Blog #6 - "Creativity for Community, Theatre for All"
"Creativity for community. Theatre for all." That is how Brave Bold Drama sums up its company values.
It's perhaps a bit like "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players. That famous line from Shakespeare's 'As You Like It'.
Ok. I'm not comparing us to Shakespeare, but that line has a certain universality to it.
And how do I like it? Much like the word 'all' - inclusive is how I like it.
This week past week at Creative Workspace has been a bit of a whirlwind. Mildly chaotic, wonderfully fulfilling and wholly inspiring. We hosted our very first drama week for adults with a learning disability, culminating in a devised performance on the Friday afternoon.
Prior to moving to Bristol I specialised in applied theatre for adults with a learning disability. As soon as I graduated university I knew I wanted to do two things. Devise shows and facilitate workshops for those with additional needs as well as work as a freelance Actor. My Mum spent the majority of my childhood and adolescent years teaching these young adults. I've been inspired by her dedication to her students. She wanted to offer them opportunity. She felt compelled to validate their self-worth through her teaching. I am indebted to my Mum for this. She taught me to be tolerant and considerate. And also offer them something similar.
Every time I do one of these projects, the collective agreement is that we just want to entertain. Offer the audience some light relief. And last week was certainly no different. We had many a chortle from the audience come Friday afternoon. And then, of course, following the performance - there were comments like "You've done so well to get that much out of them - well done you". Well actually - no. That's inaccurate. Well done us. More precisely - THEM. They scripted the dialogue. They memorised and delivered their lines with conviction. They shaped the show, were muses to my creativity and furthermore taught me more than anyone else has ever taught me. They have reminded me to be patient. To listen. To tap in to my intuition and respond to the individual needs of fellow human beings. These are life lessons worth learning irrespective of the individual needs of a group working on a drama project.
I left every day with a beaming smile and a spring in my step. Okay there were times when I thought "Are we going to have a show?" but in every professional context I walk in to, this subconscious doubt arouses my antennae of concern. Will we get there? We always get there. And it's ALWAYS fabulous.
Over the course of the week group members; wrote an award speech each, compiled riders, 'crafted' their own Hollywood Walk of Fame 'star', designed and made a costume, designed Easter bonnets, decorated many an invitation in advance of the Friday performance, devised and learnt dialogue, wrote brand new Easter jokes . . . I mean I could continue, but I think you get the idea. A lot happened. They were motivated, captivating, hilarious and at times, they were presented with challenges. They were challenged by their self-doubt. Something that challenges me at times. And sometimes their self-discipline got the better of them - oh wait - SNAP.
Aren't we all just the same?
But perhaps most importantly they were inspired, enthusiastic and knew what they liked and didn't. And we responded to them. Organically. This was no prescriptive exercise. (They were also fuelled by many a snack from the café . . .)
I was also joined this week by the awesome Charlotte Wright from Bristol company The Dramatory. She helped make it all happen.
This is hopefully the first of many weeks spent with a group that are eager to channel their creative energies in to Drama. In fact - we will be hosting our very first youth theatre week this coming August. If you are keen and interested or know someone that is - keep an eye out on our social media for further updates.