Thirteen Steps to the Attic…
Just over two weeks ago I set off for a fourteen day residency at Shawbrook, Longford. Set in the Irish midlands, increasingly in recent years, Shawbrook has provided subsidised residencies as part of their annual programme. Performance makers and choreographers at different stages of their careers and practice can apply. Shawbrook provide on-site artists’ accommodation and full access to their studios. In addition to this there is a sprawling forest of oak, ash, beech and larch trees on your doorstep. There are even cabins in the woods if you want to get closer to nature! most of all, Shawbrook supports an immersive, focused yet relaxed working environment. There is little to distract the creative process, except maybe the birds, (rooks to be precise), punctually at 5pm every evening.
Rowan and I chose to work in the original, small studio. Not just your average studio space…. at the push of a button, the room transforms into a 48-seater black box theatre. Magically, a tiered seating rig suspended from the ceiling is lowered to the floor, an ingenious feat of engineering.
We worked together intensely and intuitively, allowing the work to unfold organically within the space. On the thirteenth day, we presented a half hour work-in-progress to an invited audience. Thanks to everyone who came, on a cold dark Monday night in November.
Day 14 the theatre transformed back into the studio and we left, knowing the seeds of the work had been firmly planted and excited for Phase 2. Planned for February 2018 we meet again in Dublin with the aim to complete the work ahead of the performance date in Cork, March 2018. Phase 3.