Well, it’s certainly been an exciting and busy time!
“Taking The Stage” in partnership with MK Gallery was our biggest project to date. We had performances, talks, workshops, panels and seminars as well as a brand new play and six scratch performances. It took months to plan and organise. It also took weeks to put together the Arts Council funding bid. Funding is very, very hard and it is not just a simple matter of filling in a form. Nor should it be. This is pubic money and of course we have to show that we can deliver and that the project is of value. We were thrilled to be awarded Arts Council funding. It is not just the money, but also the recognition that we are taken seriously. That means a great deal. Thank you the Arts Council. We certainly feel we delivered on all we promised. We also learned a great deal.
We are now in the process of writing the final evaluation and we are very proud of what was achieved. It’s always good to look carefully and in a considered way a month or so later. We also had funding from the Milton Keynes Community Foundation who over the years has been so supportive to us. The MKCF does so much good work in MK. It funds so many worthwhile projects, not just ours. It has supported us from our very early beginnings and we could not be more grateful. Thank you Milton Keynes Community Foundation.
Then a week after “Taking The Stage” finished we embarked on a new production – “Splendour” by Abi Morgan. We were still keen to produce plays by women so that we can reach 50:50 gender parity in output. The play might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a play we had wanted to put on for some time. It is very challenging and has four really great roles for women. We had a wonderful time rehearsing it.
The cast and creative team were brilliant and we all enjoyed working on such a demanding piece. Kevin Jenkins’s set and James Tearle’s lighting were as fabulous as ever. Laura Day was a great rehearsal Stage Manager and we were thrilled to have Mike Rawlinson and Pippa Rawlinson back to run the shows. We all laughed a lot and had fun as well as working hard. It’s so important that everyone enjoys the process. Rehearsing is hard work, but it should be enjoyable as well and this was. Everyone was keen to work as a team and help and support one another. Sometimes we can feel very exposed when doing such work. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be critiqued, of course we should, and we welcome constructive feedback. We want to learn and develop. I certainly feel as a director I really developed with this piece. I think we all felt we had developed as the roles were very demanding as was everything else, but we all trusted one another that we could deliver. And deliver we did. The show received outstanding feedback. I feel very proud of this production.
The company was then asked to work with the wonderful MK Chorale on their concert “Hidden Italy” on November 16th in Stony Stratford. It was such an uplifting event. It featured women composers from the Baroque period. Women who perhaps most people will not have heard of (including us). It was an honour to take part and so fitting for our company to be involved. Thank you to Will Swann for inviting us. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
So now we are writing evaluation reports and planning our next steps and projects. We are taking time to read, take stock, discuss ideas and think carefully. We are enjoying having time to do this. Down time can be used very productively! We are re- charging our batteries which is vitally important. So we’ll have more news soon about further projects. Do check in though as our wonderful PR person, Nicki Probets, of Probets PR finds all sorts of great articles to post and there have been a few lively debates on our FB page recently! Thanks also to Elliot Willis for the graphic design.