” Kids are really difficult, innit”
– Sam Butler, Artistic Director of Fevered Sleep and our project mentor.
At the beginning of 2019, we had the pleasure of working with Sam Butler for several days over the course of the development of our first performance work, one of which was supported by South East Dance & Jerwood Charitable Foundation Dramaturg in Residence programme.
Touch is a half-hour performance focussing on the themes of connection, intimacy and play between parents/carers and their children. It was performed for the first time at Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea on 31st March 2019 and was supported by Arts Council England. The piece is performed by two professional performers, their children (aged 4 and 6) and a community cast of local parents and their children (aged 3 to 6).
As this was the first performance work we had made together, we felt that we needed some support from somebody with more experience than we did: especially with working with young children and community performers. We were very fortunate to have Sam come in and observe rehearsals and give feedback on the process.
This blog is made up of the notes that we made during that time. As you can see, the notes range from artistic input to the logistical elements on making a challenging work. And challenging it was. We had chosen to make a piece including a community cast of twenty people (ten adults and ten young children), many of whom had never performed in front of an audience before.
It was vital to us that we were showing relationships between adults and their own children and, therefore, had to walk a very fine line between giving instructions and allowing the performers to be themselves so that the audience could see an honest connection. We were aware that it’s basically impossible to tell a three-year-old what to do and were forced to let go of the control that we expected of ourselves as directors. Israeli dancer, Itay Yatuv, talks about ‘embracing the chaos’. A thought that remained present throughout the process.
Anyway, with the help of Sam, we got through it. A show happened and people came. We thought it was good.
And we’re doing it again. Touch will be part of Our City Dances festival at 12pm on Sunday 30thJune at Brooke Mead in Brighton. Come and embrace the chaos!