Friday, 9 February 2018

book day and news

The BOOK is here and there is so much to talk about!
Had a chance to look at it slowly last night and got the approval of family, my first audience and valued critics, so grateful to them for putting up with me!

Love to Victoria and George our compilers and editors, (a mammoth task) who sadly can't be with us today, George maybe in the air flying home!

Pep and Molly in rehearsal with Demelza (hand waving!) Zoe and Kerry behind
A big day today balancing all the events within the event!
Our last 2 shows were full of group dances, thats a lot of us in a company of up to 30!
When i first envisaged this event i thought a few solos dances and poems..
now it is 20 mins of highlights from the shows with 12 dancers, 2 poets with BSL by Demelza and a set by Skye Anna Mackay, we have so many talented musicians around.

The young group of friends in Shallal Dance Theatre of Anna, Annis, Skye and Aaron are back in the radius at present:
Anna has helped curate the show
Anna & Annis's book is getting good reviews...

sneak preview of Shallal's new book! sorry no natural light so dark image, dawn is nearly here but not quite
INHABIT by Anna and Annis is a limited edition print of 3! although requests are coming in
compared to our new book Celebrating Heritage 100 copies!
looking forward to giving company members their free copy - it will sell at £15
Skye is putting on a benefit for us as part of the end of her course
 "I am organizing a live acoustic music event in the Falmouth Art Gallery, which is towards my final project on my music course and, we would love to dedicate the evening to raise money for 'Shallal' as a thank you from me, for having such a great childhood by being apart of Shallal. 
The event will be 4pm - 6pm oSaturday the 10th of March. 
The music will consist of my duo and two supporting musicians. My duo will be performing all original songs, so what we perform will be new and exciting material. 
I would love for you to be there and everyone at Shallal to come along and enjoy the evening."
and Aaron is back in the company.
Recent email.....
"have just been to see Shallal’s show – it’s glorious, every single bit – well done to everyone involved!"
Cat Gibbard
Programme Curator
Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange


Lots of exciting things coming up..
snap shot through some of my week.....
Tuesday Lou and i chatted about our next bid for research and development in improvisation and performance spaces and audience!
Wednesday Zoe O is writing an application for Shallal 2 - thank you Zoe.
Shallal 2 went to Falmouth Art Gallery - some lovely photos to share soon, wonderful portraits to respond to for a, made in 4 sessions! show
21 March 6pm
Conversation with Nigel re new studio use

Esme in front of portrait she liked in Falmouth Art Gallery

Thursday meeting with Jo and Brenda from Continuum dance they saw SDT show at HFC and want to work with us!
in the background....researching Visa application so i can go to Moscow to Tretyakov Gallery Festival? will it all work out in time? hope so

Debs and Colin got to work, on Wednesday for EY and FAD, through the snow, Colin and Kerry are working on another application for the Penzance OH group.

Eddie has been away from SDT for a few weeks working hard for an exhibition but keeps in touch, he sent me this photo of some of his work, which i wanted to share with you.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Doorways Exhibition and from gallery to gallery news of Russian trip!

An old blog unposted......
It's a wonderful thing to work with a good team and thank you to George and Victoria for creating the book with design consultant Jonathan How.
They are working so hard and still keeping me in the loop!
Barbara Santi's initial idea to develop the 2012 show into this amazing project, really paid off and we have many other people to thank along the way! The book is creating a pressured but interesting space for this reflection. 
It highlights the benefits and disadvantages of working from home and self employment, and working with an indecisive and scatty creative director with a very poor filing system!!
We always intend to archive and then something more 'present' comes along, we have been refused an application which could have revoluntionised our systems but, 'heyho and on we go!' and thank you to everyone who has to put up with me!
Yesterday we watched a film of the show, thank you Lou, and Steve came in to finish portrait photos.

Jonathan by Steve Tanner

I have been searching back through this blog which works well as a memory and diary for us.
George is off to America for 3 weeks! i have been doing my Book Homework and an old friend has an invitation to Russia for me, and maybe in the future some of the company! fingers crossed it will happen and off to Moscow Tretyakov Gallery for a talk and showing films! at the end of March. I hope to take Anna with me...

Todays blog:
from one Gallery to Another:
Anna and I head of to The Exchange Gallery Engine Room today to hang the Doorways Celebration Exhibition with dear friend Oli Raymond Barker. Oli has been part of a collaborative group exploring work at Back Lane West residencies over 3 years! and is a beautiful sensitive photographer,
(he and his wife Zeph also used to lodge with us in our Blue Hut - small world).
He also happens to be a technician installing exhibitions at various galleries, so are looking forward to working with him. And as you have probably realised if you read these ramblings, i need people around me with patience and skill to translate what i try to do and say!

