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  • Writer's pictureOlga Kaleta

Period Drama: week one

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Research & Development/Creation

24-28th of May, The Island, Bristol

I have talked about the themes, concepts and aspirations of Period Drama in snippets of writings and previous reflections I shared on my website and through social media. I do not wish to start this blog by recalling those descriptions.

It is a common practice, which derives from the promotional necessities, to verbally bind a performance at each stage of development in order to attract support and funding. Luckily, this is not the purpose of this blog.

The purpose of this blog is to share with you the joys and the challenges of embarking on a process of creating work for public spaces that reckons with subject matters that can and are in many contexts still considered a bit of a hoo-hah.

As we are embarking on a creative process that is to be adventures, explorative and daring it would be counterproductive to hold on to this carefully crafted definition of what we are hoping to achieve too tightly.

This is not to say that we’re starting from a place of an utter liberty. Absolutely not. We know the direction in which we want to travel, it's just that we are not yet sure how exactly we are going to get there. What we know for certain, is that the horizon is bound to shift as we go on, therefore our hearts and minds must remain open. This is the most exciting and at the same time most hair-raising aspect of every creative process (unless you’re colouring by numbers I guess, if you’re colouring by numbers; you’re fine!).

Week 1 was the first week back in the studio after a long break of nearly 15 months since the initial R&D (funded by Arts Council of Wales). It was all about reconnecting with the material and getting to know the fabulous creative team that is joining me in this process. It was all about building trust, understanding each other’s ways of working, exploring the creative possibilities within different aspects of the piece, creating shared language and shared points of reference, getting inspired by the site visit, looking at things from all kinds of angles, writing and moving, laughing, and crying, playing, and pondering...A LOT of pondering!

One of the highlights of this week was to engage in the conversations on a very personal level; to understand the ways in which the themes and subthemes of the show resonate with each individual member of the team; to hear many stories, each told with passion and honesty. This was an encouraging and affirming experience. The journey we’re embarking on is not going to be easy but certainly worth the effort.

We are incredibly grateful to The Island for the support through their residency programme. The Island is my circus home, a place where I train regularly and where my circus community “lives” (many of us would if we could hehe). To be able to kickstart this phase of Period Drama creation on my “home turf” meant a lot to me! Thank you so much for all the brilliant work that you do!

We are going into week 2 feeling hopeful. This week was exciting, joyful and full of promise…

Ermm...Hold on! Nothing is ever that easy!?!

Brace! Brace! Brace! Heads down! Stay down!

Period Drama is supported by Arts Council of England, NoFit State Circus, WildWorks Theatre, Circomedia, The Island, Arts Space Life Space, Unit 15 Creation Space, 101 Outdoor Arts.

Period Drama is a Respond commission for Circus City, a Handstand Arts CIO project.

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