Funding Secured for Stage Two!

I’m delighted to announce that we have secured funding from the Arts Council and additional support from The Elmgrant Trust to develop ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ into a full length piece, and R&D an accompanying outreach programme!

Work has already started and rehearsals will kick off with a residency at The Point in Eastleigh, which is incredibly exciting. I met the team at their Pitch n Mix session earlier in the year and it’s brilliant to have their support, as well as the dedicated studio time.

I will be posting updates on the project here as it develops. I confess I have more exciting news that I’m not allowed to share yet, but I will let you know as soon as I get the nod!


Arts Council England


Conversations I don’t mind having

If you didn’t see this, there was a great piece in the Saturday guardian last week by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (of Vagenda fame) about her autistic brother:

The conversation I wish I didn’t have to have

A lot of her experiences felt familiar, but the questions she encounters are slightly different to those I’ve heard. Also I don’t mind having those conversations which I guess is why I’m making a show about it! The two most common ones recently are:

1. How does Sean feel about the show?

2. Will he be coming to watch?

In answer, he is completely oblivious to it as it has no relation to his essential needs (chips, pie, sausage roll, jigsaws etc) so even if I were to tell him he wouldn’t understand and he won’t be coming to watch as if he did as soon as he saw me he would walk on stage shouting ‘ya-ya’ and the drag me out demanding to be taken in the car! Hopefully though he’ll feel the benefit if a few more people understand him better.

What’s Next?

Performance at VOLT: Women in Circus, Ausform
Performance at VOLT: Women in Circus, Ausform

On Friday I submitted the arts council evaluation report and metaphorically drew a line under this stage of the project. I reckon the most exciting finding of the research & development was discovering how much material is there and how much more there is to explore! So this has led on to the next logical question – what next?

Next I will be working with Lina B Frank (Ausform) to plan the next stages leading up to a full hour show! Whilst we haven’t a fixed timeline in place the rough aim is to have it complete and on the road by Autumn 2016. Between now and then imagine building structures, rehearsing in warehouses, more doodles of stick people, meetings over coffee, sleepless nights and tiny intense moments of joy. Watch this space to hear more.

We wouldn’t have reached this stage without everyone who was involved so thankyou to all the following:

Arts Council England, Lina B. Frank (Ausform), Alexandra Hamilton Ayres, Jimmy Whiteaker, Jo Munton (Vagabondi Puppets), Lyn Routledge, Alex Harvey (Ockham’s Razor), Giles Bennett, Joshua Wakely, Nathan Keates, Paul Blakemore, Nicole A’Court-Stuart, Amy Dartington, Circomedia, The Invisible Circus and The Island. As well as a MASSIVE THANKYOU to all the brilliant individuals who donated to the online fundraiser.

Post Volt

Photo credit: Paul Blakemore & Ausform

It’s been nearly three weeks since Volt, and now that the dust has settled I’m sifting through the remains to write the evaluation report for the Arts Council!

Going through all the videos, photos and diary posts has reminded me what a roller coaster ride the process was, and how pleased I am with the end result! There’s still plenty of work to be done before I can take the finished piece on the road, but thanks to Volt audience feedback I now know which direction to take it in.

I also recently received the fantastic video of the process, made by Joshua Wakely. You can take a look here.

Words words words

I’m surprised to say that for an aerial puppetry piece I’m using a lot of words! I’ve a script and everything, which this afternoon I will diligently learn whilst practising delivering the punch lines.

It’s almost a week till Volt and I have a rough piece in front of me. With some more rehearsal it should at the very least give you an essence of the piece and at the most leave you wiping away poignant tears through your laughter! No pressure there.

Here’s a taster of what this week has looked like with cameos from Jo Munton and Jimmy Whiteaker, and Giles Bennett’s insightful photography…

Puppet remodelling
Photo by Giles W Bennett