So yesterday after having struggled to write a short Resume of Shallal and myself?! for the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow,  
(this required asking another child to help me, Mary is 23 and has a degree - i can see how family businesses start! - she kindly gave me notes and feedback).
I heard back that they will pay for my travel and visa, they are holding a festival 26, 27, 28 March, we will stay with our good friend Olga Klodt who is an icon painter. 
Her work was included in Modern Icon Exhibition held in 1989 in the Znamensky Cathedral in Moscow and she now teaches in Moscow and Jerusalem.

 Love the first Value of the Tretyakov Gallery which is.....
"We believe that art, enlightenment and creativity change people's lives for the better."

The gallery holds some of the most famous of Russian icons

and also one of Anna's favourite artists at present:

Yesterday afternoon while Colin was mounting drawings, Zoe and Toby were involved in last minute art!
The best often comes at the last and i take comfort in having heard that Turner was still 'painting' his paintings that were already hung just before an exhibition!

So off we go with packed car to see which treasures we can hang!

Excited for next Saturday:
 to hear dear Skye sing, always a treat, she will perform for 20 minutes, 
we also have approx 15-20 minutes of dance extracts from the shows 
and some of the wonderful poetry 
throughout the 2 hour opening!
As well as the book!
                                 Thanks to The Tanner Trust for funding the book.

Hope to see you there!

I uploaded this, checked my emails and found helpful information from George about film loops, ending with this....short video of:

...(George) throwing a pan of boiling water into -17 degree bone dry arctic cold Minnesota air!....... 

I love the blog for being able to share this with you to!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

AMATA show audience responses

Steve Tanner photo from HFC...Toby, Pep, Colin and Anna behind boat.....i do feel privileged to work with these crazy peeps!
So here we are after a successful show - Many thanks to all behind the scenes:
James and Nick (and team) at AMATA for support: parking, ( a big thing with so many of us coming from all directions) organisational and technical and just making our whole visit smooth and easy. Victoria, Bea, Anna, Annis and Nigel and all the company and Mike for emergency delivery!

At the end of each show we ask our audience to fill out evaluation forms for us and our funders.
I received a lot of positive feedback from the audience straight after and people wanting to join!
Lovely to have Dot with us who spearheaded our first ACE application for this project and hadn't seen the fruits of her labours...
Fantastic to have Tamsin there from Heritage Lottery!

It's the flu time of year, so Victoria has taken a well needed late break and i'm laid up at home but enjoying rereading responses and digesting the show.

1. Did you enjoy the event?
Yes a lot = 34    Yes a little = 1

2. Why?
Lots of talent and enthusiasm. A range of emotions
An innovative way of communicating a story
Creative, original, emotional, inclusive, beautiful
So many reasons, difficult to write
Made me smile, warmed my heart. Gave me Joy.
Sheer Joy!
The music and dancing was attractive
Moving, Fun, great entertainment Brilliant
energetic, vibrant and filled with passion and drive
To see such life affirming expression from such an evidently committed group was joyful
Such diversity & and a joy to watch everyone enjoying performing
It touched my heart
Not something I usually see in Cornwall - very refreshing.
Because it is all so sincere and your hard work shines through
inclusive and magical
it was very entertaining
Moving, funny, beautiful, wonderful!
The soundtrack was brilliant, the story was interesting and the sense of humour was good.
It was a fantastic performance
surprising, varied, graceful, risky
the enthusiasm of the performers
it was a modern take on an historical event and was hugely entertaining
Good historical stuff
very moving
Excellent dance movement
Very dynamic and enjoyed the flexibility
It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to dance!
Entertaining, good music & encouraging cast members less fortunate to take part
So much talent and enthusiasm
It was agood balance between verbal and non verbal ways. I liked the poetry side a lot. Although i couldn't capture the whole piece cuz of English not my mother tongue. I'd like also to see more of freestyle movement. red & pink (poem) is top

3. Have been to a Shallal event 
Often = 9,     Rarely = 6,    Never = 15     with Twice = 2 and Yes = 1

4......Did it highlight any heritage themes?
Yes a lot = 22,     Yes a little = 6,      Not sure  = 1

