I write today with the news Croydon has just been announced as London Borough of Culture 2023. After huge disappointment a couple of years ago when we were not successful this really is an incredible boost for this brilliant borough and we're so bloody delighted to be a tiny part of it.
This borough is booming with culture and, from our little office in the corner of Fairfield Halls, we are contributing what we can (and not to toot our own horn too much, but we're not doing too badly!) Here's a run down of how you can catch us in Croydon over the next few months.....
1. We are delivery partners of C3. The product of Croydon Council's successful bid to Arts Council's Youth Performance Partnership Fund, each week we are delivering theatre workshops in Norwood's Shoestring Theatre alongside the brilliant Well Versed Ink and Bird Gang to name but a few. To be a part of this project is to be at the forefront of putting arts and culture at the core of Croydon, working with Young People and partnering with incredible organisations. To find out more, go to the C3 website.
2. 'Night Shift' Young Company. Working with young people is at the heart of what we do. We started this company as "young people" and now, apparently, we're old so we have to teach them what we know. That isn't really how it works but it's a summary. Anyway. We are so excited to welcome a group of wonderful Young People into our Research and Development period as we begin to explore the themes and topics of our next show 'Night Shift'. For us, it is a really exciting way of welcoming more people into our process and to diversify the people in our room. The group will work with a pretty amazing team of Deaf and hearing facilitators as well as learn BSL skills and the week will end with a sharing to industry professionals.
3. 'Night Shift' Nocturnal R+D. Yup. We're doing it. We thought we couldn't make a show about night shifts without seeing what would happen to our process if we did it ourselves. So the last week in March will see all us, including our very brilliant and far too willing writer Paula, partake in a nocturnal R+D. If you're in Croydon 10pm - 6am w/c 30th March then please do come and say hello, I think we're going to need all the help we can get.
4. Back to the Woods. Ok, so we are branching out into the countryside for a few weeks mid April as we return to Box Hill and the ever growing project 'Delight in the Woods'. This year will see 16 schools and nearly 1000 children pass through the 'Enchanted Tree' and into 'Storyland' as we deliver the outdoor immersive show and engagement programme. That is 5 actors, ~1000 personalised poems, and loads and loads of trees. We're praying to the weather gods already.
5. 'Night Shift' professional R+D. You can't keep us out of Croydon long and we're back in June for the final week of research and development on 'Night Shift' with a company of RIDICULOUSLY GOOD people. This will be a culmination of nearly 6 months of (on and off) R+D which is the most luxurious thing we have ever done in our lives (minus the nocturnal part) Who knows what it will hold but let's hope a play will come out the other side of it!
I can't pretend it isn't overwhelming but with Croydon behind us, anything is possible.