My work as a theatre-maker is engaged in bringing audiences into the performances in a more active role. I see enormous potential in this work to build more meaningful relationships between art and community through placing community within the artmaking itself. My thinking is informed by my studies on the MA Art and Social Practice at the university of Highlands and Islands.
This way of making is a fusion of performance and engagement that happens through a careful facilitation, varying from project to project, and promotes dialogue between artists and communities. It is a unification of my skills as a facilitator and a theatre maker, and I am excited to grow this through Incubation, a series of projects that look to the future with hope, and recollect: Dundee in 2021. This work has extended into deeper thinking around placemaking, cultural democracy, and how these ideas offer a route to rebuild the engagement offers made by organisations in their local areas that champions the power already within the comunity, grows bespoke projects that emerge from real desire, and builds arts organisations back into their local communities by fostering civic hubs. This is a process of Showing Up Well across a number of projects to secure a positive legacy throughout.
Alongside my work within communities and engagement departments, I also make performance collaboratively with Bandwidth.
Bandwidth places design as a co-leader in the devising process. This means that we involve set, costume, and projection design in the creation of new work, instead of bringing in a designer once we know what we are making. Bandwidth is made up of myself, Kenneth MacLeod, designer, and Laurie Motherwell, playwright, and we work together to find innovative new ways of staging work. Our production of The National Anthem is continues its development in January 2021, and recollect: Dundee will be made with Dundonians as part of This is for you, Dundee at Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre. This collaborative way of working results in mid-scale, cross-artform productions that use movement, text and a push towards the highly-visual spectacle.
In Movers Group, by placing participants in the leader role of an artist development programme we have created a warm, focused space for sharing, exploring and maintaining moI also co-produce Movers Group, an artist development programme for those who use movement in their work. It is supported by RCS Knowledge Exchange. It works by placing participants in the leader role of an artist development programme we have created a warm, focused space for sharing, exploring and maintaining movement practice. This promotes strong connections between art and people, people and topics, and arts and community. This work is focused on providing free, personally sustainable development opportunities for artists as a place to connect through art during lockdown. It is through small, supported changes in the masterclass model that we are empowering artists to develop new and innovative movement-based practices across Scotland.
Header photo: Michael Kelly
Photos, top to bottom: Nataile Songer