Utrecht & Prague
I spent the Autumn, Winter & Spring of 2014-15 the Netherlands, at the University of Utrecht, as a student on their Masters Theatre Studies course, immersed in theory of contemporary performance / dance and exposed to lots of current practice.
We saw a vast diversity of performance and dance: we discussed, read, wrote and explored the ideas, background and intentions around everything we saw and read. Fabulous. Living for the first time in a city outside of the UK, was terrific, too, an opportunity for reflection on attitudes to living, cultural contexts and how we view the world.
A transformative experience.
Drift, the site of Utrecht University city centre library.
March 2015 –
I took part in an artists’ residency at Utrecht’s Rood Noot (‘Red Nut’) http://roodnoot.nl/ arts centre & theatre space. It is an old, protected site, a group of farm buildings around a thatched-roof farmhouse, rapidly becoming isolated in a landscape of modern reconstruction, to the West of the city. Eight of us spent 3 days in an oasis of peace, simplicity, cats, lambs and hens, doing whatever we needed to do, to carry our creative practice forward. The time was loosely structured, there was no demand to produce anything at all, but everyone did. I developed and performed my first personal spoken word piece, which really helped me to think about the effects of swallowing anger…..
Such a very lovely place & people.
- The Rood Noot buildings are to the left, among all the construction work.
- The kitchen: good food is at the hub of everything, at Rood Noot.
Internship, June 2015
I spent two weeks as production assistant for ‘Flood,’ a promenade, site-sensitive contemporary dance piece, performed on bridges, river banks and island, in the heart of Prague. The work was the product of a group of 3 creatives, ‘MAP,’ – Movement, Architecture, Performance, part of the New Zealand creative team presenting at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.
Dancers on the Charles Bridge, Prague
Photo: Viktor Tuček
I wanted to work with them as I had heard their designer, Performance Architect Dorita Hannah, speak to Scenography students, at the HKU art school in Utrecht. I loved their approach and the visuals they employed, to ‘excavate the stories’ of a place, releasing it’s voice by drawing upon geology, archaeology, climate, cultural context, myth and fable.
I was not disappointed.
Have a look here:
Dancers on Střelecký Island, Prague
Photo: Viktor Tuček
I hope to work with them again – more of this later, I hope!