Some Reflections on the Conference - Adele Evans
One of the first workshops was run by John Hazlett Dickinson, working on Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer's Night Dream.' We chose to work outside and John gave us the choice of explor-ing one of the 'worlds' in the play which could be the court, the mechanicals or the forest. I was in the group exploring the court and we worked on the fire escape at the back of the building, where we used the long metal stairs to explore ideas of status and power.
The other two groups worked in the garden at the Briars. It was a very hot day and the garden is very lush at present. So it was wonderful to see the mechanicals emerge from the skirts of a 70 ft copper beach tree and an equally large and very exotic tulip tree in full blossom. Equally delightful was the sight of the bottom and the fairies rolling around on the grass in front of a bright pink rhododendron bush, laughing and playing and tickling each other. Working outside certainly added to the sensual and sensory elements of the play. It was a real treat.
I was very excited by the sense of flow and ease in Chris Hill's shadow puppet workshop. Chris began by asking us to connect with something we don't like about ourselves, embody the feeling and explore it physically, moving around the room. From that we seemed to move quickly to create our shadow puppet. Then in fours we created a story with our puppets. The story emerged through play and sound. And then the shared performance in the dark. The characters created were weird and wonderful. The session deeply satisfying and refreshing allowing us to play and connect with unconscious creative parts of self.
James Bond is a community artist and sculptor. His was the final active workshop of the weekend. He got us to make a large circle on the lawn from potash contained in two buckets. With James we used axes and carving tools, carved sticks, played with the sticks together faced up to each other and finally used the sticks to make a shrine. Into the shrine we placed the objects we had made on the weekend and any thoughts or feelings that we needed to place also. As part of the ritual we sang a simple African song to honour the mothers, fathers and the ancestors. Like all good rituals this allowed me to reflect on the work I had done. The shared ritual allowed me to deepen to the experience of the weekend with. Thanks to James for a great workshop and experience.