Welcome to 2020 and do our new virtual home. Creating a website has been on our agenda for some time now, finally, we have managed to pull something together. Here we hope to share news about up and coming performances and workshops as well as writing about things that we discover together in the studio as we train together.
To kick us off it seems appropriate to spend a moment looking back at the journey of 2019 before we look forward to what lies ahead in 2020. Sometimes when you do work that requires a lot of return and repetition it can feel like things are not really moving forward, it is only in the reflection of the bigger picture that I can start to see the shifts. I think it is safe to say that a lot changed for us in 2019. We started the year off with no home to speak of having lost our regular studio space. January 2019 started with a lot of phone calls, visits and emails to various places and spaces as we tried to find ourselves a new place to work. Luckily the (now former) Dundee Rep Engage department came to our rescue and offered us on-going studio space. From there we bounced straight into a spate of performances, first in Glasgow at Into the Into the Now Festival, followed by Rep Stripped on the home turf and finally I performed as part of the Weekend of Improvisation (WIG) in Glasgow, both in the summer and again in January. In August we decided to look for a new performer to replace Fin who, after two years of working with us, was on his way to study theatre in York. In the end we took on four new performers and began the process of integrating the new ensemble in time for a performance at the Traverse in Edinburgh as part of Chrysalis.
So far so busy. In some ways too busy. Bouncing from performance to performance taught us plenty but it also cost us time to just be together and practice. Performance always brings a sense of challenge to the space, how do we continue to work without allowing a sense of impending product to enter the room? Generally speaking, I do not have an answer to this yet but I do know that treating every single session in the studio with the same level care, curiosity and consideration regardless of how close it is to performance, helps.
As we move into 2020 we are preparing for another performance. This time as part of the Manipulate Festival in February. One of the nicer things to emerge from 2019 was a stronger sense of our own aesthetic, what belongs in our practice and what does not. Of course we carry that investigation into 2020 (and no doubt forever) and much remains confusing and unknown but it was great to begin to get a clearer sense of what we are and are not about. I am curious as to how the ensemble can work in many different configurations, as soloists, duets, smaller and bigger groups.
I have some other thoughts about what we might do this year, generally, however, I have given up planning, the work has a mind of its own and I do not get the final say anyway. We will continue to commit to coming into the studio together from a foundation of generosity, support, playfulness and permission. This for me remains key. Arguably the world is probably not in urgent need of more improvised performances from us, but more people choosing to create in the context of compassionate community sounds like plan.