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Tasha’s first Villach blog!

April 20, 2010

Am having real trouble with the website – I have just written a post – which it has now deleted whilst trying to save it to draft!  It didn’t seem to want to upload my images!  Anyway, whinge over and I must now try to remember what I had already written!

Firstly, what a wonderful opportunity to travel and learn with such lovely people. I want to repeat what the 2 Lizzie’s have said about the excellent company – I couldn’t have wished for better companions, and there was already so much learning to be had from hearing about one another’s practice and experience – and that’s before you’ve even added the international guests to the mix!

Hang up your coat before entering the theatre

The English cluster of 4!

I had hoped to add to the blog a while ago but it has been mad busy so have not had as much ‘mulling’ time as I would have liked – hence double frustration when technology fails you! Anyway, here are the fruits albeit small of my initial ‘mullings’:

Assetej Germany – speech by Gabi on first evening!

As Lizzie said, a lot of this was lost in the translation, but I did find it fascinating that they select a ‘canon’ of the best children’s theatre shows (approx 10 shows from all German speaking parts) which they believe show the best practice within their country.  Given the changes to ‘peer reviews’ within England through changes to the arts council system, both Ruth and I find it very worrying that there are frighteningly few new arts council peer assessors from an early years or children’s theatre background.  Would these new assessors recognise good children’s theatre, if they saw it?  Some shows might be more straightforward, but work especially for the younger sector requires an assessor to know at least a little about children’s development and understand the context in which the work is made.  This is something that TYA-UK should be lobbying about – maybe they are – does anyone know?  It is certainly something they should take up.   I know peer assessment happens a lot in the Danish children’s theatre model – but there you have an outstanding amount of children’s theatre companies that do have plenty of experience in this area – and it is largely the practitioners that assess the collective work.  It is probably easier for Denmark to achieve this as they are a smaller country but they also have an enormous festival that every company worth its salt performs at!

The bridge: Lizzie wrote so eloquently on the show that I just want to echo ‘what she said!’ It is true that we will all have taken away different things from the ‘bridge’ partly because our language skills meant that we all understood different parts of the spoken word but also because the content of the show was sufficiently ‘abstract’ or ‘open ended’ to enable this to be the case.  I personally loved the image of Daniella trying to find the 7th colour of the rainbow.  The cast were 6 (inc all the musicians) and of course there are 7 colours to the rainbow, so, one was missing.  Astrid would be interested to know (took me a while to work it out) that it was ‘pink’ that was missing! The design used the colours of the rainbow for the costume which were different variants on the theme of ‘yellow’, or ‘green’ rather than a block of the whole colour.  So, that when the cast stood together each of their colours kind of seeped into each other’s and they made ‘a bridge’ of colour!

The Italian part of the Bridge

Carlotta & Daniella relaxing after the show!

I also loved that they explored parts of their body as a bridge, ie. the elbow is a bridge between my shoulder and my wrist.  We all discussed that it was hard to put an exact age range on the show – although I think Lizzie is right that it is not really suited to the youngest end.  I also loved the rhythm games and the music it gave a real energy to the piece and clearly the teenagers seemed to appreciate it.  All in all it was great to see such a successful and thoughtful end to the collaboration between 2 such different companies.

Well this is where I got to when I lost my 1st draft – so I’ll leave it here and hope to upload some images to provide some light relief to all this text! More thoughts soon – and more ice cream too – if only photos could come to life – I could eat the whole ice becher again!

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