Thursday, 16 November 2017

Grateful thanks for Danu and new music

About ten years ago Shallal said goodbye to an old friend and supporter Eileen Inge Herzberg.
Eileen was an unofficial aunt to my family and there for us all when our fifth child was born caring for all the others at home while i was in hospital. She travelled to India and from there we heard she died from pneumonia at Goa, her heart wasn't well ....
Eileen was a large personality radiating joy to those she knew...
We dedicated a show to her, which remains Colin's favourite, Mind the Gap, it included wonderful sculptures, film etc.

Eileen was close friends with Danu who came in to help with music, ended up also doing our admin and then became our first Arts Council funded development officer, she enabled Shallal to become a charity and have a public face and put in all the first round of background effort needed to create it as it is now!
She had to drag us ( i worked then with Phil Jacobs who was our theatre facilitator into the new ways of doing things, not an enviable task! force me to articulate what i had done instinctively for over 15 years, and she came up with the line "Shallal celebrates ability, diversity and community."
She bought Shallal's first film camera which opened doors to many beautiful pieces with images, in our shows at the Acorn.

So all this is to celebrate her life and gifts and say thank you, as Danu died early last Monday morning.

I was especially moved last Tuesday morning (in the early hours of 'better turn on the computer and catch up' - as the next 4 days are going to start and won't stop) as interrupting my 'to do' list there came a reason why we do this, a beautiful piece of music (earlier this term Shallal commissioned a piece of music) from Darcy Hodgkinson.
He was inspired by the image of "Dancing in the evening skies."
And it feels right to dedicate it to Danu and we will do work in memory of her. ( Eddie emailed to remind me).
I then went to the Liskeard group who were working on the Dark Skies theme for Vital Spark last  Saturday. So i was able to share it immediately.

What feels important is our legacy, what we leave behind and how we are remembered, we are very grateful to Danu for all the hard work she invested in Shallal and remember some wonderful music and singing.
Recently life did one of its circles as Danu's daughter Molly joined Shallal Dance Theatre.

 We can express the deepest parts of ourselves and our deepest prayers through song. 
Danu Fox

We send our love to Molly, Graham and Ian and all Danu's family and friends.
Molly on the right in Ladders and Footprints at Holifield this summer
this was in the Cornishman!
Jo - dance, Danu - music, and Phil - theatre

Phil, Graham and Danu

Danu and Molly 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Creation Space R&D outdoors and indoors

My favourite

Can't wait to put these photographs from yesterday on Facebook, so putting them here so i can warble on a bit.....

Thank you to George for them and to Colin for organising it...

We have 19 pieces of film and a few more to come from our Creation Space R&D at Back Lane West for now they will go on Vimeo but it might be one a week for now!

The above photos are exciting as they are the outdoor research, which Colin and co were able to do.

I have just uploaded a link to one from the studio on our Facebook page, it was hard to choose which but in the end i know Zoe is confident and such a performer!
Art done by the group the day before!
It was a fortuitous last minute offer from Jacqui to come and sing/improvise with Eddie, so that also felt good.

And now that Book, which i have been putting off as i have to dig through archives and macbook clutter to find the information needed, we have so much, i don't want to let down the artists, but also now there is more time i look forward to doing it and handing it over the material to others with more skill....

Sunday, 22 October 2017

2 days bits and bobs and BLW

A collection of images that don't quite go on FB!

Firstly Sidney!in the last dance for Shallal2 in CLAY!

Thank you to Gemma for the flowers, and organising it all! a film was made, so we hope to be able to share that sometime soon!
Well done to everyone involved there are plans to do more and even to try to run a group in St Austell which i would love's hoping!
One comment from film maker was "Amazing".
Performers at CLAY Wheal Martyn Clay Museum on Saturday!

Afterwards we went back to see the Sketchbooks, it was quiet as at the end of the Private view so we really enjoyed looking at them.

