The Verbatim GREEN_SPACE Play Project
‘The Verbatim Green_Space Play Project’ encompassed the making of an outdoor verbatim play from a highly diverse collection of audio-interviews with volunteer gardeners of The Environment City.
Based at three of Peterborough’s burgeoning community gardens, this Creative People & Places Commission saw audiences witness their own words performed within a fictitious framework in the green spaces themselves.
Running at 40 mins, GREEN_SPACE is a family show of light and dark shades, boasting moments such as a woman giving birth to a melon, a water-pistol offensive and choreographed interludes of live pop-flute. It also touches on prevalent themes of the interviews, such as: mental wellbeing, reclamation of identity, belonging and envisioning the future of these spaces.
‘This was the best story that I’ve ever heard’ (Emma, young audience member)
‘Enjoyable, well acted, good music – good mix of fun & serious.’
‘We loved it…Lets see more! Thank you all.’
‘Very enjoyable. Made me laugh but was serious @ bits. Was great. Didn’t know what to expect.’
‘Bravo! Enjoyable, informative, fun.’ – Mark Richards, Producer, METAL Culture.
GREEN_SPACE was devised with Actor/Musician, Sufia Manya and actor, Roger Wentworth; and was edited from the words of volunteers at Westraven Big Local, The Olive Branch Community Garden and The Green Backyard. It was supported by the PCC Leadership Fund. This project would not have been possible without the kindness and advocacy of the late Wull Robertson. Interviews can be heard here: Soundcloud & on the Stream-Lyric Newsflow
Show development project 2016
In Spring 2016 we undertook four weeks of intensive show development as the first company to be resident at The Key Theatre and as part of Tamsin’s Time & Space residency at Metal Culture.
Inspired by the so called ‘Women’s Films’ of 1930/40s Hollywood and the body of academic writing surrounding female transformation on English speaking film, we worked with two male dancers and two actresses to make TRANSFORMER.
‘TRANSFORMER celebrates female transformation on film, through a sensuous combination of live drama and dance. Stream-Lyric presents Norma and Eddie, actors trapped in an unusual mother-daughter relationship that spans decades, memories and iconic moments.’
The writing/research process included screenings of the stimuli films in partnership with FRAME Film Club based at Metal. These were widely attended by diverse audiences whose contributions to the two-way Q&As unveiled a wealth of cultural expectations and individual responses to genre and the roles of women within/without the frame.
This development period culminated in ‘Work In Progress’ showings in the main house at Cambridge Junction as part of Hotbed Festival of New Writing in July. Cambridge TV (‘A Channel for Bright and Curious People’) subsequently broadcast one of the sharings in September with an accompanying interview. This mixing of mediums suited the show’s aesthetic and reached out to a larger audience.
Writer/Director – Tamsin Flower
Associate Producer – Tessa Howell
Filmmaker – Marc Price
Lighting/Sound – David Salter
Research Associates – University of Kent (Network of Researchers: Movies, magazines & Audiences)/ NORMMA
MENTAL Play Tour
David swings on a pendulum of party highs and existential lows. Emma’s social anxiety is peaking as she rarely leaves her Mum with dementia. Petr is a Slovak whose move to the UK sends him into a mire of workplace frustration and depression. Told through fast-paced drama, poetry and film, MENTAL Play presents an unlikely peer group at a tender stage of life.
MENTAL Play is a dark comedy about three twenty-somethings in a pilot mental health support group. Three twenty-somethings; one mental journey. Inspired by the socio-political move towards ‘parity of esteem’, MENTAL Play uses sensory stimuli to present private worlds and wicked social commentary.
The show was originally developed in partnership with OMNIA House, Mind*, Writers Centre Norwich and Norwich Arts Centre. In 2015, MENTAL Play toured to – Camden People’s Theatre, Brighton Emporium, Peterborough Key Black-Box and The Abbey Centre, Westminster, where simultaneous giggles were heard from both young and senior audience alike. As a company, we were happy to welcome markedly diverse audiences of theatre goers, public service workers, mental health patients and many who identified as disabled or marginalised. Particularly heartening were the ‘thank yous’ offered to members of the tech’ and creative team following shows and Q&As, no more so than at The Abbey Centre. Some quotes from MENTAL feedback post-cards and industry representatives:
Mark Richards (Producer – METAL) –
‘A multi-sensory exploration of the challenges of maintaining a positive mental attitude whilst undertaking group therapy! Sensitive but with a critical and sometimes comic eye, the show explores our desire to create a ‘care-full’ community in the 21stcentury, and the various mechanisms employed by individuals to support their personal healing ‘journey.’
‘Excellent and thought-provoking! Really enjoyed!’ – audience member
Niamh De Valera (AD, Blue Elephant Theatre) –
‘A thoughtful look at the complexities of mental health issues and treatment’.
‘An important show about an important subject…thank you!’ – audience member
David Dominic Lindsay
Emma Sophie Ormond
Petr Cal Jones
Marion Alison Mead
David Simon J. White
Emma Rebecca Finch
Petr Cal Jones
Marion Bev’ Bishop
‘Tamsin Flower’s play is deftly directed and utterly convincing, with strong performances by the cast. The text explores the difficult issues around mental health without flinching. The characters conflicting needs are brought vividly to life and uncomfortable truths explored. A challenging and original piece of theatre.’
Martin Figura (Spoken Word Artist)
Martin Figura (Spoken Word Artist)