Saturday 21st February saw the first of a trio of workshops to help the selected theatre companies create five very different shows. Prior to meeting at Hull Truck Theatre, representatives of Apus Productions, Bellow Theatre, Open Umbrella, PinUpRound, The Roaring Girls and Silent Uproar had been asked to each come up with a ten-minute exercise that would give a taste of how their company develops productions.
Working in association for the festival, Apus Productions and Open Umbrella chose face painting, encouraging the group to release their creativity. This was great fun and meant that the rest of the day was spent looking like happy hippos, grumpy pugs, and even a sensual otter.
Bellow Theatre asked us to split into teams and write a 20-line play, each person adding the next line as a means of developing a narrative in unison. Needless to say, some very silly tales were shared, one of which included a character named Carruthers in tribute to our Community Engagement Officer.
The Roaring Girls used a word association game, in which pairs of people had to simultaneously say words related to the previous set in the hope that they would choose the same one, e.g. "grass" and "flowers" could be followed by both people saying "garden". This was a valuable lesson in trying to think alike, except for Alex Brook and Alice Beaumont, who might have continued all day if we hadn't moved on. Bless.
PinUpRound kept us in pairs as part of a physical activity, with one person having to remove an item of clothing from the other and put it on, all without breaking contact. Unfortunately for Matt Lund, our Event Stage Manager, I'm twice the size of most normal people and my long arms make jackets difficult to detach. Still, we managed without any rips, trips or hernias.
The final activity was from Silent Uproar, in which we formed an inner ring and an outer ring. Those in the inner ring (myself included) closed their eyes and attempted to walk in a circle without straying. Those in the outer ring had to wordlessly return strays to their path. This then changed to gently touching anyone you bumped into, and finally giving a huge hug to the first solitary person you found. However, what we didn't know was that one by one we'd been quietly told to open our eyes and join the outer circle. The result was Mungo, our Producer, shuffling unloved for a while, which gave me great pleasure.
We also did some serious work, but I'll tell you about that some other time. For now, take a look at our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels for updates on things silly and exciting alike.
Author: Rich Sutherland, Marketing Manager