Then looking back to Friday!
Lunchtime with Lydia!
is usually an occasion to dress up, 2 or 3 outfits a day and she and Victoria are collecting photos for a sketchbook and then maybe Instagram who knows!

then the hats went to be filmed accompanied by Eddie, Peter and Jonathan!

at the end of the day i turned round to see 'Geraldine' the dummy!
resplendent in Zoe's latest creation
last of all first time at Back Lane West for Alice and Rebecca
Alices dancing was wonderful with Out There on Saturday we hope some of it was filmed.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

CLAY at Wheal Martyn returning with friends.....

A busy month with return invitation to Wheal Martyn, many thanks to Gemma, and a chance to share work with 3 groups of children, Doubletrees School, Mevagissey Primary School Dance Club and St Austell area Home ed group!
Also to work with new associate artists Kerry Tomlins, and Anna Willis.
(Sadly we didn't get to work with Janice and Zoe with an extra group,  but another time!)

So do come!
Shallal 2 are revisiting some of our previous inspiration along with some new pieces,
there is new work created specially from the other group workshops  as well as 'Out There' with some of the Liskeard group in an new piece.
The machinery, that wonderful waterwheel and the 'floating' ponds of sinking clay feature strongly in our inspirations, along with the sheer hard physical work of moving clay!

We are thrilled to introduce Sidney!
Who some of you may remember dancing at Falmouth Art Gallery with Rosie and in a sling as a baby at AMATA from Always New residency!
Here he is with his sister Maybelle, dancing to music played by Erin!

new piece - we love the album Face to face by Alex Heffes and collaborators

Wheal Martyn project and Clair Milne community group funding has allowed us to bring on new trainee associate artists, we are really grateful and 2 of them have been in Shallal since children so they really 'get it' and can stretch it further and both their individual art practices are exciting, and Sidney is a lovely sign of continuing generations.

I do believe in art provision, not just as a project to tantalise people, open doors and then leave them but a continuing provision, which is a struggle for everyone who cares in the arts!
Projects have their place but then where!

We hope James aged 6 from the Home ed group will come to the Liskeard group .....
Last photo of Maz on the left, dancing to Erin's playing ( Erin is her 10 yr old daughter)  and their family have been into Back Lane West ( see previous blog they enjoyed it so much they are going in again at half term!

Also i believe in the importance of having somewhere you can work in creative equality with your children! There are currently 5 families working regularly in Shallal sessions.

George, Demelza, Anna and i went to Kestle Barton this week, lured by the improvised music of Spontonality.
I have been thinking of old Shallal friend Rory more recently, as he was the one who was going to make the book originally conceived from Doorways and i am collating it now - so i miss him!
So the joy of meeting Riya at Kestle Barton and finding out Rory is her close friend !
despite the long cornish narrow lanes to get there,  the warm welcome and spaces are inviting so we hope to do something there next year!
gallery and gardens

Riya and Demelza - Happy Birthday to Demelza for next week!

Creation Space, potential new studio !

Exciting news that Shallal have Creation Space funding from Hall for Cornwall, for our early Research and Development work for Cross Boundaries which will take place within our Back Lane West residency!
which has just started, 3 collaborating artists in on Monday followed by a returning artist and Saturday Anna and Annis!
Many people have commented how they love this time of year and returning to Back Lane West and this year it is more simple and blank than ever, an open canvas space for anything to happen, be explored!
So far new artists and old returning and it all gets busy this coming half term week, with the artists who inspired this R&D coming in.
A chat with Janice has solved one problem how to show Anna and Annis's fantastic work! so a bizarre and quirky coffee table book is in the planning!

Anna and Annis setting up in Back Lane West 

Potential new permanent studio!
And i think i can now share that we are very excited to be at the beginning of what we hope will be a long partnership with recent Shallal friends who would like us to use their renovated cattle barn as our Studio!!
Its central to Cornwall and on the top of a wonderful hill with views for miles, sea glimpses! and when we went silver light was bouncing off the landscape!
Next step to create a timeline, and then we can share our progress as they insulate and finish off the interior.
Although not in the heart of a community,  it is in the hearts of those who want us there and is in the Cornish tradition of light and peace and nature surrounding us and has extraordinary potential for other projects in the garden and land around it and with others!!
Already talking to young emerging artists about early residencies and oh so many possibilities, we will start gently and build it up with a year trial.
light, tall and large space, parking to the door....

