Research & Development/Creation
31st of May-4th of June, 101 Outdoor Arts, Newbury
Things I’ve learnt during the second week of exploration (+ all the existing knowledge that got reiterated yet again):
Circus Is Hard: In many ways. Not only physically and mentally by constantly requesting of you to go further, higher, faster, and better; but also in terms of it’s creative existence. Circus as an artform is still a teenager; constantly questioning its identity and the way it exists in the world. As soon as you move away from approaching the circus at the level based solely on virtuosity of a trick, you’re in the zone of uncertainty. You can never take anything for granted because everything is in a constant state of becoming. Questions like: ‘Is this real?’, ‘What does it all mean?’, ‘What am I doing here?’ will be at the core of every creative decision. You’re not overthinking it. That is the only kind of thinking available. This might seem obvious to anyone who has taken part in a process as such but it would not be so for everyone. If you’re inviting people with expertise that stems from different creative backgrounds, make sure to have those ‘theoretical’ discussions before submerging yourselves in such a process, in order to ensure that those questions are accepted as a legitimate part of the exploration.
Don’t Be Flippant With The Definitions: Director, Artistic Director, Associate Director, Producer, Creative Producer, Outside Eye, Creative Lead, Artistic Support. We all have a shared understanding of what those roles mean in essence, but there’s a lot of nuance that might differ, when it comes to comprehending specific responsibilities associated with each of those roles. LAY THEM OUT TICK! Don’t be afraid to state the obvious. That way everyone will know when to push and when to relax.
Be Aware of The Possibilities: If you’re working with text, consider all the different directions in which the material could go. Make sure you know which ones you’re most excited about and which ones not so much.
Take Your Time: Don’t rush into any decisions. If there’s lots to be done, the best thing to do might be to slow down.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change Direction: Sometimes that’s exactly what the project might need. Yes, it is terrifying but what else are you going to do? Exactly!
Know Your Team: Putting together a team that you trust on creative as well as personal level is essential, especially when working with sensitive material that derives from autobiographical experiences. Make sure that everyone you choose to engage with, is genuinely committed to the success of the project (rather than their own ego).
Be Grateful For Creating a Timeline That Offers a Breathing Space: Yup! I highly recommend that!
Last but not least… Don’t Expect It To Be Easy: No matter how much wealth of experience and talent you have managed to gather on board. Don’t forget...this ain’t painting by numbers... This is a circus! (Or is it?!)
Period Drama is Respond commission for Circus City, a Handstand Arts CIO project.