy) and the New Adelphi Theatre (Salford). There was a blog about the final show here.
A new collaboration with Ollie Smith to mark the beginning of our Pinchbeck & Smith company, Solo was restaged at The Guildhall in Leicester supported by Attenborough Arts Centre before touring to St Mary Le Wigford Church in Lincoln as part of Pop Out Festival supported by Lincoln Performing Arts Centre. Supported by Arts Council England, we have created a tour pack here and a promotional trailer here. In 2020, Solo will tour to MESS Festival (Sarajevo) and Harrogate Theatre.
Sit with me for a moment and remember
After its successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe with The Lincoln Company in 2018, I remounted Sit with me… with new audio recordings both in English and German, featuring Hayley Doherty. We then toured it to Theaterszene Europa in Cologne as a bilingual piece where it ran for 12 hours across three days. There are images of the performance here. I am now working on a chapter with Rachel Baynton about how the piece is co-created with its audience for a Routledge publication.
A Seventh Man
Following on from the success of A Fortunate Man, Ollie Smith and I have secured Arts Council England funding to create a new performance inspired by Berger and Mohr’s 1975 book on migration – A Seventh Man. The Berger Archive has also given the project its blessing, and the performance is supported by S.H.E.D, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, Nottingham Playhouse and New Perspectives with forthcoming work-in-progress at Newvolutions (Lincoln) and Amplify (Nottingham) here. I wrote a blog post about our first sharing at Nottingham Contemporary here.
Alongside the touring work, I ran workshops in dramaturgy and one-to-one performance at the University of Cologne and the University of Sheffield and delivered an artist talk at Manchester Metropolitan University. As part of Concerto in Corby I ran workshops with local singing and dancing groups to form a community orchestra. In the run up to Concerto at Salford, I ran a workshop with the MA Contemporary Performance Practice students who presented a curtain raiser. I also delivered a conducting masterclass with Robert Guy for music students at the University of Salford.
After seven years of working at University of Lincoln, I start work this week as Reader in Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University. In the last few months before leaving Lincoln, I published several articles on my artistic projects, The Middle (2013) and The Long and Winding Road (2004), for Performance Research and edited The Trilogy: Acts of Dramaturgy for the Intellect Playtext Series, exploring the making of The Beginning, The Middle and The End with contributions from artists/scholars including Dani Abulhawa, Maddy Costa, Nicki Hobday, James Hudson, Catherine Love, Andy Smith, Ollie Smith and Mick Mangan. I am now working on a sequel with Ollie Smith, entitled The Ravel Trilogy: Following the Score. I look forward to another exciting year ahead.