We're about to begin our two week research and development period for People of the Eye at LimeWharf Annex (thanks Limewharf!) with support from the Arts Council England (thanks Arts Council!) It was such a relief to receive this funding. We would have gone ahead without it, but apart from providing us with endorsement and reassurance that this is a necessary project built on solid artistic principles, it also means we can pay everyone properly. Which is a win. Because as everyone should know (but often doesn't), creating art is hard work that involves complete mental and emotional commitment and it provides benefits to society that are much more far-reaching than the immediate impact on the people that see that individual piece of art. And as such, artists deserve to be paid for their work.
And the lovely artists we are paying for their work are now confirmed as well. Gerry Maguire from Pins and Needles Media will be creating video content including projected subtitles, Oliver Savidge is taking care of lighting design and general technical management, Emma Houston will be creating an evocative soundscape to go alongside Gerry's visuals, and David Monteith-Hodge will be photographing and filming the fundraiser, rehearsals and performances as well as filming audience feedback for documentation purposes, and generally helping me retain my sanity. And of course the lovely Jennifer Bates, who is back in town after ten days in Glasgow where we communicated constantly via every electronic media known to man, will be directing, and the lovely Sophie Stone, who I sadly haven't seen since our scratch in December but who has also been part of Facebook, Twitter and Email communications, will be devising and performing. I'm not doing much, just a bit of producing. And writing the script. And devising with Sophie and Jen. Oh and performing in the show.
We've undertaken to fundraise, in case we didn't get our grant, and also to demonstrate to ourselves and the Arts Council that we can! We're really excited about our fundraiser on Tuesday at Genesis Cinema which has kindly donated the really cool Bar Paragon (thanks Genesis!) for the event. We've got some really gorgeous Deaf and hearing volunteers to help out, some very cool films and performances, a sign language interpreter, and we're going to wear pretty dresses and sparkly fascinators so we hope there's a good turn out to make it all worthwhile! I really wanted to provide a forum for Deaf and hearing to interact, particularly for networking for arts practitioners. Deafinitely Theatre, Solar Bear Theatre Company, BSL Zone/BSLBT and Neath Films have all been really supportive to help us put on this event which has been hugely encouraging.
I'm going to try and blog daily during the rehearsal process (except for Easter Sunday, as Jen has said I'm not allowed to do any work, so I just need to eat lots of chocolate on that day - I gave it up for Lent, so I'm totally okay with that plan), so have a little read if you're interested in the process. We've been speaking to the Guardian about contributing to their Disability series as well.
Erin Siobhan Hutching