This is some days overdue, but I just wanted to put some thoughts down now that The Secret Agent has completed its first expedition out into the world.
We actually finished about 3 weeks ago at the Drum Theatre in Plymouth Theatre Royal. It marked the end of a fantastic regional tour which, as well as Plymouth, took us to Leeds, Warwick and Newcastle. The show continued to grow in richness and depth; the run at the Young Vic had been brilliant and had allowed the piece to evolve in a way that it wasn’t able to in Edinburgh. The whole team did an amazing job of taking these massive themes and shaping them into something that was dark, intriguing and moving. To the end it continued to be a piece that did not support a sit-back-and-watch audience… For those who wanted to lean forward and engage it offered up many exciting discoveries. We had great post show discussions at each venue, which was a wonderful opportunity for us to get a sense if what audiences were taking from the show. The questions were invigorating and challenging and in answering, I think, we were able to see that the show stood up to rigorous inquiry.
The whole experience of putting on The Secret Agent has been as incredibly rewarding as it has been intense. Everyone involved has been inspirational in their commitment and creativity. Making work in this way is never easy but it is always exciting – the result is one that defies the normal theatrical experience, both for the makers and the audience. I’m very proud of what we achieved as a team and am excited about what comes next.
We also held a couple of 2 day workshops on devising theatre at the wonderful Shoreditch Town Hall – from our point of view they were a great success and a useful model for future versions. We got wonderful feedback from the participants and we look forward to holding more in the new year. On the workshop front we also did workshops for schools in Leeds, Plymouth and London, all of which seemed to be really well received. It was lovely to be able to offer workshops directly linked to the show that we were touring.
There are a few things that are already vying for our attention and time. We are starting to get our heads around two new theatre O projects; Sheriff and an as yet unnamed show for children. There is already a bit of information about these on the website, but the ideas are at a very early stage, so we’ll elaborate as and when there’s more to tell.
We are also in the early stages of a collaboration with film maker and artist Daria Martin. It’s a fascinating project around a theme that is pertinent to our interest in ‘Limbic theatre’ – how a theatre of gesture can provoke unconscious and instinctive emotional responses in the audience. Carolina will head off to the Bauhaus Institute in Dessau for a couple of days next month to start exploring this with Daria.
I’m currently working as Movement Director on a new opera for the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House. It’s called ‘How the Whale Became‘ and is based on the ‘early world’ stories by Ted Hughes and is being directed by Natalie Abrahami. I then go on to work on ‘Happy Days‘ at the Young Vic, also directed by Natalie and being performed by Juliet Stevenson and David Beanes.So… A busy moment with lots of exciting, creative and new experiences. As ever, though, what is most important to us is our own work and we’ll keep you posted as our new projects develop.
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Joseph and Carolina