5. ........Did it increase your understanding of inclusive arts?
Yes a lot  = 28,       Yes a little = 3,       Not sure = 1

6. .......would you come to a Shallal event again?
Yes a lot = 30,         Yes a little = 3

Any other comments....
Amazing! Thank you!
Inspirational - Anything possible
Perhaps the poetry written performances could be published - may raise funds
Well done to all!!
Thank you - very much enjoyed the performances
The disabled actors performed brilliantly
We would see again
Just a lovely event, Well done Heritage Lottery for supporting this.
Exceptional performances by everyone
It makes me want to dance again
Keep going it's a joy
Keep up the good work
You should get writing published
a tremendous beautiful bit of theatre which brought a tear to our eyes and a smile on our lips
the story telling and the music are both beautiful and enchanting
Nice to see these young people included and happy
Well structured
Moved through all the emotions form laughter to tears. Astounding
Wonderful! Authentic! Moving! Delight to witness! v. talented!
I loved the show, thank you so much!
looking forward to seeing you all again
Thank you very much! I enjoyed the warmth of the circle, it feels a lot and I to me it is the most beautiful thing about Shallal.

"Thank you so much for the Shallal show on Friday night.
The standard of the work was so high and I was immediately lost in the creative world of the dancers.
Its a great achievement with such a big and varied cast.
I love the Passmore Edwards story, and find it very moving; the elevation of people regardless of who they are - its so timely now, with the library funding cuts, but also more broadly in this culture of money and power.  And the Godolphin work is so steeped in atmosphere and history. It speaks volumes for the time spent on research and for the collaborative devising process, to create something so abstract and poetic and yet accessible to an audience."

Thursday, 11 January 2018

48 hours of busyness and fun!

An intense 48 hours about to start! Get in at AMATA is 9.30am get out about 10pm!
Tomorrow sees our exhibition at Helston Museum Gallery a chance to see and enjoy close up a selection of the art work created through the project, as well as Shallal Sketchbooks there are now over 90 of them!
And the joy of listening: searching for music we invited George ( Shallal Dance Theatre's resident musician) who we know so well and Frazer ( his wife and 2 daughters attend Shallal 2) who we hope to work more with, to improvise together.
It should be a delightful event and a nice wind down after the busyness and adrenalin of a big show.

As usual, last minute changes with Brian and Kerry ( performers) and Linda ( back stage) unable to come...however people step in and support each other.....

In the background bids being written and book being edited and a useful conversation with Kirsty Cotton from HFC.

And i recently read an interview with Wolfgang, who i shadowed over 30 years ago! which helps put everything into perspective! AMICI have an Open Workshop

Last thing.
I was unwell yesterday and while resting received a lovely phone call from 'Possum' Mary Anne Green, who many years ago came and painted at Shallal for some months, creating wonderful paintings. She has a film of working with dancer Caroline Schanche who also performed, made costume and film in Shallal many years ago.....



Monday, 18 December 2017

End of term.....

Steve Tanner portraits for our book and website.
Marjorie is our oldest member ( now in her 80's) and a founding member and unstinting support throughout all of Shallal Dance Theatre's journey. Many thanks to her from us all!
End of term and still so much going on:
The Christmas tree decorated by Shallal 2 is still standing till end of December, at Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth.
Our AGM was "the most fun meeting i've ever been to" said a recent trustee!
Our business meetings are officially something to "look forward to"
..Many years ago i sent round a note saying the principles, ( respect, listening, positive comments and support, politeness, group manners etc and joy and fun ) of the main co are something that should inform our practice throughout Shallal! - and cake!
These recent comments mean we are now embedding it though out the 'behind the scenes' parts of Shallal - thank you all!
When people give of their time, honesty, authenticity and effort freely, and generously, manners, respect and appreciation need to be there. ~However these are high ideals and we also need to know how to apologise and say sorry and move on, as none of us are perfect.
I am often reminded when creating work with people that you need to be able to disagree in art without falling out or taking offence! as then you can keep working and discussing it, i am often wrong and ideas i start of being reluctant to accept are often some of the best work in the end! which is the joy of collaboration.

circle time!
Pep, Peter and me
just checking safety!
Ben carrying Colin!
and on they go!
we need to laugh to be able to trust
Lydia, mischievous and fun humour

So on with the list....
Business meeting today
Book meeting following
Wonderful photos from Steve Tanner...see above...
Applications to write and form for next year
Films from Residency to upload ie
Shallal Sketchbooks never stops.... keep up with it on Instagram
Congratulations to Victoria, supported by Lou and Falmouth Art Gallery, for such a successful project
Marketing and publicity for Doorways with Ladders and Footprints
and time off to be fallow and dream! and celebrate in....

