Friday, 20 April 2018

moscow talk

There is a lot to share from last night. I am waiting for photos to arrive from others and our camera. Ever since I have had close Russian friends I am impressed by their quality of soul and hospitality and yesterday was no exception although somehow in my nerves I had forgotten that and not expected it in work?! But of course artists who want to share and reach others have it in abundance.
They constantly help and support each other joyfully.
Olga and Marsha who we are staying with have run us around through intense traffic jams! Fed us, showed us sights etc.Yesterday they got us there, we are 1-2 hours outside the centre! Before that they arranged for us to be shown around 2 incredible exhibitions, one life changing! a retrospective of an amazing famous Russian artist, ' all my life I wanted to paint the light of the sun' but was haunted by 'the fury of war'.

Thanks to: Sophia and Alla who invited us, Olga who made the connections, hosted us and so much more along with Marsha, who then asked Nicholas who came and helped with computer set up, Malena translated for the talk for free and continued translating well into the night as Alexis had many of us back to his flat to celebrate, meet and carry on the conversations, complete with toasts and famous Russian hospitality!!
They often live in small spaces but have big hearts, everyone fits in.

Now I am up early my head is racing, how we can continue this wonderful exchange? that is full of potential.

(Some of the reality for people with support needs here is sobering, it sounds as if when your parents die the only option is state provision/ care and there is little or no help for families i.e. disabilty allowance, carers support etc.)

The exhibition was lovely and the film made about their year long project creating it was delightful.

My presents from last night.
Painting, film survey, gallery guide, and catalogue from their exhibition.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

20 April talk tonight

Hurray I'm into the blog!
I have brought the Shallal iPad with me which is proving easier than a smart phone for many things!
So the last chance to prepare my talk/presentation and yesterday I realised I will have to prepare but also improvise, slightly scary through an interpreter but here goes....
Anna has helped create a PowerPoint and I have the support of many short films most of which were made by or with Barbara Santi of Awen. These and 2 potential running orders should be enough scaffolding to build the talk on, we hope. I wouldn't be worried if just talking about the art and people but it's the background structure and detail which could require exact detail and amounts. My son immediately asked how many people do you work with? so maybe I need to add up a bit ..I'm not a statistics person..

So I have at last found a link and it looks like the venue

Our friends are very supportive and we need to check the memory stick works?! Small glitches!!
I look forward to meeting them afterwards as Q&A is hopefully easier.

I come with all the wonderful artists and people who make up Shallal in my head and heart so just hope to do them justice or at least not fail!!
The films can pay tribute to them ....if my part doesn't live up to it.

Home on Wednesday for work, standing in for Debs at Express Yourself and Friends and Dancing this term, and someone coming in to talk about growing sunflowers?! I think at the end of Shallal 2. First one of the summer term at Liskeard and Thomas has kindly written about the group for the Liskereet Centre newsletter and 2 shows of Ladders and  Footprints on Friday.
This weekend  though a short Russian holiday, the Kremlin - inside its walls are amazing cathedrals and wall paintings- and Zagorsk are on the itinerary...

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Faces feedback, getting ready for Moscow, 2 shows on 27th, Studio equipment and Film Showing in June

Shallal 2 'Faces' Feedback

"I know of no other group* company that integrates performers of all ages so brilliantly and yet professionally - Terrific stuff"

 "Thanks great stuff"

"Thank you Fantastic"

"So very beautiful, loved all the paintings/portraits as a backdrop, a lovely mix of smiles and tears, and laughter. Thank you."

 "Well done to the Shallal performers and Jo Willis for a truly gorgeous performance at Falmouth Gallery tonight. I really enjoyed watching you all perform with real intention and personality."

Suzie West Spindrift dance

Thank you to George for photos.
A film maybe coming soon!
Everyone in Shallal 2 said how it helped them bond as a group, as we have 4 new members, and were really pleased to have performed. The portraits made a rich and wonderful inspiration and backdrop....
Thanks again to Falmouth Art Gallery for their unstinting support.

