Work Lately | January

Thursday 18 January 2018

Hey everyone, and happy just another grey and wet January Thursday...

Toward the end of last year I wrote this post all about not promoting the work I do enough so in a bid to change that, and to give myself some sort of blog structure, I've decided to write relatively regular updates here that give a brief insight into the projects I'm currently working on.

Just in case you're new to this blog than as a brief overview, I work full time as a creative producer... which basically means I make arty things (workshops, theatre shows, gigs, festivals etc.) happen, and most of the arty things I make happen to involve encouraging people who might not normally be interested in that type of thing to get involved. I am also the annoying type of person that loves their job, no two days are the same, and the projects I work on mean I'm always trying, doing and learning something new. So now everybody is caught up, here are the projects I'm currently working on...

D A R W E N  L I B R A R Y  T H E A T R E

I've been working with Darwen Library Theatre for 3 and a half years now. My main job with the theatre is to manage the group of community promoters. This is a group of local people who choose which professional touring shows they want to see come to their theatre. They are then in charge of promoting the show in their area, and organising creative ways of getting other people interested in what we put on. We've dressed up in 1940's gears, put a jazz band on in the market, hosted hula hoop afternoons in the woods, and even taken a robot shopping. The group are really enthusiastic and choose some really great theatre shows - the same high standard stuff you would normally see in Liverpool and Manchester and our audiences grow every season. 

The next stage of this project is to work with the library which is situated directly above the theatre and to programme events across the whole building making it more of one central cultural hub rather than two separate buildings. We recently hosted a day of storytelling, where people got to see performances in spaces that aren't normally used for that, and a sneak peek backstage. I've also recently started a Saturday Morning Club, which is a once a month event for 6-10-year-olds to try something new and creative each time. It's based on the club I went to when I was little, which is where I first got into drama!

B U R N L E Y  M E C H A N I C S

The project I run in Burnley is similar to that in Darwen but on a much smaller scale. Again I run a group of volunteers who choose which shows we put on, but this group are more interested in music and events that are relevant to the area. We also don't programme the main theatre, but instead, we use the 'Front Room' which is a bistro during the day, and a 50 seat studio space on a night - perfect for the Jazz and Gin club we've set up! I'm also working with a group of local sixth formers who are creating a piece around the idea that 'home isn't so bad after all' and helping to set up front of house volunteers for events that take place across the building.

S T O R Y T E L L I N G  C O M I S S I O N S

Alongside the community promoters groups and the work that normally comes from, we've also recently commissioned two theatre companies to create new pieces of storytelling theatre. In Darwen, they are exploring local characters and history, and in Burnley, they are creating a piece of theatre for young adults with learning difficulties. I'm really enjoying helping the companies out, organising their rehearsal space, and passing on some of the knowledge I've picked up over the past couple of years. I'd definitely like to work with more creatives to help their projects get off the ground, either as a producer, or a consultant. It's interesting to take what I've learnt from one role and apply it to other areas of my work.

I T E R N A T I O N A L  W O M E N S  D A Y

Last weekend I went away with the local Young People Services and a group of 8-12-year-olds, to come up with a short piece of drama to be filmed and shown in the council chambers on International Women's Day. I was really nervous taking on this project, as it is an age group I haven't worked with a lot, and the last time I went on a residential I found it really hard going. BUT I had a fantastic weekend! The drama piece we made was all around female superheroes and role models, and I was so proud of the girls embracing the subject matter and coming up with such fantastic ideas. I'm excited to see the final film and I would definitely like to do more work with that age group... they are far less terrifying than older teenagers! Plus I think it is SO important to empower young women as soon as possible.

And that's it at the moment! In case you were wondering, some of these projects are ones I run through my full-time job and others are things I do freelance - I'm always open to talking about new projects and ideas, you can find out a bit more about what I do here, or for other blog posts about my work click here.

I'd also love to know a bit more about the projects you're currently working on, either in your day job or as a freelancer in the comments below, and if you have any questions or subjects you'd like me to cover in future posts let me know too! x

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