On The Border: Working Cross Discipline for Rural Touring

by Felicity Goodman

To dance is to communicate and to speak is to move.

We are storytelling animals. Inside a story we can discover the world, uncover a truth, dissolve a mystery and find ourselves. The story may be set in a place we have not visited but if we strip the narrative back to its basic component of feelings, human interaction or overcoming a huge obstacle we are able to transcend borders and find common ground.

This is what happens when we worked together for On The Border. We arrived in the rehearsal room with big distances between us. Different disciplines, different experiences, different languages. There was a border in the room between dance and spoken word. We sought refuge in the research we uncovered on our trip to Northern Ireland. We shared the stories that slipped across the table over sandwiches and cups of tea. We were transparent in what we didn’t know, curious to lean over that divide and learn what the other side was up to. I am in no doubt that this was made easier by the the fact we had all worked with people in community settings, running classes or teaching workshops. Once we saw that to dance is to communicate and to speak is to move the difference in discipline fell away.

 In zooming out from our differences and discovering a shared inquisitive nature we created a new culture. A new way of thinking, talking and creating.

An important part of the performance is how to create a welcoming and homely environment. This is part of the stories we tell, centred around one family. This is intrinsic for performing in rural touring venues. The community venue we perform in could have hosted children parties, wedding receptions, board game nights, quizzes, exercise classes, crafting workshops. Our audiences have a long standing relationship with the venue that lasts longer than our visit. We want audiences to feel like old friends with a comfortable and safe seat at the table. When we are lucky to be welcomed into these flexible, community spaces, we need to arrive with a flexible attitude and be ready to adapt. So come along, relax, you are in safe hands. We will be waiting to take you across a border and we will even serve you some tea and cake!

On the Border, by Emily O’Shea Company presented in partnership with Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, at Tarvin Community Centre, Meadow Close, Tarvin, CH3 8LY on 31st January 2020 from 6.30pm.

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