“Heart warming and real.”
“Fascinating and moving meeting people from all walks of life.”
“Stunning idea realised to perfection.”
We have been invited to bring SHOES to Derry/Londonderry and develop the stories of this community for a unique showcase performance in the exquisite Playhouse Theatre.
SHOES celebrates life framed to reveal its drama, poetry, pathos and exuberance by bringing stories from the 'street' into a place of cultural excellence.
We are a group of theatre and film practitioners working together in communities. Our aim is to contribute to a community's sense of itself and support its potential for tolerance and inclusivity by sharing its stories. These stories can reveal a complexity and richness which move us towards an appreciation of and responsibility for our shared humanity. Our stories can liberate us.
We are particularly delighted to be taking SHOES to Derry/Londonderry as our process references the Irish oral tradition of passing on stories. It's simplicity and profundity could also make a contribution to a community in which recent history means conflict resolution is an on-going task.
We have already gathered little masterpieces of storytelling from people in the community of Derry/Londonderry who invited us to ‘walk a mile in their shoes’. Here are some excerpts from these wonderful stories.
We now want to work with students from Ulster University's drama department on an interpretation of these stories whilst maintaining their real life integrity. The resulting showcase performance will bring a community together to celebrate its richness and diversity.
SHOES honours the journey of our lives physically and emotionally, from the domestic to the epic, journeys which invariably lead us back to ourselves. As a group of artists we are drawn to exploring common experiences in their endless variety and detail. We are inspired to uncover the haunting richness of 'ordinary' day to day life.
Filming is integral to SHOES and brings all the elements together from storytelling to performance, giving an insight into a unique creative process. Live video used in the performance of SHOES is part of an experimental approach to create emotional intensity by accenting moments in the performance narrative.
A documentary film of SHOES will be made available for screenings and later released online.
Our future ambitions for SHOES include securing a full scale production at The Playhouse and a series of residencies in the UK and abroad allowing us to share the methodology of SHOES and its journey from street to stage.
Risks and challenges
Following a successful self-funded visit to Derry/Londonderry in 2015, we have been invited back to develop SHOES in anticipation of a commission from The Playhouse for a full scale production.
Our confidence in SHOES has been born out from its early development in Bexhill in 2014 where the community shared their personal stories in a pop-up shoe shop. These were developed into a script for a performance at the De La Warr Pavilion. Responses to the stories and performance were overwhelming.
“It was good to sit and talk. Just sit and talk…”
“I was surprised I talked about my previous life, it’s not something I would normally do.”
“I liked the humanity and the whole style of presentation.”
“Local, global, universal stories, joyful and meaningful, a thoughtful, spiritual fabulous evening.”
“Simplicity and profundity of SHOES could be of value to any community.”
“Interesting balance between documentary and creative interpretation.”
The essential pre-production elements of rehearsal studio and theatre are in place. The University of Ulster drama department is commited to SHOES. Dr Matt Jennings Head of Drama has included SHOES in the spring term community theatre module taken by second year degree students.
Kickstarter funding will allow us to:
Hire The Playhouse Theatre for one night
Hire a rehearsal studio space at The Playhouse
Film the entire process
Travel to Derry/Londonderry
Produce SHOES the film
8th April Travel - Hastings to Derry/Londonderry
9th – 12th April Rehearse at Playhouse studio with student actors from Ulster University. The actors will develop a performance based on verbatim stories, respecting their autobiographical roots whilst enjoying creative freedom and risk taking. In particular, they will experience the novel demands of live performance in combination with live film.
Friday 13th April
Performance at The Playhouse Theatre followed by Q & A.
Edit SHOES film. This will include a record of the SHOES process from meeting our original storytellers to performance.
Our team of theatre practitioners Frances Viner, Patrick Kealey and film-maker Sam Sharples have collaborated on many projects.
Our highly regarded work has been funded by Arts Council England and Hastings and Rother local councils since 2012. It includes residencies at the pioneering De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill with a remit to develop community links. Our formidable skills in empathic listening and understanding of the therapeutic benefit of sharing stories have been instrumental in creating outstanding pieces of community theatre.
Frances Viner's recent project WILDFELL brought together literature and personal stories in a project inspired by Anne Bronte's 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'. It was delivered with the participation of people in recovery from substance misuse.
Her varied acting career includes co-founding Raving Beauties which was twice commissioned by Channel 4 and continues to publish anthologies of women's poetry, most recently ‘Hallelujah for 50ft Women’ (pub. Bloodaxe Books 2015). She has taught creative writing, art and drama variously in universities, community colleges, a psychiatric hospital, prison and schools.
Patrick Kealey founded Group K theatre. His directing work includes large scale critically acclaimed site-specific community theatre projects, which toured extensively in the UK funded by ACE and USA. He is currently artistic director of Theatre Nation a company which aims to provide professional-level theatre in an under-resourced area of England – working with acclaimed professionals and mentoring emerging young talent.
Sam Sharples started directing his own work in 2005. The short films 'Passenger' and 'Night Train', were followed by 'Nan and John' which was shown at Imax, New York and the National Portrait Gallery, London. He has since gone on to continue his personal work, and also to collaborate with artists and filmmakers as Editor, Cinematographer and Director. Recent projects have included the three feature films; 'The Romance of Bricks' a documentary portrait of the Artist Liz Finch Directed by Nichola Bruce, 'Identity' a portrait of the singer Poly Styrene from the band X-Ray Specs Directed by Richard Heslop and 'GIfts' with performance artist Claire Whistler. He works closely with the director Nichola Bruce on installations and films and is currently in post-production on the feature documentary portrait of the painter Jacqueline Stanley, 'Long Ago and Far Away'.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)