Friday, 13 October 2017

Photos from Zoe Wilton

Zoe often sends me photos and these I wanted to blog!
We hope we maybe able to set up an Instagram account with her so she can upload her work - thanks to Victoria from their Sketchbooks interview today!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Undateables title?

9pm Channel 4 today Eddie on Undateables.

Eddie asked his mum to help him write into the show and he went through quite a few interviews etc before being accepted and i really admire and support him in it!
It's hard to find someone to go out with in any social group and if you have support needs your opportunities and peer group are often reduced. I have watched friends in Shallal fall in love, nearly make it and as you know from other posts FB etc the joy of Esme and Davids wedding last year.
When the programme first started i received an email asking me to let people i worked with know about the programme. I wrote back saying, i couldn't possibly advertise a show with that name to people i care about, as it would mean i endorsed the shows title of them as Undateable! and it was insulting.
So for a long time i never watched it, however one of my children did and liked it and asked me to so ( despite the title ) i watched a few and was very moved by some of the very human stories with emotion and love in them.
I still really dislike the title and was pleased to read this article recently....

however it has worked for Eddie and along with many people on the autistic spectrum Eddie is happy for others to know about his autism, as it helps them understand and support him. However many people i work with have been very unhappy to be labelled, and so i tend towards that, as we are all human, all people and we all have vulnerability and support needs, some we are born with, some come along later in life, some come and go people first and if i need to know your particular support needs then tell me about it so i can....
it's a big subject with human dignity in its centre and more importantly love...

so in cowardice i didn't FB the above article today but put it up here instead...

as didn't want to spoil the joy of Eddie's follow up...which i will be joyfully watching tonight !

Monday, 25 September 2017

Schedule for performances and private view/exhibition this busy term and an inclusion quote

We are back in full swing and lots to do and look forward to:

from now till end of October

Back Lane West residency
Back Lane West, Redruth
cross art form, short film, whatever the artists want to explore...

Saturday 21 October

Dance Festival
Wheal Martyn Clay Museum, PL26 8XG
Shallal 2 and 'Out There' with community groups and local schools

Shallal Sketchbooks Private View

Falmouth Art Gallery
3pm - 6pm
Exhibition 21 October - 2 November

Saturday 11 November

Vital Spark
'Out There' at...
Liskerrett Community Centre, Liskeard PL14 4AP
7.30pm - 9.30pm
£5 or £3 concession

Wednesday 15 November

Invitation to dance at Hall for Cornwall for their OPEN DAY : SHOWCASE day  for their Paul Hamlyn Foundation-funded Community Club programme.
5pm -7pm
Shallal Dance Theatre with a shortened version of Ladders & Footprints, improv and Shallal 2 and other community groups

Tuesday 21 November

Bodmin Dance Platform
at Bodmin College, Lostwithiel Rd, Bodmin PL31 1DD
'Out There' and other community groups
£8 adults, £6 concessions

Friday 1 December

Doorways with Ladders and Footprints
Shallal Dance Theatre
at The Acorn, Parade St, Penzance, TR18 4BU
Tickets adults £7, concessions £5, children £3

Open improvisation workshopping, back in the swing of development and rehearsals on Fridays

One of my new loves is Instagram, the world of images, following: artist friends to our youngest son and fun to follow those who travel and some fantastic photographers ....

so recently an old Shallal friend posted

a comment under a sketch of her son doing ballet bar work....

"You cannot train someone to be inclusive. There is no evidence or proof to show that the individual has a heart. No scale for me to check that they can hear the blood thundering through every maternal vessel. My knuckles are sore from knocking on doors. My knees are worn from praying. My words can no longer tell the whole story, it is so long and lost its relevance along with my voice. I forget how to ask nicely anymore, I forget how to ask, I forget. You cannot train someone to be inclusive but over the years I have learnt that the first word you hear from their mouths, the very first word is, "Yes!" that is how i can tell. Thank you @jowillis3 and @cornwalldance1 for saying yes xxx"

We worked together many years ago in dance and in the first Back Lane West residency and i am very moved and grateful to be remembered.


