1 Apr 2010

Howling at the Moon Fool

I started working for Trestle as Marketing Manager just before Christmas, and in these few short months I have already been bombarded by giraffes, fairies and arctic weather conditions, seen two key members of the team off and away on maternity leave and their wonderful replacements hit the ground running straight into 2010 and the spring season. I can’t help feeling that this is the beginning of a new phase for us here at Trestle. The Glass Mountain marked the end of our three international collaborations and our current production Moon Fool; ill met by moonlight heralds the beginning of a series of co-productions with emerging companies.

My journey to Trestle began bizarrely, a long time ago when I was studying at what was then Melton Mowbray Performing Arts College. I was fortunate to be taught my acting lessons by, among others, one Sally Cook – now Melton was a serious Performing Arts College, it was a place that at the time was a little controversial – I studied a Btec course which was still considered a sure fire way of not being able to get into University (a point I later proved wrong). Sally, unbeknown to me, had been a founding member of a theatre company that was known as....Trestle. Well, I took her mask and physical theatre module and it has formed a major part of my practice and my life ever since.

Melton and Sally lead me to Dartington College of Arts, a place which at this very moment is disintegrating in the same way as (children of the 80s, please stand up) Never Ending Story’s Fantasia. The tiny grains of sand that remain have settled in Falmouth – hopefully into a place where people are still allowed to dream of things that amount to more than money. The course at Melton was created by two ex Dartington students who experienced the place at its time of true shining during the 1960s and the reality of their vision helped form my view of live arts.

Dartington is not a place to be mentioned lightly, especially at this time of mourning and rebirth; I refuse to admit that the heart of the place will die, but I can't convey how much I hope the essence of why we all went there remains in spirit. My college, our college, our community, spans and crosses graduation dates and years of study and exploration- Foxhole and Higher Close, of reminiscing via Google maps and hitching up the hill, (well remembering when hitching was just something you did), of all the things you should have figured out when you were there before life came stampeding towards you and put it into context... finally, the lectures slept through, but the twelve hour durational performance that was the reason you slept in, of yoga in the gardens and gin outside the SU. Any time spent in the company of such an auspicious place (and I do think that Dartington is that), is a privilege and it stays with you throughout the rest of your life.

After Dartington the world seemed vast and tiny simultaneously and like any contemporary arts graduate I stumbled through individual projects, taught, worked and wondered. Within a few years I was fortunate enough to find steady employment in a Theatre as a Marketing and Press Officer. The Alban Arena in St Albans is hailed as Hertfordshire’s premier entertainment venue and hosts everything from Jools Holland to the Tweenies (not quite where I saw myself when I was at University), but for two and a half years I was nurtured and allowed to focus my skills and began to understand the engineering of commercial theatre. Without this experience, I could not have made the journey back to the Theatre in my heart.

I am feeling now as if my feet are under the desk and all the elements that are encompassed within Trestle are coming more into focus every day. I am facing a period of great learning and improvisation at time when it seems harder than ever to produce work that invokes feeling and reaction; Moon Fool; ill met by moonlight is out on the road and has been met by some rave reviews reflecting both the passion and drive behind the shows conception and the power and love of all of those involved.

Work has already begun on our next co-production with new company Blindeye. Burn My Heart is based on the novel by award-winning writer Beverley Naidoo. The show will use African and European music and movement styles through a powerful mix of text, compelling storytelling and physical theatre to tell this fast-paced, devastating and highly relevant story. Blindeye’s Director Oliver Jones will be visiting Kenya, where the novel is set, to collaborate with artists during April.

Blindeye is an exciting new theatre company, dedicated to the production of and participation in work on national and international human rights issues. Both Trestle and Blindeye share a passion for collaboration with artists from an early stage in the process; Blindeye experiment with traditional tools of theatre-making to create work that is visceral, provocative and relevant to the world we live in today.

I feel now as if I am in the right place, as Marketing Manager for Trestle and as an individual. I am certain that whatever is thrown at us as a Company we can face head on and overcome.

by Rhian