Adrian Spring (dans le rôle du Pilot) takes a lot of photos. And recently he’s started making them into videos. Here is a collection of photos taken making and touring Volcano going from November 2012 – June 2014. We think it’s mega.
Our friends up in Stirling made a documentary about us and Volcano!
In case you didn’t guess from the name, the Wales Millennium Centre is a big theatre. Really big. Here’s a photo in case you don’t believe me. It’s the sort of big that everyone built around the millennium, when we all thought that the world was going to end because of a computer bug, but simultaneously decided that we were entering the future and everything from here on in would be glass and steel and big money to build big arts centres and tourist attractions. It’s one of those. It’s also in Wales, in case you didn’t guess that from the name either. (Try harder).
It’s so totally out of our league – our poster was up in between Derren Brown and Wicked – but it’s fun to be here and almost in parallel with the venue being way nicer than we’re used to, this felt like the first date where we finally nailed this touring thing, and it paid off in the show. Up until now it’s felt like we’re always doing something a bit wrong; like we’re a bit too rushed, or we don’t know the show quite well enough. Obviously, it’s a learning curve…
In Cardiff we took our time, didn’t scrimp on accommodation and hired a van. Which doesn’t sound like much, but we’ve never done this before. We’re used to being skint and rushed all the time, piling things into suitcases and lugging them on the train, working around other jobs and jobseekers appointments and it’s taken a while for it to really sink in that this is our job, and that the Arts Council have given us money to be able to do this properly. Here, we did. We were the little kids in the big super-future venue but we did ok. We had a small but friendly audience and we even sold a volcano jumper. We had a good time.
Now we’re taking the future-Clerke and Joy from the Cardiff future-venue on to Rose Bruford, to Salisbury and, in June, to France. Now we’re going to do it all properly.
Or something like that.
The amazing Paul Samuel White came in to take some photos of Volcano when we were at Shoreditch Town Hall. We’re really mega happy with them. Paul took photos for our first ever photoshoot (The Gogglettes) in 2009 and has taken hundreds (thousands?) of us between then and now. We hope you like these as much as we do.
So where were we? In India. We’re not there any more, so here is a blog post that is about a million different things, because we never wrote anything to conclude that, never mentioned what’s coming from it, what we’ve been doing since, what we will do next, and this feels like as good a place to put all these things down as anywhere. The sun is shining, I’m on the train from London to Bristol and whilst the pastoral scenes outside are lovely, I can afford to type in to my computer for a bit to put something here.
India was amazing. It’s hard to fully express how brilliant it was, to explain the way the festival worked, to communicate the strength of the friendships we formed out there, We’ll never be able to adequately thank the people who made us feel so comfortable and well looked after, so many miles from home.
It’s now two months on, and I’m trying to reflect. A few things;
We’re fucking missing this, a lot:
Thespo is a brilliant festival. In many ways it resembles the annual National Student Drama Festival that happens here in the UK, but differs in it’s total commitment to YOUTH. The festival is organised, staffed, performed by under 25s. QTP, the company who started the festival 15 years ago place enormous trust and responsibility for this huge organisational feat in the hands of the people that the festival is, after all, for. I can’t think of anything in the UK that runs like this, so it feels important to point this out. In this country these jobs would be called an ‘internship’, or ‘apprenticeship’. Mithila Palkar, who is 22 (and amazing) would not be given the title of Festival Director over here. I can’t see it happening.
Mumbai is a surprisingly safe place to be a woman. It is a much safer place to be a woman than anywhere else in India, and because of this it is home to an amazing array of strong, independent Indian women with careers and opinions and their own homes. I was amazed at how much safer I felt in December, with Jojo, than I had when travelling in India four years ago with my boyfriend at the time. Part of this is undoubtedly to do with being older, and with being in the country for work rather than as a tourist, but I do believe you can feel a shift in Mumbai that wasn’t there even when we travelled to Pune and Panchgani, which are relatively close to the city.
I already can’t imagine the smell of the city but I remember what I wrote about it at the time (in all the postcards and letters that never got to their recipients, perhaps a Mumbai postal worker was offended by my description of the smells and put them in the bin?) – sea / faeces (human) / spice / sweat / street food / dust / pollution / faeces (animal) / cigarettes / fish / noise. Noise isn’t a smell, but I think in Mumbai noise smells.
There are lots more paragraphs about things that could go here, but then it wouldn’t be a ‘few things’, but many, and perhaps you wouldn’t read the rest.
Here is one very exciting thing: It is looking like we will get to smell Mumbai again! We are brewing a plan for a new show, that will hopefully premiere at Thespo next year, and also looking into setting up an exchange between young Indian and UK based companies. We’ve had a few positive conversations lately with people that might be able to support each of these projects, so all going well – and obviously funding dependent – we will find ourselves back in Mumbai, and for longer, and with a show!
TIPS FOR THE REAL WORLD
Tips for the Real World is a performance lecture/website/zine that we started working on about a year ago. It’s a survival guide for graduate artists. We want it to be the resource that wasn’t available to us when we were students.
