So, in the end, we got a no from ACE with regards to our NPO bid. For those not in the arts NPO means National Portfolio Organisation. Every three years the Arts Council invites organisations like ours to apply to be an NPO and if you’re successful, then you get three years of funding and the security that comes with that. And if you’re not, then you have to keep applying for project funding. Not becoming an NPO is obviously disappointing as we worked incredibly hard on the bid and we know that we got very close and that our application was deemed very strong. Of course it hurts. A no always does… But here’s the way we see it. Arts Council England have been incredible supporters of CASA and the festival for years now and we hope that they continue to be through grants for the arts project funding.
As a festival that presents work from countries where public funds are minimal, we are grateful that a high level of public funding for the arts exists here in the uk and we wish the companies who have been successful in their npo bids the best of luck. Beyond that, not much else has changed. We still believe in what we do. In its intrinsic value. In what we bring to the UK’s cultural landscape. In the international artists we present and the UK artists we support and will continue to present and support. In the community activities we already do and the deeper engagement we are planning.
And so, rather than dissuade us, this “no” inspires us to do more and to aim higher. We will continue doing what we do. And then some.
And we hope you’ll stick with us and join us and join in.
Daniel, Felix, Lora, José and the entire CASA team wishes you all a very happy day.
Developing DWELL IN during this month has been very inspiring. It really fascinates me how a small idea can grow in the process of making it, as one encounters so many questions and possibilities while filming, editing, and rehearsing. I’m very happy with the result of what I’m showing on Monday, it’s indeed a great opportunity and a challenge for me to perform and communicate my work to a new audience and I’m really looking forward to it.
Within the work I think I still have much more to develop, starting with the technical side of the work which could be more precise and polished. I have also been thinking in the possibility of including another element and another action to this piece. I thought about the use of voice as well, something I never did. I have to say that the more I experiment the more I discover new ways of expressing myself and communication my ideas.
This next Monday will be the first time I will be performing at a theatre space and it’s a great challenge that I’m totally up to. My idea of space has always been one of an immersive place where the audience enters and experiences my action from a very close and involved position. (At my previous piece, THE SHELL, I put 2.500kg of soil on the space floor, where the audience had to walk. There was the smell of it, its instability and it was dark and cold, as I had an air conditioner on as well). However, for DWELL IN I’ve done subtle changes due to the fact that I’ll be on stage myself and the audience will be seated in front of me. I have focused on how my work can still be intense and engaging within this context and I know for sure that, through this experience, I will discover something new about this, especially from the audience’s feedback.
Working with Sarah (my development mentor) has helped me a lot to reflect about my practice from a new perspective. A perspective which has driven me to re-think my practice and my goals as an artist too. She has an amazing energy and knowledge that have helped me develop my Dwell in with more trust and to push forwards my goals as an artist. Thank you!
“What has been your approach on the material so far and how have you been developing your piece until now? What resources or techniques do you use? Basically, how do you define your work and how do you do it?”
The approach to the material so far has been creation through devising by using techniques/methodologies such as improvisation, Anne Bogart’s viewpoints, imagination, miming, Meisner techniques, and clowning. From the very start, the approach was nourished by articles I read and footage I did on runaways, e.g. clowning children performing at traffic lights in Mexico City and at the border of Tijuana and the US. The first day of rehearsal started off with theatre games, but quickly moved on to clowning and miming. With clowning and miming, the performers created their new personas and played around with scenarios, before gradually adding and improvising text. The piece is like a movie trailer with backdrops of pictures projected and audience members completing the world of the clown’s performance.
Props and physicality were utilized as the first layer of the payaso. This is where the language and emotion live, then the words filter through. The most unusual part of the process though was to take the rehearsal into the actual, real-life environment of the characters, that is to rehearse around a set of traffic lights on a busy street in London.
Music is a significant element of my piece because it structures the emotion behind the story. The humming in the beginning tells the story of a child’s innocence. It is carried on throughout the piece as it is accompanied by the movements that were created by the actors while using Anne Bogart’s technique called viewpoints. The dance was choreographed using repetition and combining different repetitive movements. One actor begins with one repetition then changes it into another. These movements from different sessions were first isolated and then strung together again to deliver an actual structured dance. The created sequence delivers a story when performed while humming the nursery rhyme “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. The choreography tells a story that is enlivened with deep emotional content, including the main character’s internal monologue. This story deals with escapism from one’s parents and children facing certain circumstances and developing coping mechanisms.
Another layer in creating this piece is using the actor’s impulses during the delivery of text. This text is used along with the physical tension of breaking the forth wall. The audience is used as part of the world that is created as an aside, or to complete the circle that is where the clown performs. After developing the script through improvisation by using images and scenarios, it is then transformed into actual spoken text and written down. Additionally, emotional landscape and pace of the journey are looked at closely. The intonation of language and voice with all its physical components is used with and without text, which gives it its emotional journey through the piece. These elements are then combined and flushed out to be performed.