This past year has whizzed by, I can’t quite believe how much I’ve squeezed in. It’s been a glorious mixture of making, learning, travel and play.
Last January, like most freelance artists I know, I was filling my time with tax returns and admin. Applying for commissions, updating records, it’s all about the paperwork in the depths of winter. Rowan Taylor, Mel Daniels and I were plotting future exploits and becoming much clearer about the direction we wanted to move in together. I’m delighted to say that we’ve had a really successful year and are now officially a cackling threesome known as EYE of NEWT Theatre Arts.
We made a gorgeous piece of illuminated street theatre called The Hare and the Moon, commissioned by Stellar Projects for Nightfall Festival in Stockton-on-Tees. It was a treat to perform, a really gentle and very sweet interactive piece aimed at families and children. We’ll be taking some lovely action photos and then I’ll post all the tour details. Very soon, I’ll be able to tell you all about our current project, which we’re incredibly excited about.
Amongst all the EYE of NEWT growth, I’ve been super busy with a ton of different freelance work. Lots with Handmade Parade and Plunge Boom as usual, both organisations are a joy to work with. Manchester Day Parade with the lovely gang at Walk the Plank was another repeat gig, and a spectacular event to be involved in.
I also had the pleasure this year of getting to know some fab new folk, through a variety of training courses and commissions. Back in the spring, Handmade Parade ran a series of masterclasses. They were fantastic, make sure you book a place early if they happen again. Particularly memorable were the sessions with Brunskill and Grimes, Andy and Jimmy are amazingly generous with their knowledge and skills, I’m already feeling the difference in how I approach making puppets. It’s also been a treat to help out Alison Duddle, of A Bird in the Hand Theatre and Andrew and Kathy Kim of Thingumajig Theatre. They’re such talented individuals and I’m tremendously grateful for all the help they’ve given me in developing my own practice. Another new friend is Al Dix, of 509 Arts. We worked together on a commission for Theatre in the Mill in Bradford, I built a miniature Bradford and we created a table-top protest with local participants. It was really interesting to collaborate with a writer and Al is an inspiration.
Other highlights include Bluedot Festival (Go! It’s ACE!), the Big Local Connects conference in Nottingham, Paisley Halloween Festival…phew! it really has been a busy year. I’ve not even mentioned juggling the activities of three daughters. Thankfully I have a VERY patient husband. Can’t wait to see what the year ahead brings!