Tag Archives: News

The Other Way Works: Welcoming Tricia to the team

We are very pleased to welcome Tricia Coleman to the team, as Producer of A Moment of Madness.

Tricia Coleman is an arts and event producer with a special interest in interactive performance, digital arts practice and new commissions. She is producer for Manchester International Festival (MIF) a biennial arts festival of new commissions; and previously for Abandon Normal Devices (AND), a programme of new approaches to art-making, new cinema and digital culture. Recent projects include: the international tour of virtual reality exhibition Björk Digital by Björk (MIF); Joshua Sofaer’s Workshops in People’s Homes, featuring performative workshops in domestic spaces (AND); and Missing, a game-based interactive theatre experience for young people (with youth charity 42nd Street).

Fierce Festival: It is the end, it is the beginning.

It has come to the end of my time at Fierce. For the past five weeks, I have been interning at the festival in their small windowless office in Digbeth. Despite the lack of sunshine, Fierce has been a great place to work, especially when everyone is in the office it can be a real laugh.

I was given a range of tasks to carry out including editing the website and taking over the social media. Despite recently graduating with a first-class degree from Warwick University, working at Fierce made me realise I had few office skills. I can put on a decent play or write you 10,000 words on Checkov no problem. But show me an excel sheet, and I have nothing. This internship helped me quickly learn how to do those sorts of things which I’m very grateful for, I will not be quite so green in going into the world of work. I was allowed to work things out on my own but if I ever needed help the team was there to lend a hand. James mentioned this in his blog, and I think it’s worth reiterating, social media is actually hard to manage and something I hadn’t necessarily considered. It was beneficial in showing me how important and how much time you have to put into it if you are an arts organisation or artist. As an aspiring performance artist working at Fierce has helped me in understanding the production side of things, things that I would personally like to ignore but I can’t. Most importantly it has shown me that I can do it, it has given me the experience which will greatly benefit me in my next steps.

During the internship, I was fortunate to help out and attend two events that were co-presented by Fierce. The first was Club Fierce: Dance Amnesty. In the lead up to the event, I was able to interview some of the artists and help with its publicity. On the day, the previous interns (Ellen and James) and I assisted in the set-up of the venue, and we blew up and made two substantial balloon banners which looked great. The party was a really great night, alongside some front of house duties, I had my fortune read by Ginny Lemon which was very funny, watched some great performances and danced a lot.

Secondly, Fierce co-presented two shows by Ivo Dimchev with the BE Festival. Again, I helped out in promoting the event on social media and put the events up on the website. I was able to go to the second of the shows; P-Project. It was a great show, Ivo had me in stitches from beginning to end. Also, I got £50 for getting on stage and making a bed so I couldn’t ask for more.

I have attended the two previous Fierce festivals and I’m a big fan, I’ve appreciated this opportunity to see how art organisations like Fierce work. It has clarified that I want to pursue a career in the arts, knowing the production side of things is great but really, I want to be the one creating and Fierce has given me drive to go and do it. Thanks to the Fierce Team, for the advice, the experience and an all round good time. See you at the next festival.

Maud

Women and Theatre: Women of Longbridge Research blog 2

 

Emma Fall has been the Shadow Artist for our community musical theatre performance Women of Longbridge, which premiere this Saturday (23 June) in our latest blog she talks about W&T’s research, rehearsals and what she’s learnt about Longbridge in the process. 

I am so pleased to be part of another interesting project with the wonderful Women & Theatre. I love community events and performances; it doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from or your ability; being part of the project is what matters. For me, it’s helping the interviewees, cast and audience to come together and share one ‘culture’ and experience.

It has been so interesting to speak to the women of Longbridge. There have been so many varied stories about the Factory, working at the factory, life in the town both past and present.

It has been great to hear about, as well as engage in, existing groups that are still keeping the community alive. One such group was the Austin tea dance where locals gather to socialise and dance as well as raise money for charities. The other team members had a great time dancing, I was encouraged to, however, I didn’t have ‘me dancing shoes’.

I’ve really enjoyed supporting the choir and drama workshops at the Factory youth club, and even though I was informed by a resident that there was nothing for the kids to do, I saw that the youth club was thriving most evenings. The younger people that got involved with singing and drama were very talented and confident individuals with a keen interest to share their opinions and perspective on the area.

