Work Play is my new show, about to go into production ready for touring in 2017/18. Research and development for this show has been about engagement, with a series of workshops for workplaces key to the process. In this update I’ll tell you a bit about how that has worked and what the outcomes have been.
Since being invited to talk about Work Play at a Greenhouse Pitch Up event, there have been a lot of exciting developments with this project. The opportunity to talk directly about Work Play to venues and industry professionals at Pitch Up enabled me to forge new national partnerships. As a result I have been able to develop the project from an initial idea to a tourable show. As part of the R&D for this project I worked with partners Harlow Playhouse, The Garage, Norwich, and Greenhouse to run a series of workshops with businesses local to the venues.
These workshops have been designed to introduce creative techniques for team building, generating ideas and project development. They are practical, fun and interactive. Drawing on my experience as a workshop facilitator, mentor and artist, I have created the workshops to bring a fresh perspective to workplaces. They are aimed at energising employees approach to work through creative practices. I have facilitated these workshops at a range of workplaces. These include a high profile media company, charities and a large-scale retailer. These workshops have also been invaluable in the R&D process. They have given me insights into workplaces I would never have been able access otherwise. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with people nationally in very different organisations. This has meant that I have been able to consider work and working lives with a broad range of people. It has enriched my understanding of work and workplaces, which has fed into the development of the show. There has been the added benefit of increasing engagement with local communities for the partner venues.
This week I will start rehearsals for the show, before it debuts in November 2016 at Ovalhouse. Part of the rehearsal process will be drawing on material and insights I have gathered from the workshops. Some of the things that became clear particularly were about the relevance and complexities of workplace dynamics. I will certainly be integrating this into the show. Even the design and physical elements of the show will be influenced by this R&D process. The workshops gave me an insight into the significance and politics of spacial relationships at work, and ideas about how this can translate into the performance. The workshops also enabled me to get a deeper sense of how people relate to their work, and how that becomes personally vital in terms of self-perception and identity.
I am excited to put all these findings into practice, and hugely grateful for the support of Greenhouse and the partner venues in making this happen. Work Play is a funny, searching and interactive show, and the chance to run these workshops will bring an extra dimension of direct experience and perspective. This will help the themes of the show have a focused relevance, and speak to a wider audience. For me it has illustrated the benefits of direct engagement as part of my practice and in terms of forging relationships with partners and communities.
Work Play will open at Ovalhouse on the 10th November 2016, before going onto Harlow Playhouse in December. It is available for touring throughout 2017/18 and can be found on the House tourfinder website. Please do get in touch for further details.