Mike Sagar Fenton's review says.... "no other company speaks on this level and no other nights in the theatre do what a Shallal show does." 
"It’s one of Cornwall’s great hidden treasures,"
We have funders coming to see our last Doorways Show, please tell everyone you can think of to come so we can have a packed audience for this event!

Last not least our Christmas Party! fun as always although a sad good bye to Lydia, who has been with us for many years now, we wish her well for the future!

Peter's suggestion of a Christmas quiz was well received with compere Ms Lumber hosting it all and The Wonderful Wheelers swelling the sound and leading our hearty Christmas Carols and songs!

                                Happy Christmas and we hope to see you in the New Year

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Doorways with Ladders and Footprints Review

It’s a cliché to say it’s hard to find words to describe a performance by Shallal, but the appeal of the company seems to by-pass words altogether, to eschew the intellect and speak directly to the audience’s …. soul is really the only word. A glance at other members of the audience finds them gazing with rapt attention and also a faint smile, because no other company speaks on this level and no other nights in the theatre do what a Shallal show does.
Shallal is a company of all ages and abilities, working mainly in movement, dance and mime to music, occasionally breaking into words or poetry, sometimes into full-blooded song. The different sketches evolve from one another with use of costume and a few props but mainly by the interaction of the people on stage. They move with fluidity through each item and on to the next, changing moods from broad farce – how many adventures can be had with a standard step-ladder – to sadness and melancholy, to fiery dances, working sometimes in large groups and sometimes in couples, never hurried and sometimes almost dream-like.
Their recent show at the Acorn had two themes; one was related to mining and to Godolphin House in particular, and the other was a welcome tribute to the philanthropic work of John Passmore Edwards, whose contribution to public cultural life in the C19 was expressed in libraries and galleries all over Cornwall and elsewhere. Although words are not Shallal’s prime medium, Sir John’s love of reading was revealed in many ways, from contemporary written accounts to the use of countless huge tomes as props for many inventive purposes.
The value of Shallal is of course not restricted to the pleasure of their performances but in the confidence it has so clearly given to those involved,  who probably never imagined themselves on a stage. It’s one of Cornwall’s great hidden treasures, and I’m smiling again as I write this at the memory of the gentle magic they so effortlessly produce.   

Mike Sagar-Fenton 

We are so grateful to Mike for writing a review for us. Our recent work has had audience comments but not an 'official' review and I felt we needed it.
My husband remembered that Mike had reviewed us before and suggested we invite him to the show.
Looking at Mike's website and biography reminded me how special the element of place and people can be in Penwith and the intelligent, caring and profound sense of community it has.
All these qualities of care and community are everywhere, if we look, and Shallal is embedding itself into other communities:
in Falmouth where Friends and Dancing is, "Great Sharing on Wednesday. Well done everyone!" and Shallal 2 which has recently had 3 new members, David, Emily and Esme, a choreography undergraduate, "Thank you Amy, for all you did for and with us" and a visitor from Russia, "Welcome" to Katia! and Paul and Hannah returning, "Welcome back".
Out There the new  group in Liskeard is slowly embedding itself in the community under the guidance of Lois Taylor, who i am really enjoying working with.
Shallal is providing a range of engagement and provision, as well as Zoe Osmond and Jonathan Knowles at present as trainee associate artists, with Joseph and Anna also 'in the wings'.
AGM and Christmas Party tomorrow. 
I can share Mike's review with the company.
Peter Kirby,( who we might need to film miming the soprano in the Phantom of the Opera, utterly hilarious! and a highlight of Friends and Dancing's Sharing along with dear Trevor back performing and involved after operations and he plans to come to the party tomorrow!) has requested party games and a quiz so more hilarity! Shallal Quiz remains to be seen! with hostess Ms Jo Lumber!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A day and an evening! The Acorn Show, then Alex Heffes music....and more including birthdays & Christmas tree festival today!

One of the lovely things that can happen after Shallal shows is the rapport between audience and performers and the succeeding conversations, at the Acorn especially, our home territory, this can be a special treat!
Well done and thank you to everyone involved from backstage to fore.
Lots of good feedback and an unexpected donation for £500!

Kerry's shoulder wasn't healed enough to allow her to hang off ladders so Ben and Colin stood in for her,  lending comedy and chaos to this piece!