Truthfully, before I started the project I didn’t know much about Longbridge. Even though I’d heard news reports covering the 2005 closure, I wasn’t fully aware of the impact it had on the local community; how people lost their homes, how social groups disintegrated and how people became ill or died, ultimately, as a result of the factory closing down.

These stories have been extremely emotive and this is tangible in the script writing and the songs. Looking at Longbridge now, as an outsider, it seems like any other freshly built town with the shops as the central hub. However, as you walk around the grounds of the shopping centre there are little gems or reminders of the history of the factory and the effect it had on the community. It’s great to know that this project is not only embracing the past but that it’s bringing people together to look at the positives and to maintain strong positive relationships.

Rehearsals so far have been great, we have a very talented cast who have not only shared their stories, but have quickly used their creative skills to express the many voices we have listened to.

I’m looking forward to the big day, as it will be a celebration of relationships, community and history that’s deep rooted and alive in the Women of Longbridge. It needs to be shared!

Women and Theatre: Call Out For Chorus Members

Female singers needed for our new musical theatre production Women of Longbridge.

We are after female singers to join us in learning a new community song, which will be part of a new outdoor musical theatre performance in Longbridge on Saturday 23 June.

You will need to attend the rehearsal on Thursday 21 June and ideally the dress rehearsal on Friday 22 June (but not essential). Attendance at all 3 performances would be wonderful, but if you can make just one, we can still include you, so do come along.

Call Women & Theatre on 0121 449 7117 for more information. We look forward to seeing you!

Rehearsal: Thursday 21 June from 730-9pm at Longbridge Methodist Church 1654-1658 Bristol Rd S, Rednal, Birmingham B45 9TY

Dress rehearsal: Friday 22 June from 6-9pm at Bournville College, Longbridge

Performances: Saturday 23 June at 11am, 3pm & 6pm. Longbridge Town Centre

Women and Theatre: Women of Longbridge Research Blog

Katie Haviland has been volunteering with us on our community musical theatre show Women of Longbridge, here she talks about W&T research process and what she’s learnt so far. 

Hello! I’m Katie and I’m the volunteer for Women of Longbridge.

The first time I met Rachel (project manager) and Jo (co-writer and co-director), they told me Women & Theatre love to meet people and have a chat.  From what I’ve been involved with so far, they could not have been more right! The research process for Women of Longbridge has involved countless conversations (and what feels like a hundred cups of tea) as we have visited several locations in and around Longbridge to talk to some incredible women.

On day one of our research week, I was excited to meet the team and hear more about the project. Almost immediately, I knew this was going be something completely unique to anything I’d done before.  It was so refreshing to enter a creative process with such a relatively blank canvas, as the material for the performance would come from these conversations. There was no agenda or plan, other than to listen to the women of Longbridge and hear their stories. So, after a brief meeting, we packed up lots of paper, pens, voice recorders and a washing line (there was logic behind this), and headed to Frankley Library for our first session.

Usually, the idea of going up to a stranger and saying ‘Hello, tell me all about your life please’ would terrify me, but as soon as we began chatting to the lovely women of Frankley, all those nerves went away.  The power of conversation really did shine through, and around three hours later we already had some great stories! One particularly sticks out in my memory: Val told me the story of her, at the age of fourteen, buying a train ticket to Liverpool and stealing a used milk bottle from outside Paul McCartney’s house. She managed to make it all the way home with this precious bottle, and treasured it in her bedroom for weeks. Unfortunately, her mum found the bottle, washed it and put it out for the milkman to collect! Val never told her mother this story, as she was still nervous to tell her that she had skipped school, despite this being fifty years later!

As the week of research continued, we delved into the heart of Longbridge to speak to women in the Extra Care retirement village, attend a tea dance at the Austin Social Club and pay a visit to Meadow Rose Care Home. It was such a heart-warming process to see the women we spoke to gradually opening up about their lives. So often, women apologised for ‘being boring’ or ‘going off topic’ when they had just shared a significant memory from their past or an exciting hope for the future.  We weren’t after showbiz drama or celebrity stories! Instead, we were meeting real women with just as important and interesting stories to tell, and it was a privilege to be able to hear just a handful of the stories the women of Longbridge have to offer. Thank you to all the women and organisations for sharing your stories, time, tea and biscuits with us!