We’ve performed the lecture a few times, at Falmouth and in Bristol (at In Between Time/The Showroom Projects’ Beginning in the City event) and recently went down to Falmouth again to do it for the careers department there, which went down really well. We’re now looking to take this to more universities across the country. The lecture has dancing and music and stories and boobs in it, which we think makes it better than a lot of lectures that don’t have these things in them.
The website for it has taken us ages to get together but it’s now UP, and you can see it here: www.tipsfortherealworld.co.uk . We hope you like it.
The amazing Jo Hellier also made us a video about it that you can watch on the website, under the ‘lecture’ section. What a babe.
VOLCANO TOUR (last thing, promise)
Volcano is on the road! We’ve just got back from performing at Shoreditch Town Hall in London all weekend (which was really nice) and are now getting our act together to take it to Cambridge, Cardiff, Rose Bruford (Sidcup) and Salisbury between March and June. You can see all our dates on our website here.
The arts council gave us money to do this, which is really, really nice of them. It’s so great (and unfortunately unusual for most artists of our age) (/any age?) to be able to pay yourself for the work you do. I’d highly recommend it. This also means that we can afford things like FLYERS which is pretty cool. We’ve now got 5000 copies of the same typo! Hooray! They’re still pretty cool though.
When we were in Shoreditch Paul White also came up to take some photos of the show. They are amazing and we will post some on here this week.
Is that enough? That’s probably enough, probably too much. Sorry if you got bored.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is: we’re busy, there’s a lot going on, we feel okay about it all.
I hope you feel okay too.
This morning for breakfast I had a whole basket of bread, four flavours of chocolate spread, and coffee in a bowl.
This blog post is a lot about food.
We’re somewhere close to Calais on our way back to London from Reims. Across the aisle Jojo is asleep, Dr Mike is working on complicated-looking geological diagrams on his laptop. Adrian, in the seat in front of me is listening to music on his phone and Nick, beside him, is reading a Superman comic set in Soviet USSR. I’ve just bought a cup of tea but forgot to get any milk in my excitement at getting back to my seat with a good cup of ‘le thé de Petit-Dejeuner’ and now I can’t be bothered to make the journey back down the train to get some, so I am drinking shit tea and it still feels a lot like France.
Seeing as we’re back on the blog, I thought I should tell you (three or four?) readers about our adventure to France. We were lucky enough to be invited, way back in July, to perform at the Comedie in Reims as part of FRAC Champagne-Ardennes Reims Scenes d’Europe programme. It’s our first ever international gig and we were definitely the youngest, greenest kids in town. Whilst the six other European solo artists arrived looking comfortable, well dressed and professional, the five of us tumbled off the train – unslept and slightly smelly – with about a million suitcases, two snow shovels and a papier mache volcano. Good start.
(I do wonder if we will ever develop this ‘chic artist aura’ – if our scruffiness is something to do with age and inexperience or if, as I suspect, we are just a bunch of scruffy bastards and will be for our whole lives. Answers on the back of a postcard.)
Reims is a nice city with a big cathedral and a sort of German market because it’s Christmas-ish and a kiosk in the street where you can drink champagne in case you need a quick hit on your way to the shops. The theatre is big and nice. We stayed in a hotel with a mad old wooden lift and a nice courtyard and a tiny room.
On Saturday we went to the theatre and watched work by Toril Johannessen (Norway), Angelo Plessar (Greece), Fernando Garcia Dory (Spain) and Pamina de Couloun (Switzerland). All of them apart from Toril’s were in French, so we were fairly lost but as far as we can work out the performances were all interesting, well received and got people talking and so we’ve decided we need to get them all gigs in the UK so that we can watch them in English. In the evening we had a meal in the theatre with great bread, wine, cheese, pasta and lentils and I got indigestion from eating too much good food too fast. (It was worth it though.) We then took a trip to see Bruno Roubicek’s ‘Man Digs Pond’, drank mulled wine and offered our presence – because what more could we do – in support of Bruno’s solo 24 pond dig. He had frost on the sweat patches on his jacket and was steaming in the cold; it was oddly wonderful.
Sunday (yesterday) was Volcano day, and as on any Volcano day, we missed everyone else’s performances whilst we were engulfed in complicated technical faffing, the sourcing of poppadoms (we didn’t find any) and spreading of volcanic ash*. You should however look up David Evrard (Belgium) and Anna Ådahl (Sweden) who performed before us yesterday, because they are both really great people who we liked a lot and their work sounds great too. We’ll go see it in the future so you can come with us if you want.
The show went well, with it feeling pretty tight now that we’re more or less used to it having performed at The Point and Shoreditch Town Hall over the past month, but the audience were very quiet, which definitely threw us. It’s hard to know if people hated it, couldn’t follow it, were concentrating too much on reading the surtitles**, or just if the sense of humour is too British. The less people laughed, the more Jojo and I played up the awkward silences, shrugs, slapstick moments in the desperate effort to squeeze out even a giggle, but very little came, and perhaps it was the wrong tactic. Awkward is very Bristish, non? Nonetheless, people were nice about it afterwards and the opinion of the organisers and other artists seemed to be that the audience had enjoyed it, but I guess we’ll never really know for sure. It turns out they don’t know who the Cheeky Girls are in France, so what can you do, really?
