In March this year I got to work with junk ensemble again for the first time sinceDrinking Dust. Another manky disused space transformed into something a little magical, if I do say so myself.
They were reprising Sometimes We Break, a performance they had originally made for the (much cleaner) Tate Britain in 2012. The original version had been designed by Jo Timmins, and made for family audiences – they asked me to take elements of her design and work with them to re-construct the piece in a (literally and figuratively) darker space. We had the use of two connected warehouses on Barrow Street in Dublin, and the performance was part of Mind Your Step, a walking tour-type season of Irish contemporary dance.
Some before and afters:
We had two days to clear the warehouses, install all technical and design elements, and to tech the 20 minute performance. Sarah Jane Shiels managed to light the place beautifully. But all thanks are due to the stalwart Mags Mulvey (our stage manager) and her team, who spent a full day moving all the disgusting junk from the two warehouses into one corner in a bid to make something aesthetically pleasing/not harmful.
Most of my work focused on the set up of five doll house in diorama-type environments:
Thanks to a touring grant from the Arts Council, Moonfish’s Star of the Sea will be heading off on an Irish tour in September and October, starting back in the Taibhdhearc. As I write I’m back on the Galway GoBus with my sketchbook from last year for a meeting with the team to see how to put it all back together again.
Just over 48 hours from first thoughts to doors opening to create a playground space for Prototype Festival, Hilary O’Shaughnessy’s 2-day festival of play and interactive games. Featuring pallets from the Fruit & Veg market and cardboard boxes supplied by arts organisations across Temple Bar. And thanks to the hard work of a dedicated volunteer helper with red/green colour blindness coerced into painting the 50-odd boxes varying shades of green, it all worked out.
Thanks to Noelia Ruiz and Siobhán O’Gorman for asking me to speak on a panel as part of this event – a day-long symposium on scenography in Trinity College Dublin. It really was a great day, and felt like there was a lot still to say by the end of it.
While I missed some of the papers, I did get to hear some great presentations by:
Rachel Hann on the terminology around scenography (I hope to be able to repost some of what she said soon – it was really useful to hear her own definitions around stage design / scenic design / scenography / set design)
Sarah-Jane Scaife, talking about her beautiful Beckett in the City series
Cathy Leeney and Elaine Sisson both presenting very interesting papers about the documentation of design
Aoife Monks talking about magic/mundane lives of costumes and props (who also came out with the great line that “theatre is just made out of stuff and work”)
Sodja Lotker, Director of the Prague Quadrennial, talking about their upcoming event in 2015
Abstracts of all these paper and more can be found here.
Focusing on fostering cross-artform collaboration, the programme threw nine makers together to see how we got on. As a designer it was a real treat to be able to get a taster of working in and with different practices – I know that I will take quite a while to work through a lot of the ideas that came up during the two weeks. Also, I think/hope that some of those collaborative explorations will continue outside of the Celbridge bubble.
Thanks to all at The Performance Corporation for taking me on as a participant, and to Jo Mangan & Hanna Slattne for putting together a challenging and intensive programme. Most of all, many, many thanks to my fellow participants for the excellent chats, provocations and inspirations you provided. Not to mention putting up with me when I was knackered and grumpy, and making me giggle enough to cause damage to my stomach muscles.