The stage is so small for the company that we didn't ask Skye and family to perform You Make Me live, however they may at AMATA. As you can see George moved upstairs to perform his music!

Last scene of Ladders and Footprints.
What is becoming of our local libraries? can they weather the change and become, cultural centres and can we fight to revision and maintain those wonderful spaces where anyone can go for shelter in a town. Truly inclusive, truly about community. The Big Issue ran some interesting articles on the changing faces of libraries some months ago.
Shallal Sketchbooks had a partnership, which sadly wasn't funded, within libraries, however  this time round in partnership with Falmouth Art Gallery it has been in Libraries in St Ives, Truro, Launceston and Falmouth, find out more on FB

Phase 3 of Cornish Doorways Project sees extracts from Ladders and Footprints visiting some Cornish Libraries and Shallal Sketchbooks and a small Doorways exhibition will go with them, along with our book, currently being complied by Victoria and George!

Finally the show!
We will film and photograph the performance at AMATA, this time round the Acorn and Terry ( Star's husband ) filmed it, so we hope to have some material.
A good audience and everyone enjoyed the rapport with an audience that builds in an indoor show. We have been working outside for a long time now.
I am struggling now with how to articulate what i want to do next where we want to go and how we want to develop the the work.
We have a good team. Our love of improvisation and really pushing it forwards seems to be core to  the next work.
Also there is potential to share our love of Passmore Edwards and his work in small ways so i'm off to research applications and write stuff!!!
Oh and then there is the Shallal Studios i still haven't shared on line so much of what the residency gave ....

A sideways conversation
is that my brother Mark and his wife Vicky eventually found an amazing composer, Alex Heffes, for their film.
I looked him up, as was excited to know who it was, and we have been working with music from his improvisation album 'Face to Face' in Shallal 2 and Out There for 2 terms now! Every time I play it people comment on it, it suits improvisational dance so well.

Mark on FB......
Recording the score #alexheffes #theelephantmovie
For the past five months, Alex Heffes (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void, Roots, The Queen of Katwe’ ) has been composing the score. Yesterday, as we recorded in London, we heard it played by a live orchestra for the first time. 
It was everything we hoped for - at times inspiring, poignant, fun, and emotional. Thank you to everyone who brought it to life: Alex, the amazing musicians, technicians, and all the folk at AIR.

So from a film about the lives of elephants in Tsavo National Park, Kenya to community dance groups in Cornwall, (with 'Waltz under the stars' performed by Lois and Janice from Out There, to an audience of 20 at Vital Spark sharing at Liskerett Centre Liskeard, one winter evening,) we have been enjoying his music.
And Mark shared a photo on Facebook of the orchestra recording the music for the film last month and yesterday described the days in the studio.  All I can compare it to is Shallal working with Penzance Youth String Orchestra some years ago with Tim Boulton and that was exciting enough!
We did a performance together at St John Hall Penzance 'Shallal with Strings'.

Anyway now I am really wandering off the point and initially came down to the early morning computer to write up my notes for our new applications, so back to work?!
Funding Strategy meeting on Tuesday!

More musings....
Last night was Minnie from Friends and Dancing's 30th Birthday. Happy Birthday Minnie, we first met about 11 years ago, before Minnie went away to college, she came to the then Open House group in Falmouth which i ran with Terri Stevens. After college Minnie returned to her own flat in Falmouth and is a regular participant in Friends and Dancing. Minnie also initiated the very successful social evenings/outings in Falmouth called Funky Friday.

Friends and Dancing Christmas Sharing is Wednesday 13 December 11.30am at the Dracaena Centre, Falmouth. These are usually excellent entertainment, highly recommended and free!

The group can lead onto Shallal 2, Miles has been in Shallal 2 for years now and David and Emily have just joined with Esme joining this Wednesday, ( Hannah hopes to come to when she can) more Birthday greetings to David and Esme for last week and
"Oh no more connections!"

last one.....
Yesterday we hung the decorations on Shallal 2's Christmas tree. Everyone loves Miles story board drawings of the Christmas Carol which is the theme for the trees this year,  and i used some beautiful cut outs from sweet boxes i had saved from David and Esme's wedding, to make small decorations!
Come and see it Grand Opening Today! or it's on for a while, 21,000 people visited the Christmas Tree Festival last winter!
Another birthday! Frazer's yesterday, we started the tree decorating in the light .....

.......and finished in the dark. An origami turkey?! will adorn the top this morning and it will light up tonight!