Sold Out! The Myth

One piece of admin I have enjoyed during the festival is adding the Sold Out! stamp to the programme schedule. It’s a great measure of the success of your idea, even before a review has been written. But perhaps it can seem too successful, as people regularly tell me they wanted to buy tickets but that everything has now sold out. Not so! There are still some great events that you can come to over the next two weekends. Here are two coming up soon.

Swanning around Erdington

I met Kerrie Reading at the Second International Research Forum on Guided Tours in Plymouth a year ago. There was a surprising mix of backgrounds at the conference: academics, artists, historians and even some tour guides. It was a great experience and if we ever do Still Talking: the conference of Blah Bah Blah I hope it will be as diverse as that conference was. Kerrie was a theatre practitioner with an interest in history and a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham. I told her about the festival. Was she interested in taking part? Yes she was! She told me about her work, which I recall involved children on a treasure trail being able to pick up objects from the ground – something they want to do but are always told is bad! I knew I wanted something like this in Still Walking – the festival is about being as inquisitive and exploratory as children naturally are.

Kerrie’s tour represented everything I wanted the festival to be about – it was in an unusual location (one of only two tours NOT in the city centre), embraced children and families, it looked at the history of the area and presented all that in an unexpected form. Until that point, I hadn’t known about theatre “promenades” – which is what this is.

You can still buy tickets for Swanning around Erdington at 3pm and 4pm on Sun 25th March

Eyes at Rest

Usha M is a movement artist based in Nottingham who I met in the Elan Valley last year. She is part of a dance duo called along with Penny A although perhaps “dance” isn’t the word – it is one element in a mix that involves running, dance (obviously) but also spacial awareness, exploration and something close to parkour or free running. It sounded exhausting (and is) but I knew I wanted it in the festival. On this occasion it wasn’t to be, but Usha offered a gentler option of her own devising: Eyes at Rest. At first it sounded terrifying – blindfolded exploration of Brindleyplace. How would I market it? Just thinking about the risk assessments involved made me shiver. But I realised that this meant it should go in: if something was challenging my idea of a safe walk then I needed to include it in the festival. (The walk IS safe, I assure you – everyone has a seeing partner and the risk assessments are now – finally – all complete). I tried it with Usha a few weeks back and was amazed at how the world feels when you let go and experience trust, gradients, water, heightened background senses and Brindleyplace’s amazing chiming clock, which I’d never bothered to listen to before.

Tickets still remain for Eyes at Rest on Sat 24th March at 11am and 2pm.


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