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Open Studio Session 1: Looking for inspiration…

31 Oct 2020

Platform is supporting six stand-alone workshops for anyone aged 16 - 25 years with an interest in performance. Each workshop will have a different focus. Although the programme is responding to feedback from members of the existing Platform Young Company members they are open to everyone aged 16 - 25 with an interest in performance - no experience necessary - simply send us an email to performance@platform-online.co.uk for more information. Workshops are curated by Isabel Dickens - here she explains what happened during the first workshop…

For the First Session of the Open Studio, we explored inspirations and what the goals for the process were. We started off by sharing the concept of the project in which we want the group to feel empowered to create and develop their own ideas with the possibility of sharing later in the term. At first, we talked about inspirations and ideas the participants had for what they wanted to create. This included looking at comedy and having direct engagement with the audience, making music, and finding ways of sharing that, writing plays, and pieces of text.

A common issue people raised was the feeling they had to fit into a particular genre of work, either traditional theatre or contemporary and conceptual performance. People found themselves feeling torn between different types of training they had experienced through college and through Platform Young Company, feeling that the Scottish arts scene felt segmented between the two and it was hard to situate themselves in that landscape. There can also be a big space for twenty-somethings who might not have studied in a formal environment such as the conservatoire who feel outside of the arts and not quite sure how to navigate it as a world of employment.

Another issue we discussed was the feeling of beginning things and not feeling confident or sure about how to develop it so flitting from one thing to the next and not being quite confident to build on what we have already made. Sometimes it can feel hard to know how to structure the creative process and that is one of the goals of this set of workshops, to put a name to the different stages of making and show how things can evolve from what feels like a small starting point.

Megan Reid was the guest artist and she shared her experience as a graduate of theatre studies, moving to the Netherlands to study and through an internship becoming a permanent member of the team at Tweetakt Festival in Utrecht. Megan could also share her experience of working within a different performance scene which resonated with Jennifer who has also studied dance in the Netherlands. It was also good to hear how her journey contained many different accidents and parts, where she was working part-time in different jobs as it’s easy to feel like working in the creative industries, is glamorous without seeing all the different difficulties and random elements of someone’s journey into working in the arts. The reality is that working in the arts without a parental cushion can be an intimidating prospects and it is not an equal playing field. However simple tools and tips and exposure to different arts practices can help you to guide and shape your own journey.

Megan then shared insights from her master’s research into different forms of working in performance which included outdoor work designed to disrupt spaces, styles of work such as ‘intermedial spaces’ such as the installation of Graham Miller ‘On Air’ in which he transmitted stories and interviews with people via radio. We also talked about the possibilities of digital performance which has become so relevant in the COVID-19 performance landscape. This helped to situate the work that already is happening in PYC and give a name to the kinds of options there are for how to create and share work.

We then spent a little bit of time discussing the ideas that people might have for what they want to create in the process and gave the task of bringing back 60 seconds of material to explore in the next session. We are working with Ruxy Cantir for our next workshop for some skill-sharing and some workshopping of ideas!

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