My rambling.....
Pre Moscow - leave Tuesday
Pre trip to Bude library . - tomorrow with Colin
Pre making phone calls for next ACE application  - soon!
Pre sorting rehearsals for 20th April - when I'm away... Friday chat in car with Colin, Bude is FAR!

I have/had a good memory which is a blessing and a curse, i know i have that photo somewhere.... but then i am am fairly untidy so where? it always could be one of 3 places and do i spend time on finding it....
I'm up early blogging to keep this like a diary, it is so useful to look back on..and to keep chipping away at Moscow presentation, there are soooo many wonderful images of the work and so much to be talked, about but they want hard facts and figures, which will be so different to their organisation but the exchange of information will hopefully be very insightful for both of us...
I'm searching for an old trustee photo...

The question of funding is beginning to encroach as ever --- bother---- despite our good intentions we could face a gap and my mid life crisis sometimes asks me why i never got a 'proper ' job especially with a large family, now 4 of them are flying the nest! they could do with some support...
We've kept going before and it's worked on we go again.
Many thanks to all those working hard behind the scenes to keep everything going, we now have a funding group which meets regularly.
I asked a question of "who has secure work?" at AHSW 2015 gathering in Bristol and only one person in the room of about 30 professionals, artists, producers etc had a contract of longer than a year!
I will have my travel and visa paid for but there is no funds for making the presentation, giving it or  the time away.....

2 shows to go...same day!
Looking forward to it......

St Austell library is a light and airy, fairly spacious 60's building with grass outside and Blackwater Village Hall is 'bijou' intimate, but lovely to take the show to Passmore Edwards home village, birthplace! Thank you to Dean.

Next thing is to sort our new studio......
and start planning a Summer Studio timetable.
Congratulations to Lou for successfully fundraising for equipment! we plan to offer 2 printmaking workshops with Lou, one in July one in September...
and am looking forward to the view and the space, thank you to Nigel and Helena.

And ....
Shallal – Celebration in Film
 Friday 22 June
Newlyn Filmhouse
 Donations on the door
Join us to celebrate the completion of Cornish Doorways project with the films produced over the 3 years plus some classic Shallal shorts.
The short films :
Cornish Doorways evaluation film 
Passmore Hats 
Falmouth show film 
Shallal – making an almighty din 
Duchess and the Doll film 
Duchess, the doll and the dog animation 
Trevor Film 
The Crows 
Moving Words Nancealverne School 
The Wild 
Tree poem 
What is Inclusive Dance? 
Ghosts of Godolphin 
Thanks to Barbara who is organising all of this.
Fundraiser and Sharing afterwards at St Peters Hall ( across the road) we will hold a ( last?) exhibition of Art work created in the Doorways project along with refreshments and performances created in memory of Marjorie, Skye has said she will play! so a chance to hear her for those who missed the benefit at Falmouth Art Gallery.
Oh and great to have Kerry Tomlinson onboard with the Shallal Sketchbooks. We hope to build and continue the momentum of all the good work Victoria has done over the past 2 years in partnership with Falmouth Art Gallery. So onwards with Victoria and Kerry with support from Lou and myself in the background and thanks to Lou for all the fund raising for the success of it so far and to Henrietta and all at Cornwall museums and libraries.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Easter Bank Holiday -----writings about Marjorie

I wrote 3 things inspired by Marjorie and this was the last,  which i read at St Peters Church at the Celebration of her life, before members of Shallal danced to George's music....

Our faith informs our lives.

When I first met Marjorie I probably had just been received into the Russian Orthodox Church. Marjorie was atheist, nearly communist, she didn’t believe. But her faith, her love, the gift of Life in her children and final child Zoe was her faith and in her heart, and she found God in the darkness of grief when Roy died and she never left Him.

She took to going to church as if she had never not been.

It is also a testimony to the community of St Peter’s that Marjorie found such a loyal supportive church family, such close good friends.

Marjorie’s faith in that way is still an incredible testimony to me and her righteous anger. I started writing something about how we bonded in our anger and thought that didn’t sound very positive so halted,* however we did, we talked, we supported each other in our belief in the talents and personality and gifts of those we loved.

