This year I was a participant on The Next Stage; the artist development strand of Dublin Theatre Festival in association with Theatre Forum. I was awarded a full bursary through Dance Ireland who make provision for one member every year.
The Next Stage takes place over the course of the Festival, an 18 day schedule of workshops, talks, master-classes and all of the performances programmed. It’s intense! I haven’t experienced anything like it before. The Next Stage is a period of time to take a panoramic view of Irish and International Theatre, further complemented by workshops and talks with practitioners and industry professionals that deepened my experience of the work I got to see, the festival itself, and promoted self-reflection on my own practice. The programme is greatly enhanced by the range of Irish based and international participants; from actors, composers, choreographers, writers and directors. This diverse mix creates room for a range of opinions and points of view around a broad range of topics and issues in a curated space by the programme coordinator, Chrissie Poulter. It was during these group talks that I found myself reflecting on my own practice. Future plans that seemed somewhat out of reach, were beginning to take form and shape and I feel invigorated by the experience. It is a huge challenge to switch off from your everyday work and life and throw yourself into this hectic programme, but it creates so much room to experience, to listen, absorb and just ‘be’ without the pressure to produce something at the end. Stepping away from the rigours of my own work and family life, guided me to appreciate different aspects of making and producing. I got a better understanding of what was missing from my practice and what I need more of.
The Next Stage, is as it’s described a ‘challenging programme’ and the only thing to do is immerse yourself fully into everything that is offered.
The full list of the wonderful participants is available here.
Photo credit: Vicky Cote.