It was our last show with Nick who has been teching all our Autumn dates and it is with a heavy heart that we say au revoir to him because he has been an ace and totally ungrumpy person to work with but unfortunately probably can’t do the spring dates (more on those soon…).
So now we’re through the tunnel and will soon be back in London, so I’ll end this long post now with telling you about what we ate last night because it was the poshest meal I’ve ever had in my life. It had four courses.
Champagne (lots), Red Wine (lots), Sparkling Water (not as much as the champagne and the wine).
Cold carrot soup in a shot glass.
Foie-Gras (yep, the one where they force feed the goose. Don’t think about it).
Lovely lovely duck and potatoes.
Mango sorbet with mango juice and a biscuit thing (that I am not doing justice by calling it a biscuit thing).
Tomorrow morning we’ll get up early and go to Heathrow and catch the plane to Mumbai. Yikes. This will do for now.
love, Rachael x
*The theatre had rubber Astroturf grains that we used instead of soil and it was GREAT and not that messy and much easier to clean up.
**expertly translated last minute by Jess Piette – thank you!
“How is life in a nutshell?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never been in a nutshell”
We are back, we were never really gone to be honest but we are back here, now, wordpressing after 6 months of unwordpressing.
It has been a very busy half a year. Since premiering Volcano at the Brighton Festival on the 10th of May we’ve taken the show on an Autumn “tour that’s not a tour”, so far performing it at Shoreditch Town Hall and The Point in Eastleigh. Whilst doing that we’ve been booking the real tour for Spring 2014 (as well as chewing off our fists writing the ACE application for it).
We’ve developed a performance lecture for recent and soon-to-be graduates called Tips for The Real World: If you’re not crying you’re not doing it right which was performed at Falmouth University in June and the In The City series at the Parlour Showrooms in Bristol in October. We are set to tour this across universities and other venues in the summer term of 2014.
This week we have had a residency with Ausform in Bristol with a project called AFFIX in collaboration with designers and textile makers Sabrina Shirazi and Annelies Henny. We also ran a devise/design workshop with students from Adam Smith College in Fife, where Rachael used to study.
Rachael has been working for In the City as a production assistant and expanding her web design skills.
This Friday we head off to France for our final instalment of “the tour that’s not a tour” and then on Tuesday the 3rd of December Clerke and Joy, global supa-starrrs fly out to Mumbai for 3 weeks to run workshops for Thespo 15‘ and create the beginnings of a new show supported by Falmouth University and ONLY THE BLOODY BRITISH COUNCIL.
Needless to say, we’re pretty much wetting ourselves with excitement.
Or perhaps that the 20,000 cups of coffee we’re drinking in order to get through our beast of a to do list with more things on it than there are hours in the day.
Either way, we’ll let you know how it goes.
(photo by Paul Blakemore)
I am in a pre-show state of disrepair. Everything is broken. I am broken. Yesterday my very expensive and eternally* useful camera wouldn’t turn on. My headphones are held together with araldite and sellotape. My laptop is doing something strange with sound that is horrendously worrying seeing as we are planning to operate the show from it on Friday. I have a blister on my left foot that is making it difficult to walk. As soon as the sun came out an arm fell of my sunglasses. I need a hair cut. I need to clear up the desktop of my computer so I can actually see the things I’m meant to be working on. I need to sort out all of these things but I just. Don’t. Have. Time.
They will have to wait.
Today is the 23rd of April 2013. Today we have finalised all of the texts in the show, which was the last thing that we didn’t quite know about. Today we bought a pilot’s hat from a vintage shop in Brighton, ate lunch in the sun in the Pavillion gardens, drank beer in the theatre at night, and are about to go to Adrian’s house for some sleep. Today, quite by chance, when looking for an old version of the Karaoke text, I stumbled upon the only page of notes that I have ever typed up from this whole process. They are dated 23rd April 2012, and so it seems appropriate to share them:
Rehearsal 23rd of April
- Warm up – the Art of Volcanoes dance: Presidents of the USA, Volcano
- Volcano tours of Falmouth and the performance centre
- Pendennis point
- Rugby Club
- Penryn house
- Performance Centre lift shaft
- 10 ways to be a volcano
- Along the arm/noises
- Speaking the words instead of singing – Unchained Melody
- With narration, responding to the narrator
- He only listens to karaoke versions of songs
- The Pilot
- A really clear snapshot
- Costume, in a pool of light – feels like a photograph
- The world around him is frozen
- Talking about Volcanoes
- 112 types of grass grown on Volcanoes
- There are 16 volcanoes in Falmouth but we don’t talk about it as it might scare off potential students
- Goats and snakes live on volcanoes, but not all of them can deal with the heat