18 Jan This was my 2012! – a year’s review by Lina Johansson mimbre joint artistic director
Just as 2013 is kicking in proper I wanted to take the last chance to take a brief look back on all I achieved in 2012 – both with mimbre and together with other companies or artists. For me it was an exciting and busy year, lots that I learned and lots that I am proud of. Working as a choreographer and director with a variety of artists and companies refreshed my perspective of how exciting our art-form can be, made me appreciate what I know and what I know really well, and helped to over again re-ignited my love of acrobatics. For you who follow this blog there has been plenty of updates on the mimbre productions last year, so here I will focus more on the collaborations with other companies in 2012.
Two of the shows I worked on are currently on, so I will start with them:
Royal Shakespeare Company ‘Boris Gudinov’: I worked Michael Boyd and Liz Ranken on this production, with the brief of creating some strong acrobatic/ highly physical tableauxs for the play. Pushkin’s script and Michael Boyd’s thoughts ignited lots of ideas for me and the lovely challenge was then to narrow the ideas down to fit within the style of the play and to be realistic with the time frame, the capabilities and experiences of the actors and actresses and shape material that fitted with Michael’s vision! In a performance like this, of course the story has the highest importance and the physicality have to support that truly. It was a marvellous team to develop this with and it is a great play, currently running in the Swan at Stratford Upon Avon. For anyone who has the chance to go and see, you can find full information here!
On this weekend is Simone Riccio’s ‘Nothing Moves If I Don’t Push’, a show I worked on to develop ideas and material for in the beginning of the year. ‘Nothing Moves If I Don’t Push’ is a solo show about the memories and dreams of one man, using a broad range of circus skills. The show has since been developed further with Rob Tannion (Stan Won’t Dance) and Aitor Basauri (Spymonkey) into a full-length show and is performed this weekend as Part of London International Mime Festival. I am very much looking forward to see how the piece has developed – join me this Sumday at Jacksons Lane! For more information and to book tickets click here.
In the summer I was part of a great team developing movement material and physical ideas for Nathaniel Martello-White’s play ‘Blackta’, at Young Vic directed by artistic director David Lan. ‘Blackta’ is a biting satire on some of the theatre industries attitudes towards black actors. Movement directions by Joseph Alford (Theatre O) provides a variety of physical scenes to express the frustration, absurdness and humility the main characters has to endure. This play brought lots of debate and I am really interested to see what Nathaniel will write next.
I also did some R&D work with Lost Boys in Derby to develop ideas for their next production The First King of Hollywood – which every time I speak to them keep growing in scope and ambitions! Celebrating the friendship of Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks this is a show full of room for physicality – gymnastic prowess and slapstick celebrating the style of the silent film era. Developing character material with the boys was great, but I must admit the highlight of these sessions was having a full gymnastic gym to ourselves to research ideas for set and physicality – adrenalin kick and brilliant support from old gym coach (taking the boys down a few pegs by constantly reminding them of what his 7- year old girls can do). I will work in 2013 to develop this show further.
A big part of the year was taken up researching and directing mimbre’s 2012 production Falling Up – a physical tale of 4 women, their bodies, their skills as well as inabilities, their extraordinariness and their weaknesses. The show introduced 3 new performers as part of the mimbre team: Annemie Pierle, Alison Halstead and Charmaine Childs (aka Strong Lady Betty Brawn), who together with mimbre’s own Emma Norin helped me to devise and took on tour a perform
For the first time in 2012, mimbre also did a touring production with our youth group. Directed by me, with dance choreographies by Frank Wilson and Natasha Khamjani, the Step-Up group performed ‘Origin: London’ across various Cultural Olympiad in the summer. The young people did amazingly well and you can see a short documentary about the group and the show here. The fantastic responses to the show have created exciting opportunities coming up for 2013, the 1st of February the young people will perform at Hackney Empire as part of the opening of Discover Young Hackney Festival and we are in discussions with Sadler’s Wells about our youth partaking in an exciting collaboration with them this spring, keep an eye out for more news on this blog.ance which received extraordinary responses from audiences across UK and Europe. Go to Falling Up and enjoy a short video with extracts from this show, or snoop around this blog for tour photos!
Hoping 2013 will be as inspirational and productive as the year gone, I will stop here and come back with another blog sharing the exciting plans and opportunities already lining up for this year. Til then, I wish you all lots of creativity, energy and fun for 2013!
Lina Johansson, joint artistic director mimbre, January 2013.