Tag Archives: workshops

Playing the Euphonium for Little Miss Sociopath’s Pageant, or what Kaite did this week.

I have always secretly loved ‘catch-me-up’ round robins – those annual missives  that coyly condense achievements into two sides of A4, whilst desperately trying not to look smug. I’m afraid this post will resemble that kind of mix and match, for it’s been a remarkable and diverse week, but perhaps not quite in the league  of some of my stateside clan (‘Dorito bagged four hoops this season, whilst Haagen-Daz has embraced the Euphonium as her special skill for the upcoming Little Miss Sociopath Pageant’).

I’m delighted to be awarded a Literature Wales writing bursary, announced late this week. The grant will enable me to dedicate a sustained period to writing fiction. Although known as a dramatist, I’ve published short prose in the past, and am currently revising a first novel.  This award will give me guaranteed ‘fenced off’ time away from whatever it is I do to keep the wolf from the door, to experiment and explore the long prose form. The list of bursary recipients and information on how to apply for future bursaries can be found at: http://www.literaturewales.org/services-for-writers/i/124046/

I’m grateful to Literature Wales for this vote of confidence along with some financial support in these cash-strapped times. I’m used to reading about grants for the arts being slashed, which makes the announcement of twenty-two writers in Wales working through through the medium of English and Cymraeg sharing £81,000 in bursaries for 2014/15 even more cause for celebration. Hurrah. And thank you.

Further celebration this week involved the wonderful Disability Arts Cymru (DAC) and their skills week, where members of their Unusual Stage School have a series of masterclasses and workshops.

Augusto Boal's exercise: making a machine. Photo: Brian Tarr.

Augusto Boal’s exercise: making a machine. Photo: Brian Tarr.

This photo by Brian Tarr shows me apparently conducting the members of USS in one of Augusto Boal’s exercises from the Arsenal of the Theatre of the Oppressed: ‘Machine of Love/Hate’ (‘Games for Actors and Non-Actors’). I was fortunate to have trained with Augusto in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and have used his techniques in applied drama, devising processes, and for conflict resolution across Europe. For the past ten years I’ve been focusing on performance writing whenever I’ve led masterclasses, so it was wonderful to work physically and practically with these beautiful techniques again.

Disability Arts Cymru continue to provide outstanding support, guidance, and training opportunities for actors with physical, sensory, or intellectual impairments. As I said during a lecture at the end of the day, I felt like I had come home – back to Boal’s work, where I started my theatre practice, and to DAC and disability arts and culture.

I’m increasingly concerned about the dilution of expertise and knowledge into catch-all terms such as ‘diversity’. Of course I embrace diversity and promote it in my life and work, but there are particular challenges and prejudices people with impairments face – especially in these difficult days of cuts, the Bedroom Tax and its ilk, criticism of being ‘scroungers’, and the related rise in disability hate crime. An organisation like DAC, who are part of that community and have great understanding, experience, and specialism built up over decades should continue this expertise and not be asked to broaden the scope to a more general ‘diversity’ catchment. I know that this is the way policy is leading, directed from above by politicians, but it seriously worries me that specialist organisations will be weakened this way, and potentially at a time when their clientele will need them most.

The other event this week which I am proud of and certainly will be anything but coy about announcing is my delight and honour to be made DAC’s patron. It is my privilege to be a figurehead for this sterling organisation. I have been part of Disability Arts Cymru for twenty years, and my relationship with Maggie Hampton and Sara Beer goes back to 1986 when we all worked with Graeae Theatre Company, and were part of the Disability Civil Rights Movement. I hope I manage to serve them and the disabled and Deaf people in Wales and beyond, well.

Whilst we are on politics and the fight for civil rights, 陳佾均 Betty, the Taiwanese translator of my performance text ‘The 9 Fridas’ (whom I wrote about in my previous post) has been keeping me informed about the protests for democracy currently occurring in Taiwan. Our discussions began with reference to Frida Kahlo and her political commitment throughout her life – famously appearing in a wheelchair pushed by Diego Rivera, fist defiantly raised, placard in the other hand, less than a week before her death. We were discussing the necessity of finding parallels between the text and contemporary Taiwanese life, and so she broached the issue of the Sunflower Movement.