Unsurprisingly, many of these conversations were centred around the history and eventual closure of the MG Rover plant.  To be completely honest, I knew nothing about the factory before I began working on this project, but am so glad I do now. The impact the closure had on so many lives was overwhelming to learn about, and the regenerated town is still extremely mindful of its history.  The location of the performance itself is taking place where the factory once stood. Below the performance space are the factory’s tunnels, used to ensure manufacturing could continue during the war. References to the town’s history are scattered all over the shiny new shopping development (which includes the biggest M&S I have ever seen…). It is wonderful to see how Longbridge has continued to grow and expand despite the turbulent period of the factory’s closure, but continues to remember its legacy.

These weeks of research for Women of Longbridge have been unique and inspiring. The way the team at Women & Theatre are able to take real-life stories and transform them in to a performance is, quite frankly, awesome, and it has been fascinating to be a part of this process. I’m never quite sure what’s going to happen next when I go to the Women & Theatre office, and I absolutely love it! It’s been amazing to work with such enthusiastic, creative and generally lovely people and I can’t wait for rehearsals to start.

I hope to see you at Women of Longbridge on 23rd June! Performance times are 11am, 3pm and 6pm outside The Cambridge Pub in Longbridge. And it is FREE, so no excuses!  

For more information on Women of Longbridge click here 

Women and Theatre: Interning with Women & Theatre

Upon arriving on the doorstep of a cottage-styled building in January, I wondered what sort of encounters I would have in this seemingly quaint office. I had never worked anywhere other than my hometown, Hong Kong, and was only armed with the knowledge of what was on Women & Theatre’s website. Little did I know that I landed a 10 day internship in a powerhouse of community theatre.

I found this internship through my school’s, the University of Birmingham, Careers’ Network. I applied because I wanted to learn about the inner workings of an arts company in this country, being a Drama and English student. My duties at Women & Theatre were mainly administrative and research focused. I was able to research areas of Birmingham that the company has yet to work in, as well as possible grants the company could apply to for funding.

The two most exciting duties I had were sitting in on Word Lounge meetings and researching the Women of Longbridge  project. Being a fly on the wall and understanding how the company dealt with the logistics of creating an acting scheme for young people was incredibly refreshing and informative. I was impressed at how well the team would solve problems and present their ideas to partner organisations. This was an aspect of the industry that I had never seen before. For WoL, I was able to travel to different areas in Birmingham with the team and meet people who worked, lived or regularly met in the area to collect stories for the final product. It was an exciting experience as I had never been to these places and we would never know what to expect. Fortunately, we had mostly pleasant surprises, such as a story about the Peaky Blinders and a tea dance gathering where many elderly couples gathered, sure to be full of tales about the area.

My time at Women & Theatre was extremely valuable as a newcomer to the arts industry. It not only fulfilled my goals of understanding the nuts and bolts of a theatre company but taught me the values required to run one — an immense amount of resilience, genuine passion for projects and an open mind to work with a colourful variety of people.

 

Rachel Yu

April 2018

Fierce Festival: The Live Art of Sociology

We’re delighted at the publication of a new book by Fierce trustee Cath Lambert that draws heavily on Fierce’s histories and methodologies.

The Live Art of Sociology attends to the importance of ‘the live’ in contemporary social and political life. Taking existing work in live sociology as a starting point, this book considers some of its aspirations through unique empirical investigations. Queer and feminist theory and methods are also employed in exploring the challenges of researching live experiences and temporalities. With case study examples ranging from the work of live body artists to experiments in curating sociological research, Lambert successfully demonstrates the diverse ways in which art can provide the aesthetic and affective conditions for social and political disruption.

The book reflects on Fierce’s work – there’s something of its history in here, and discussion of Fierce projects by artists including Graeme Miller, Monica Ross, Mette Edvardsen, Ron Athey, and many others.

Cath Lambert is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK.

Buy it here.

The Other Way Works: The Other Way Works is seeking a freelance Producer

The Other Way Works is seeking a Freelance Producer to join our team to deliver the development and 2019 tour of ‘A Moment of Madness’ – a brand new immersive theatre meets real-world-gaming experience from The Other Way Works in collaboration with game designer John Sear.

This is a key management role, working alongside the Artistic Director Katie Day to ensure that the project is delivered in a high-quality and timely manner.

For further information and application process, please download the full Job Pack PDF here.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Saturday 10th March at 5pm.