We conducted a highly successful four week Research and Development residency at The Quaker Meeting House, Darlington and The Phoenix Theatre, Bordon.
In line with our original aims, we achieved:
Creative community workshops
During the research period we ran a number of workshops, talks, and open space events. This included work in Darlington at The Indoor Market, Skerne Park, Hippodrome Community Theatre Workshop , LGBTQ Society , Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Beccy Owen’s ‘Pop Up Choir’ and in Bordon at The Forest Centre, local councillors, The Kingsley Centre, Whitehall Village Hall, and The Bordon Kebab Van.
Valuable time in the rehearsal room
We spent two weeks in the rehearsal room with 6 professional performers and four talented emerging local artists on a work experience placement. This opportunity to work on text from Stacey Sampson, Scott Young, Steve Byron, Rachael Walsh, and Anders Lustgarten allowed us to really interrogate what the play could be about and to discuss how we create an atmosphere and experience around the text, while staying true to a clear narrative.
Challenging form and content
We were interested in how we move beyond using the kebab van as a gimmick with, for example, six monologues that don’t connect. We have identified how we interlink text, stories, and transitions, that means the plays stays true to the stylisic choices ODDMANOUT are known for.
Stories from different communities
Having identified a partnership between Darlington and Bordon it is evident in the next that we need these different voices to identify our work as a love song to the nation, we need to expand this for the full show.
Scratch performances and Forum Event in Darlington and Bordon
We held two very successful sharings with over 140 people in the audience. Both events included theatre, music, singing in a choir, a real kebab van, golf mark 3, kebabs, drinks, turkish tea, and pastries.
The audience feedback:
‘Brilliant night, very representative of the company, very representative of the people’
‘Informative, thoughtful, and inspirational. Just wanted to be part of it!’
‘Great theatre, stacks of interesting conversation. Good to know you can take this ANYWHERE’
‘Ambitious, honest, without ego, curious!’
‘Absolutely brilliant night. Thank you so much for making something wonderful happen’
We also hosted two forum events as part of the scratch performances, inviting our audiences to discuss the theatre’s responsibility to their community. They recorded their thoughts on their paper table cloths about what they wanted/expected from the venues and companies in their community. Each table then offered up their main points over turkish tea and home made Baklava or, in Bordon’s case, kebabs.
We believe this project identifies a step change for us, in terms of content, partnerships, understanding of who we are, and belief in our capacity to offer high quality engagement opportunities and innovative theatre experiences.
We now have the groundwork done to begin to work on producing ‘Chilli Sauce’. As we become more comfortable in our ability and capacity we are looking towards the longer term game, producing the work for Spring 2019. We need to identify venues that would be compatible with our current structure and begin to discuss how we could work together, find writers in the region, and develop the community strand which can be accessed at each venue. We would also like to invite four more writers to join our Chilli Sauce collective, we are interested in both innovative established playwrights and nurturing new talent.
We’re excited about Chilli Sauce and can’t wait to make it!