The Log Fire

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So I’m thinking I’ve not done too badly with my blogs, and I’ve quite enjoyed writing them. The blogs have become like the push you feel in child birth, you just need to write it.  So here’s is my final blog for 2016…

Rattle Snake is our final project in 2016. We spent last week doing Research & Development with the script in preparation for an Autumn tour next year.  It’s the company’s first co-production and we’re doing it with Live Theatre.  We’ve had a long association with Live and they were the first theatre to host our plays back in 1998.  It became a tradition for us to open and close our shows there.  The communities we worked with, many of whom would never go into the theatre (or any theatre) had their own tables, especially the women from West End Women & Girls Centre.  Times have moved on and West End Women have their own theatre space now, so we go to them, but the shows still go to Live.

It’s the first time we have co-produced and it feels right that its with Live Theatre.  But they aren’t the only partnership, York Theatre Royal are the associate company with Rattle Snake.  They have a long standing relationship with our Rattle Snake director, Charlotte Bennett, and they hosted Key Change in 2015, which led to us being in the Houses of Parliament in October of this year.  This, like Cinderella’s shoe, feels like the right fit.

The week started with actors Kathryn Beaumont and Eilidh Talman showcasing the piece at Live on the Monday and we concluded the week at York Theatre Royal with an invited audience on the Friday.

There were moments on both the Monday and Friday when it felt so strange and odd.  We have always had critical friends who feedback on script, set, design and politics …..but this felt different.  I found myself sitting with people I know and don’t know as they talked about the women in the story, the issues, style, form and areas to develop or consider.

So I’m trying to figure out why it felt strange to me (having men in the room is too obvious an answer).  For the past 18 years the methodology and process to create theatre has been like the shoe that fits, and the atmosphere we create could be likened to having a cosy, log fire gathering… maybe the new process felt like the door opened and random visitors arrived – to begin with you feel unsettled or even startled – you have to move seats, make room and open up the space.  However random guests can be a positive and a great addition to your fire – you gain knowledge through conversations, observations, laughter and tears. So I think this is what happened, we opened the door to the company’s process to create work and allowed others in (but really they were invited and not random) and it worked – both Live and York gave great and interesting feedback that will develop the show.

Rattle Snake is like a train that motors forward at great speed, it has such an impact and the challenge for all of us was to ensure we didn’t derail, and I think its fair to say we achieved our goal.

So now as I write this final blog the office is winding down to a close for Christmas.  Jill Heslop (our Creative Producer) and Mary Wilson (our administrator) left yesterday for a well-earned rest (though I can see Jill Heslop is still checking her emails) .  I can hear Carly McConnell (our Company Development Manager) making the final taps on her keyboard as we power forward to complete our NPO application.

The staff team are tired, they (like our creative teams) work so hard and its time to stop, baton down the hatches, see friends and feed the soul.  Happy Christmas one and all – keep safe and well till we meet again in the New Year – and what a new year its going to be!

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