I was embarrassed and ashamed to tell her I had only the slightest knowledge of this massive civil rights campaign. There has been little coverage on UK radio and TV and after a cursory search I could only find one article in The Guardian online Comment is Free. Betty has sent me a few links, which I reproduce, below. Please look and read, and don’t be as uninformed as I was. Thank you

https://www.facebook.com/sunflowermovement

http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/journalists-obstructed-as-police-use-force-at-taiwan-student-demonstration

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/25/taiwans-protesters-democracy-china-taiwan-strait

Playing with form – Birmingham Literature Festival October 5th 2013

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I’m delighted to be presenting a workshop at Birmingham Literature Festival this October, in association with the Capital Theatre Festival. I’m Birmingham-Irish, so it’s an added pleasure to be back in the old concrete city, working. Details of the workshop follow:

Workshop: Playing with Form with Kaite O’Reilly October 5th 2013 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

An exploration of some approaches and techniques that can be applied to creating plays and performance texts. From different starting points such as Classic Greek texts to Japanese aesthetics, from solo writing to co-creating – a lecture-demonstration with practical elements considering different forms, processes, and dramaturgies to create theatre. The workshop will draw on practical examples from Kaite O’Reilly’s version of Aeschylus’s ‘Persians’ and the collaborative ‘Told by the Wind’ (The Llanarth Group), amongst other productions.

Start: October 5, 2013 2:00 pm

End: October 5, 2013 4:30 pm

Venue: Room 103, Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND United Kingdom

http://www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org/event/playing-with-form/ 

Full details of the festival, including readings by Carol Ann Duffy, go to: http://www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org/

Fragile? Symposium: Dance, Arts, and Visual Impairment.

Fragile? Sympoisum. http://www.fragiledance.com/

Fragile? Sympoisum. http://www.fragiledance.com/

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I’ve been invited to give a presentation about some of my work at Tallinn University in Estonia next month, as part of the Fragile? Symposium: Dance, Arts, and Visual Impairment. I’m going to speak about ‘Silent Rhythm’, a project I co-created with Denise Armstrong and Alison Jones for the Liverpool International Live Art Festival years ago, where we used our sensory impairments as the starting point for collaboration and the source of creativity. Details of the event, plus the international contributors follow:

Symposium / Dance, Arts & Visual Impairment

TALLINN UNIVERSITY, ESTONIA 20 – 21 April 2013

http://www.fragiledance.com/

The FRAGILE? Symposium is a European wide gathering of practitioners, participants and academics engaged in the fields of dance / art and visual impairment.

The FRAGILE partners (BÆRUM KULTURHUS (Norway), VO’ARTE (Portugal), TALLINN UNIVERSITY (Estonia) and SALAMANDA TANDEM (England)) have united together to host this stimulating FRAGILE? Symposium in the beautiful city of Tallinn.

The Symposium runs from 19th April to 21st April and will consist of over 18 separate participatory experiences, inclusive presentations, exhibits and performances. Events will be presented by an exciting array of visually impaired and sighted experts from all over Europe debating, showing and performing their work in response to the symposium themes.

Isabel Jones, Artistic Director of Salamanda Tandem, is the symposium curator, and in shaping the themes has devised a programme, around interests and questions arising from the FRAGILE project, from her 30-year of practice in this field and beyond:


•    Art: an inclusive aesthetic
. How inclusive is dance as an art form for visually impaired people? What are we doing to make it more so? What affects are there on the ‘Art’ of an inclusive aesthetic?

•    Training and Work: routes and barriers
What shifts are needed both attitudinal and physical, for visually impaired people to enter the performing arts as professionals? Where, for whom and how has it been done well?

•    Wellbeing: Value and Appreciation. 
Is dance / art valuable to visually impaired people and if so, how? How far does this value extend, and does it extend to audiences?

The symposium is suitable for visually impaired people, teachers, artists, scientists, therapists, performers and researchers working or interested in the specific field of dance, arts and visually impairment.

Throughout the FRAGILE? Symposium, we aim to encourage debate, participation, provocation and appreciation, of the contributions of visually impaired people and their collaborative partners to the fields of dance / performance / wellbeing / and art.

The FRAGILE? Symposium’s list of contributors includes:

Lee Sass – UK

Mick Wallis – UK

Kjersti K. Engebrigtsen – Norway (KED)

Ana Rita Barata – Portugal (Vo’Arte)

Sarah Kettley – UK (Trent University)

Ajjar Ausma – Estonia

Isabel Jones – UK (Salamanda Tandem)

Delphine Demont – France (Acajou)

Said Gharbi & Ana Stegnar – Belgium

Jose Luis Pages – Spain

Dijana Raudoniene – Lithuania

Mickel Smithen – UK

Gregor Strutz – Germany

Per Solvang – Norway (Oslo University)

Maria Oshodi – UK (Extant)

David Feeney – Scotland

Rachel Gadsden – UK

Kaite O’Reilly – UK

Read more about the FRAGILE? Symposium and register on www.tlu.ee/fragile