EMERGE FESTIVAL: HORNCASTLE
Ideas, Inspiration and a blank canvas!
The most exciting thing about this first phase of Emerge, has been beginning with a blank canvas! There have been several months of planning, organising and generating creative ideas but ultimately, we have been waiting to work with our groups of young people, in order to decide what our Festival will look like and begin piecing the puzzle together.
We spent the first few weeks of the project recruiting members by speaking in school assemblies, running workshops with students and engaging with additional local groups. This all led up to our whole group taster session, which was themed around A Midsummer Night's Dream.
At this point, we weren't too sure who would be attending the session or what their interests would be so we created a simple but fun workshop exploring the play through various art forms. This was achieved by splitting the play into four key sections and giving each section a different style that we explored as a group before allowing them to generate their own creative material. We asked the group to tell us the first part of the play through mood boards; this was a moment that we discovered the group's strong interest in arts and crafts! The second section was told through sensory/immersive theatre where each group was given an object to include in their scene, using it to invite the audience into the performance space via an instruction in order to help the narrative move forward. As a company, we specialise in this performance style and is technique we use in our touring shows aimed at young people aged 3-5 years. The third section was told through physical theatre; we begin this exercise by asking participants to pick out key themes from the text, create four frozen images that visualise those themes and then create movements that linked these images together. The final section of the play was a free-for-all; each group was asked to use the skills they had learnt throughout the workshop to tell us the final part of the story. This exercise gave us all a taste of what we can achieve in a small space of time – the ability to create and perform an adaption of a play in one day!
As our taster session was extremely practical and with time ticking, we decided that our first few regular sessions would focus on what the festival will look like and how we would spend the £2,500. This initially began with the groups mind-mapping creative ideas and discussing their personal interests.
Once conversations began we asked the groups to think about all the tasks we would need to set ourselves, all the equipment we would have to buy and how many rehearsals we would need for each performance. All of this came together to produce a timeline, visually showing how much time we had until the festival and how much work we had to do. Each group is currently in a place where they are making a joint scrapbook, explaining what they want to happen at their festival and how much all of the activities are going to cost.
Each participant has really thought about the logistics of this festival in depth and have included a budget breakdown for things such as marketing materials, fees for artists, venue hire and contingency. Some of their ideas we are really excited about are:
• Beauty Parlour: This includes themed nail art, Shakespeare hair styles, costumes and ending with a pop-up photo booth
• Theatre piece based on the Shakespeare Deaths
• Interactive Graffiti Art
• Art Exhibition / competition
• Dance battle based on the rivalry of the Montagues and the Capulets
More ideas will generate as the project goes on and these initial ideas are sure to expand and develop, but at the moment it feels as though we have a clear idea of what the festival is going to look like, where it is going to take place and some of the roles that our group members would like to take on. We are extremely excited for what's to come in the New Year and to bring all of these brilliant ideas together.