Many thanks to all the team tirelessly working to bring in funding and gain exposure for our work, particularly at present Lou Brett and Barbara Santi who are also Awen Productions!

Also do follow the wonderful world of Shallal Sketchbooks and how it is grown and styled under the talents of Victoria.

How nice to work with Zoe Osmond and Lois Taylor in Liskeard and Kerry Tomlins is working more with us now in Penzance and comes regularly to Shallal Dance Theatre, Pep is sharing his vast expertise and I hope to step out of staging production organisation more and more - not my best talent!
I have always been impressed by the open hearted and creative people who are attracted to Shallal and have helped us along the way, some stay and make a 'home', others 'live' with us for a while! for it all, we are very grateful!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Penzance new group

Who wouldn't want to go to a session with this lovely crew!
Zoe, Kerry, Colin and Jonathan and others in front of The Acorn Theatre, Penzance.
We owe so much to St Peter's Hall Newlyn and then we owe so much to The Acorn our second home.
Where we settled once we restarted, they gave us admin support etc till we were a fully fledged charity. We then returned to St Peter's Hall, Newlyn but ran Open House at The Acorn for many years and performed there annually.
It was the Acorn and David Shaw who supported our first show and asked us to repeat it and that they would guarantee an audience as they wanted more people to see us.
Like The Acorn we have been through many changes but are still here!

Shallal Inclusive Arts Charity are excited to be back at the Acorn with a weekly Open House Dance Theatre session. Everyone is welcome to explore their unique, creative expression in a friendly and safe space...join us on Thursdays at 10.30 till 12 noon...for more details call Colin on 07747 543300

The local ‘Inclusive Arts’ charity Shallal are excited to be back at the Acorn in Penzance with a weekly ‘dance theatre’ session open to all the community.
This is an opportunity to explore your natural movement and unique creative expression through improvisation.
We provide a friendly and safe space in the theatre from 7th September on Thursdays 10.30 - 12 noon at a cost of £3 or donations.
The group will be facilitated by Colin Curbishley…”This is where I started with Shallal over ten years ago and it’s still a creative journey that continues to inspire me. So I’m really please to be able to be part of providing this chance for others to see where it takes them.”
Like Jonathan a participant for two years. “Being part of Shallal has changed my life for the better in so many ways”
If you want to know more please call Colin on 07747 543300 or visit

Look out for our upcoming performance of Ladders and Footprints inspired by the life of the Cornishman John Passmore the Acorn in December.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Summer "As we get older" & more

Summer and i decided i would share the joy and light of Steve Tanner's photos half way through the holidays to remind us that we did have some sun in case it was still raining .....but today is a sunny day and i should be swimming!
But it is lovely to see these again and share them on Facebook.

Toby at the Minack Theatre

I haven't wanted to put anything on FB till now as we were chasing moving from one of 28 ( chosen from hundreds) to the final 6 with Barbara's wonderful short film As we get Older, in The Real Stories Short Film competition, however we achieved 12.5K views so far!!! and international sharing and comments but sadly not chosen for the final 6! However great experience and wonderful to have the film shared and viewed and commented on:
"Real Stories is brightening up our morning with the short documentary by Barbara Santi, detailing the experiences of those involved with inclusive Shallal Dance Theatre Company.
The creative arts allow people to engage on a level of equality, Shallal demonstrates the power of offering people a safe, creative outlet. - Have a little watch of the longer documentary by the dance group for some touching experiences of dancers within the group."

The Exhibitions are on through the summer:
Shallal Sketchbooks at Falmouth Library
Belinda's Doorway photographs at Gyllyngdune Gardens foyer, Princess Pavillions, Falmouth
and Ladders and  Footprints exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery.....good comments and appreciation from audiences there
Toby's wonderful Passmore Edwards painting
Lots still going on in the Shallal life, 50 Shallal Sketchbooks are going up to Launceston Library for....
"As a town we are about to celebrate our local poet Charles Causley’s 100th Birthday on 24th August, our library works closely with our local museum and festival organisers.
.... it would be amazing to hand out 50 books, let people sketch and write as they celebrate, touring the town and venues where his poems are set.
Books can be put on exhibition in one of the sites like the library or museum afterwards."