Shallal is symbiotic it gives back what you give to it.
Marjorie gave us this straight talking, honest, consistent, dedicated, sensitive and talented support.

In giving thanks for Marjorie and celebrating her I also want to give thanks and celebrate this community. I know she felt the loss of those in the parish who died and I know you will miss her, we all will.

However one last word, Marjorie gave Zoe fantastic coping skills to help her love and remember and dedicate things in her life to her father Roy.
Zoe immediately started doing that for Marjorie, so her legacy flourishes and that informed by her active Christian faith makes Zoe strong and wonderful as we know she is.

second piece of writing - which i didn't read out...

When I first met Marjorie she was quite rightly angry, so was I, we bonded over that.*
Angry about how people ( with learning disabilities LD) were treated, angry about the limited opportunities, patronising, dismissive attitudes. Angry that ( some ) people said that people who happened to be born with a LD had no potential and very little choice.
We take it for granted now that our children ( with 'disablities' ) live with us, but Marjorie’s generation were encouraged to put their babies/children straight into care. I worked with people who lived in one such institution I was also angry, upset, frustrated!
She was one of the forerunners making the trail easier for parents of children with support needs who came after her.
It hurt and it hurt and society had to be prepared to do battle with her.
She often mentioned about when people in Shallal received applause, that originally it wasn’t something they were used to and she also mentioned the choices and opportunities Shallal gave to Zoe and others.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Marjorie Wilton..many thanks.....

I woke this morning with a heavy heart. Partly it's the prospect of greeting friends in Shallal who might not have heard of Marjorie's death until we meet this morning.
Sitting in the circle with our memories and our grief.

Many years ago early in Shallal we have a phase of grief: Marjorie's husband, Zoe's father Roy died, my mother died suddenly unexpectedly aged 59, Tim Churchman's brother Tony aged 14 died from an accident, he fell down the quarry in Newlyn, and Diana Morris' mother also died ( Diana was our first administrator/ supporter and all round inspiration, and set the bar for our ethos and beliefs).
It was a tough year!

Eileen Inge Herzberg another dear friend, who survived a heart attack and came back renewed and dancing, also died unexpectedly while travelling in India just over 10 years ago. We created our show Mind the gap in memory of her.

So, great art is often created in memory of people. What do we do to give thanks, honour them? It's early days.
We have been so grateful for Marjorie, in the early days of Shallal she was an unflinching support and continued to be. Right from our start she came with Zoe and loved it as much as Zoe did, making new friends, supporting and encouraging and available for every outreach, every show, utterly reliable. You can build wonderful things on that dedication and tenacity and Shallal was built on that.

In Shallal we often dance in memory of those we love. Mothers and Daughters was created for Marjorie and Zoe and Kathleen and Christie. I have been bringing the music out and sharing the simple instruction: 'dance for each other, one watches, one dances, take turns'.
I am daunted by thinking of rummaging through our thousands of photographs, as i know there are many gems of Marjorie, I'd like to find.

I haven't time yet and yet should try to before next Friday.
For now i think i will print out the information( dates and times for the celebration of her life and the cremation service) and 2 photographs for today and make cake ( again if i have time!)
In the tradition i live my life in, the day you die is your birthday into eternity/heaven and is remembered every year, with special prayers and koliva.
After Roy died Marjorie and Zoe who had such hard grief met Kerry Lawrence (who i then co-ran Shallal with). They met on a Sunday morning and Kerry said, "I'm going to church at St Peter's." Marjorie who was a staunch socialist had little time for such things before, however they went along and from then on St Peter's church and it's loving community was their home. Marjorie took care of all hall bookings and Zoe is a reader and server in the church. Marjorie once said to me, "dancing is prayer".

From my mothers death i learnt that you can only really see what someone gave and how many lives they touched when they are no longer there! However love doesn't die and they are with us, part of us reaches out to eternity where they are.

