Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dave's blog about Freedom and other things

Hello  everyone!

Just a quick update from some of my time away from the 'mother ship' that is Paper Zoo.

After finishing a tour of Black Beauty with PEEL Heritage last year, followed by a small part in a film shot in Bradford, then a play with one of our other Paper Zoo colleagues, Martin Knowles, I ended up  at the end of January hooking up with the people at Freedom Studios, a well-established, and well-respected Bradford company. 

Basically, Freedom Studios had cast their net far and wide to find, and then promote new writers. 
This process is carried out and then showcased with an event called 'Street Voices'. I was involved in the fourth one of these.

Many hundreds of writers sent their work in, and many were invited to expand on that initial work, and talk  about the process involved in getting to their end result. 

There were, I'm led to  believe, some extremely well written pieces but ultimately it had to come down to just four writers, (as excellent as they all were, but can you imagine the cost of putting on and performing  everybody's work? It would be colossal) 

The writers chosen were Chris Wilson, Emma Hill, Eamon Rooney, with help from Mark Catley, Paulette Edwards and Rav Sanghera. The plays were directed by Mark Catley, Tom Wright and Shakera Ahad. This was a gang of extremely talented people all working out of Freedom Studios.

We put on four shows, over a two hour period, for three nights, at 'The Hub' in Leeds, 'Kala Sangam' here in Bradford, and 'Barnsley Civic Hall'.

 It was, I have to say, a fantastic experience; different styles of direction, different types of actors all offering their own uniqueness.  In my opinion, a constant learning curve was experienced by all.
All three venues practically sold out (thanks to those of you reading this who came) 

I think the most important aspect of the Freedom Studios project was the finding and the showcasing of new, talented writers, who were thrilled to see their work brought to life. 
One of the shows, 'The Bridge' will be performed once more in Centenary Square in Bradford later in March. 
I'm delighted to be playing my support role as 'Harry' again.  

Companies like Freedom Studios are vital for writers to be able to introduce themselves, as it were, to the public, giving them a platform to show people their talents. It’s a shame that there are not more companies like Freedom Studios around.

Right, I'm back to another script now, 'The Lost Special', an Arthur Conan Doyle story adapted by another Bradford writer, Jonathon Hall, and once again directed by our Martin Knowles. The shows will be performed at the now reopened New Bradford Playhouse from the 5th to the 9th March. All ticket monies will go directly to the upkeep and continued running of the New Bradford Playhouse. I hope to see some of you there.

One last plug, (sorry) but don't forget the Zoo’s, 'Hard Times' the Charles Dickens tale, adapted by Stuart Davies. The show is on at various theatres from May 23rd.

Thanks people, big hugs and thanks for supporting / watching.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

The One Thing Needful

"Now what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of service to them."

So says Charles Dickens in the opening lines of his novel 'Hard Times'. Mr Gradgrind, the school master, professes this to be the sole purpose of education. The eradication of any imagination or sense of wonder in children, to be replaced only with simple fact; even for his own children.

It would appear that this has been adopted by the current Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, as his credo in the crusade to remove any form of creativity from the curriculum.

In 'Hard Times', Gradgrind comes to regret the neglect of his charges' artistic and imaginative sides. Indeed, he is left a changed and humble man when his daughter, Louisa, returns to him after escaping her loveless marriage to Josiah Bounderby.

She has no emotional understanding or heart-warmth to deal with her situation; neither have been cultivated in her. "Let me fall", she says, "Your philosophy will not save me."

The one thing most needful in education in particular, and life in general, is the ability to wonder, to imagine, and to empathise with other human beings.