Sunday, 18 October 2009

Ive been quite busy since my last blog. Tuesday was Cardboard Citizens in the theatre. I hadn't seen any of their work before but i had heard about it and knew that it was going to be an interesting evening. The 3 stories they performed were very different but all were easy to relate to and i had hoped that we would forum all 3. Unfortunately we only had time for one. The one that i was drawn to the most was Emma's story as i felt that her story had the most potential to forum. However when we spoke about the evening on Friday, a lot of people disagreed. They felt that it was too easy to change her situation and that they couldnt empathise with her at all.

When speaking to the actors after the show, they told us about their experiances with the work and the response that they get when performing in hostels. I can see how the work has a positive effect on those who are possibly in the same situations as the characters, they are able to see how their choices might make a difference in their lives and are not being patronised by people who have no understanding as all the actors have been through similar experiances. I'd be really interested to work some more with CC and am looking forward to attending some of their workshops. I saw the potentials of forum theatre as a really good way of connecting with groups of people who wouldn't normally watch theatre.

On Wednesday i attended Amici Dance Theatre's workshop at the Lyric Hammersmith. It was amazing! The performers are all so friendly, open and welcoming and seem to relish the opportunity to show new people what they do.
Amici works with disabled and non disabled performers and its incredible to see how some of the participants interpret the music. Run by Wolfgang Stange, the work is all based on improvisation from a piece of music or a mask or piece of material etc. Performers are picked at random to dance in groups/duo's; however many people the group as a whole decides. One of the most beautiful improvisations was a duet by a blind performer and a performer in a wheelchair. The movement was simple but i could see their connection with the music and with each other. Another performer joined in the dance and started to touch their faces. The performer in the wheelchair really responded to this, and later when we were dancing with fabric and cloths he seemed to really enjoy the feel of it on his skin.
Dancing with the members of Amici was really inspiring and quite liberating. Their energy and confidence rubbed off on me and i didnt feel worried or self concious when others were watching me. Speaking to Wolfgang after the workshop, he told us about their future productions and invited us to go along to more workshops. This is a really great opportunity to see how they work.

Both of these companies have shown me completely different ways of delivering theatre to people who wouldnt normally access it. I think that we could take this idea when looking at our work at Ham House. Looking at people who wouldnt normally visit a National Trust property and trying to get them thinking about it in a positive way as somewhere they would like to visit and enjoy visiting. Gary was saying that there is a school next door to them who don't do anything with the house, they have no connection with something that is right on their doorstep. I think that it is something we could look into with our future projects at the house. What do people think?

Sorry if i have rambled on a bit.. got carried away!


  1. Charlotte. I loved reading your blog It is so interesting. Your ideas for Ham House are excellent. Certainly your work with Amici was moving ans inspiring. Robin

  2. Thank you. I'm looking forward to reading everyone elses ideas about the house so that we can come up with a great set of stories for the christmas events. I think we have a really great bunch of creative people so the end result should be brilliant.