Inside the Platform Young Company: Back in the Position of Play

4 Apr 2020

Isabel Dickens is an artist currently working with the Platform Young Company, our performance group for anyone aged 16 - 25 years. As part of her work with the group Issy will be posting regular updates of what goes on during meetings, rehearsals and workshops:

Today at Platform Young Company we had our first ever zoom based ‘rehearsal’ meeting to talk about how everyone is doing during the ‘COVID-19 lockdown’ and how we can still meet and engage in creative ways online. I was nervous before this meeting wondering exactly how it might work. You can feel like it’s really important to be in the same room as everyone else for theatre to work but over the last week I’ve realised that it’s also just important that it is live, and you don’t have to be in the same room for it to feel spontaneous and exciting.

First we checked in with everyone who had made it to the meeting, PYC members were already playing around with different backgrounds on their screens and it was fun to see everyone. Then we played some games; we played a version ‘Buzzy Bees’ where we all brought a different object to the screen according to the letter given, then ‘Who is the leader?’ where everyone is following one person’s movement and somebody else has to guess who is moving. Playing simple games like this makes it feel like we can create and make things even though we are all separated and in different stages of social distancing right now.

The task for the meeting next week is to work on a one minute performance to the camera on your own during the week and then to meet in groups and merge them into a group performance to share. At this moment where the structure of a lot of people’s lives feels very topsy turvy there is something reassuring about being told to do something absurd and creative and for it to be the constructive thing to do. I feel like it will help to let off steam as much as to contribute to the creative process of the group.

After this meeting I felt a lot more adjusted to the idea using technology to MAKE theatre and performance over the next few weeks. I had already been to the Surge Theatre cabaret online this week (which is on weekly at 9pm on Wednesdays) where they had four acts over the course of an hour and had curated it so there was a compère, audience, some audience participation, and OF COURSE live chat, which is essential to any online experience. This was fun. It included some audience participation, heckling, different types of theatre and effects used. Sometimes I felt like I was in a real theatre, other times like I was watching TV in the seventies and at other points I felt as if I was in someone’s live youtube fantasy.

The next stage from enjoying live performance online is being part of a process where we curate or try to create and share work through the medium of a conference call. I’m hoping that working with the medium of the webcam, phones and being able to use the backdrop of our own homes, or objects that are thereabouts will bring a new type of inspiration to our process and we’ll find some weird and unpredictable outcomes! It’s funny because that medium is always there but meeting face to face is so enjoyable it can be side-lined in theatre groups. It’s really good to be able to meet with PYC online at this time and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can make over the next week.

For more information about the Platform Young Company including information on how to join the group send an email to info@platform-online.co.uk
Platform Young Company


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