Light the Fuse and Scribbled Thought reflect on their R&D Residency

| Mon 12 Dec 2016

Light the Fuse and Scribbled Thought recently joined us for a two week Creation Space R&D residency exploring ideas toward their new show Playground of Dreams. We caught up with them to find out how their ideas developed during their time here.

Which particular elements of the project did you focus on during your residency?

We focused on finding the characters that might visit our playground and what stories they might tell. We spoke to lots of people, including the wonderful team at artsdepot over a much-appreciated Biscuit Wednesday, and asked them for their tales and memories of playgrounds past and present. There were lots! Thus proving our theory that the playground is catalyst of human interaction, a focal point and challenge to be won at some point in everyone’s lives. Whether it’s competitive siblings fighting for attention, pirates battling over treasures, warfare of rival schools, awkward teenagers fighting their affections or lonely mums looking for love; there a plenty of victories to be won in the playground no matter what your age.

The final show will take place on a purpose built playground with a lot of height, meaning that adult performers can be made to look like children and the monkey bars will still pose a challenge enabling aerial and acrobatic work. We did some research trips to local playgrounds where we people watched, climbed and experimented. We now have lots of ideas to discuss with our new designer to make an adult sized playground that the whole audience will want to play on. For the R&D we concentrated on floor based routines playing with dance, physical theatre, tumbling and acrobalance – all done to a very eclectic soundtrack which thankfully went down well with the artsdepot team who had to listen to it over and over again!

Were there any surprises? Did you make any new discoveries about the project?

Ninja granddads and crafty squirrels with a taste for Werther’s Originals – I’ll just leave that there and you can come and see the show to find out more!

Did you bring in any collaborators?

We were working with one new collaborator, performer Craig Dagostino. He has brought a very different skill set to the team with training in circus arts including Chinese pole, hand to hand and tumbling and we are really excited about what we can do with his strength and daring.

Did this residency enable you to do anything that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do?

The residency was brilliant. It was a great space to work in and gave us the space to play and time to focus on exploring different ideas. The artsdepot team was always on hand to help with our random requests (floor mats, hi vis jackets, children’s toys, list of local playgrounds to name a few) or just a cup of tea, a story and an audience. Their feedback was really helpful (and enthusiastic) and will really help to guide how the rest of the show is developed.

What are your next steps for this project?

Find some money! We are currently applying for commissions and funding to develop the show. We have interest in touring and a full creative team so now just need to get the money to make it happen – i.e. Our next step is Steph filling in lots of forms!

What else are you working on at the moment?

Scribbled Thought are producing Loaded, a dance-theatre about weight and gravity being developed to open in Birmingham next autumn. Steph is also working on a commission for Kensington Palace.

Gemma is directing Beryl by Maxine Peake, a play about unsung sporting legend Beryl Burton, being performing at the New Vic, Stoke next spring. She’s also directing Julius Caesar with Guilford Shakespeare Company and planning R&D in South Africa.
Twitter: @Scribbled_Tweet @fusetheatre

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