Cross Boundaries ACE application in for Back Lane West Residency in October, fingers crossed.

Lou and i went to meet Cultivator at Krowji

Barbara has written our half way report for Cornish Doorways

Work for our community groups continues, new one starting in Penzance in September with Colin and friends!

Trustee Nick Fripp is writing applications, and a phone conversation last night with Toby about his dream Tree House Studio! Nick is very supportive of this - its so important to work with others as often the best projects are things i have to be convinced of!
This one was in that bracket when first suggested, but now 'why not!" and new Shallal friend Nigel has experience creating totally accessible toilet with hoist in a field with the school leavers class at his last job, so all possible, bring on the dreams in summer with sunsets and sunrises!
Happy Holidays and here's to the busy times ahead as well!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Audience Evaluation from Ladders and Footprints

It's always good to share the feedback, Shallal Dance Theatre's last session of the term, was spent listening to and discussing and collecting our own feedback from Ladders and Footprints  and then reading the Audience Evaluations to each other!

Audience Evaluations

Did you enjoy the event?  Yes a lot  48     Yes a little    1  

Very happy inclusive event
Educational & beautiful
Captivating, always something to look at, well put together
Well interpreted & full of enthusiasm
Everyone so happy
Quality – creative, loved seeing people come to life, clearly a real community allowing all to shine
Enlightening & entertaining
Radiated happiness
Well produced
Different locations added to show
Movement excellent ditto costume
Very imaginative concept symbolism clear
Wonderful opportunity for people with diff needs & to see them enjoying every moment
Seeing our son do something he loves with people he enjoys being with
Always love to see Shallal
Fun exciting innovative
Always witty site specific inventive very engaging
Books libraries philanthropy.. whats not to love

Did the event highlight any local heritage themes?    Yes a lot   37 Yes  little 9    Not sure  1 
Explain -
History of PE ( Passmore Edwards)
Interesting to hear PE life story
PE is wonderful
The future of libraries is in our hands
PE x 9
PE a fantastic man who cared
History of local libraries
Wonderful to have a town council that wants a public library & supports a performance like this
PE his roots
Uses of libraries
Did the event enhance your experience of the location? Yes a lot  39 Y little 6  Not sure 2 

Did this event enable you to increase understanding of inclusive arts?
Yes a lot   39   Yes little   5   Not sure  3  Not at all 1

Just look at the players faces, all smiles laughter and thorough enjoyment
Very glad to see a closing of the gap
The diversity of the company – everything was possible for everyone
so welcoming & friendly – no limits
Enables all to perform within their abilities & stretches them
I really saw how people of all abilities can dance & convey meaning
It is tremendous how Shallal enables people with complex & different needs excel in different disciplines
Inclusive arts bring so much joy to people previously excluded
Inclusive arts are executed to a very high standard with Shallal
Brill to see an everyday location transformed
The diversity of expression was exquisite
Lovely to see the inclusion of people with varied abilities expressing themselves through art
Love the mixture of all people
All abilities welcome & integrated beautifully
Diversity showcased, different skills, different art forms, site specific work illustrates both how audiences are made up of various & artists don't exist in a vacuum but can comment & enhance location & contemporary discourse.
Amazing that people with disabilities were fully included
Such a diverse group of artistic talented people.
Everybody can & everybody does with such joy
No barriers to expression

I will remember it for the rest of my life
A rare opportunity for people to be able to experience performing & showing their talents
The town council must consider funding this performance during Falmouth week
Shallal has high standards & stretches those it works with to perform to the best of their abilities. I think it is quite unique
Brilliant performance yet again
Lovely to see the inclusion of people thoroughly enjoyed it, appreciate all the time & effort it must have taken
More - encore next time
Very impressed, i'd like to see more, great in its site specific aspect
Thank you so much I came to 2 performances
Loved the range of artistic expression
I use the library a lot & pleased to see events of this type