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ENCOUNTERS UNKNOWN
New Work for these Strange Times

We have to admit it - social distancing isn't our thing. As anyone who has been to a Volcano show will attest, we are all about the live experience – real bodies in real space in real time, and the world of possibilities that creates.

Still, these are not usual times, and it seems to us that the least such a company can do to counter the threat of the atomization of our collective experience is to join the conversation about other ways we can stay connected, creative and responsive to one another.

So we are busy trying out new ways we can work and play together while we can’t be together. Hopefully these won’t just be stop-gaps until we can all get back in the room but will be new challenges to make us think differently about what we do when that happy moment arrives. We won’t say ‘see you on the other side’, because we don’t intend to go away.

This is what we're doing...
 
THE MIGHTY NEW...

... is our regular group of young people aged 9-14, who meet every week to create brand new theatre and dance of their own making. We were lucky enough to be able to get going for the season before total shutdown, so we have a fantastic new group fizzing with energy and ideas.

Whilst children thankfully seem to be resilient towards the virus itself, they are clearly very alert to the sudden changes in our lives and in the atmosphere, and it seems to us that there is an opportunity to unleash their curiosity, imagination and honesty in such a way that can we can all learn from it.

For our first session the situation itself became the subject. We moved the class outdoors and the children responded to a five-part social distancing challenge which we’ve called ‘You Can See Us’.

Post-lockdown, we have built a special website where the group will set tasks, share ideas, try out their moves and give each other comments and feedback. This is not visible to the general public, as it aims to replicate the space of the rehearsal room where all ideas can be tested and explored without fear. However, we’ll be sharing the work made the young people when they’ve had a chance to figure out for themselves what works and what they want to put out there…
 
NOTES FROM THE INTERIOR

Whilst we’re unable to be in the rehearsal room making a new show, we’ve enlisted the help of some brilliant actors to keep ideas, improvisation and inspiration pinging around the virtual studio, in a format designed for theatre and drama students (and anyone else who wants to) to join in with encounters as yet unknown!

Director Paul Davies will set a weekly challenge based on a passage of text or other stimulus, experienced performers including Mairi Phillips, Neal McWilliams, Christopher Elson and Rebecca Smith Williams will self-tape a short (up to 2-minute) response to the challenge, and then the floor is open. Play just to challenge yourself, or send us your responses to mail@volcanotheatre.co.uk . Be silly, be serious, be spontaneous, be fearless, be imaginative – be there! Challenge released Mondays on Volcano’s website and social media channels. The first challenge features Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs!

Task One: When the Emperor pays a visit, remember the absurd. 


Task set by Volcano's Artistic Director, Paul Davies.
"I asked the actors to look at Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs. It is a syllabus text for many students. I imagine that students are required to analyse passages with regard to lighting, direction, set and performance. I asked the actors to film themselves.  To be inspired for just two minutes, perhaps less.

The Chairs is a duet. It might as well be a monologue.

We are alone in the room even when we are two. We must deal with ourselves - our struggles, dreams and fears."
For families in isolation or lockdown we are issuing a series of creative challenges that everyone can have a go at. First up, kids v grown-ups in the GREAT COSTUME DESIGN CHALLENGE! Our show Hispaniola! is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s much-loved novel Treasure Island. Choose your favourite character – will it be marooned Ben Gunn, Blind Pew, or even the notorious Long John Silver himself? - and draw (or make) a brilliant stage costume for that character. Our money is on the kids – prove us wrong, parents!
Our Monday evening PILATES group, led by Choreographer Catherine Bennett, continues without skipping a beat, for the time being through the suddenly indispensable medium of Zoom. It’s a small thing, but it seems to us that when everything is thrown up in the air, the importance of everyday collective endeavour and the bonds it creates should be something we strive to hold on to.
YOU, ME & COLD WAR STEVE
The International Exhibition of the People

A new digital exhibition for the times we are living through, by the Gillray of the Twitter age. Featuring an opportunity to take part in a cracking competition! Launches 1st April!
The exhibition in our gallery space, I Have a Heart as Big as the World But… by Swansea College of Art Alumnus group Axe Head to Everything, had only just opened when it had to shut again. Luckily the artists took a few moments to record some thoughts and reflections from inside the space, which we will be sharing with you shortly via social media.
 
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