It was an extraordinary honour to be at Marjorie's death with Zoe, i never expected it. And an extraordinary honour and privilege to have spent so many years together in the family of Shallal.

Marjorie fought for what she believed in, she was in the local Mencap group for many years: fundraising, awareness raising, championing peoples rights.

Memory Line       

A washing line most people think

Is to hang out your clothes to dry

But mine is special, I peg on mine

My special thoughts, my hopes, my fears

A dried red rose from my wedding bouquet

My first mothers day card, specially made

A valentines card, some photographs from long ago

when I was young and slim

Such memories they bring me

My dreams, my hopes, my prayers

These are the things that you will find upon my washing line.

by Marjorie Wilton

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Marjorie, Benefit, Shows...

What a time recently!
Too early maybe to give a full tribute to Marjorie 
but this message from Linda sums up our feelings:

"My love and condolences to all Zoe, family and friends and those of us in Shallal, I know everyone will be touched deeply by Marjorie's death she was such a lovely person, and we were all blessed to know her." 

It was blessed peaceful death but none of us wanted her to go!
It was a privilege to be there with Zoe and her brother Robert.

I've just listened to snippets of Walk upon Wonders songs on instagram. I have some wonderful photos of Marjorie and Skye who were good friends in Shallal and rehearsed and performed together.
So, Zoe sang to Marjorie 'Goodnight Sweetheart', one of Marjorie's favourite songs and i sang a prayer before we left and we went from the hospital to to Skye's benefit, more singing!

It raised £99! had audience of approx 35 constantly and about 50 throughout...thank you to everyone involved!

Which was a good place to shed some tears and see friends. What wonderful music! feel honoured and privileged to hear such good up and coming artists...and as we were leaving Zoe drew a portrait of Marjorie.

Zoe dedicates her art and dances to her father who died many years ago and has immediately started creating work in honour of her mother

So the next show is, Faces,  2 rehearsals left and some good ideas and tunes....brewing...

and i am writing this blog i need to fill in Russian visa forms, apparently the talk has been advertised now! Oh help! thankfully my dear brother has given me some advice about presentations?!
I have always wanted to write the 'truth' not the promotional advertising eg. "We are half way through rehearsals and hope it will go ok, come along to the finished show and see what you think!"
However here is Jo Lumbers beautifully, as ever, written press release for our ( currently half rehearsed, hope it will be ok, trust in the performers,) show...

Press Release for Shallal2 performance  ‘Faces’
Wednesday 28th March at Falmouth Art Gallery

Beards and bonnets, young and old!
Falmouth based performance group Shallal2 have created their latest show, entitled ‘Faces’, based on the many characters who currently grace the walls of Falmouth Art Gallery.

The gallery’s exhibition, ‘Faces of Cornwall’, displays a wonderful range of portraits by artists including Henry Scott Tuke and Charles Napier Hemy, plus automata by local makers Fi Henshall and Keith Newstead. Depictions of inventors Henry Trengrouse and Humphrey Davey sit alongside local characters Jack Rawling and Tuke’s housekeeper Mrs Foreacre.

Shallal2 have devised dance and drama pieces that explore the paintings and the people who feature in them.  This new work incorporates live and recorded music, spoken word plus an array of hats and moustaches!  The company is made of children and adults, with youngest member just three years old.

‘Faces’ will be performed at Falmouth Art Gallery on Wednesday 28th March at 6pm. All welcome and the performance is free.

and an end of project survey for Wheal Martyn..
and ...

St Agnes library show next Friday 23 March daytime...still awaiting timing!

Blackwater booked in....

and an email this week from dear Wolfgang.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Book to Wolfgang.... thanks Demelza

Demelza and Zoe both went to Amici's recent Open Workshop, at the Lyric Theatre, London.
Demelza kindly delivered a present to him, a copy of Shallal's Celebrating Heritage Book, which he looked through every page of...
Thanks for the photos Demelza.
It is good to have something non-digital as a memory of our work, thanks again to the artists involved in compiling it and creating the work within it.
Here's to making more!