23 Jan What we did last year
Another year has flown by and I wanted to do a quick peak back at all the exciting things we achieved in 2013. It was a year where all the different aspects of Mimbre’s work started to mix, cross and gain profile in a whole new way – our youth company took centre stage on some of London’s big stages, our Artistic Directors were pulled into major national productions for their expertise and all the different strands of our work came together in Mimbre’s first festival. Have a quick read below!
We started the year by throwing Mimbre Youth Company into a different league. At the end of January they performed a new choreography in the beautiful main hall of the Hackney Empire for the opening of Discover Young Hackney – in front of 1200 cheering audience members!
After an inspirational part in the National Youth Circus Event they then took part in RIOT OFFSpring at Sadler’s Wells, choreographed by international dance stars Sébastien Ramirez, Mafalda Deville, Pascal Merighi (guest artist, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch), Ivan Blackstock and Simeon Qsyea (BirdGang). What an incredible experience – culminating in a sold out performance in the main theatre at Sadler’s Wells with no less than 1500 audience members!
Click at this link to see a short video from behind the scenes, with our Mimbre Youth member Khalil leading the interviews! RIOT OFFSpring Behind The Scenes
With Silvia Fratelli back from maternity leave we then launched into re-rehearsal of Falling Up and Until Now – which both went onto a full UK and European tour in the summer, starting with a showcase at Festival de Teatro y Calle in Valladolid – where I personally also had a chance to see some of the best physical theatre shows that Europe has on offer at the moment. We had some wonderful responses from the audience over the summer:
Individually the Artistic Directors of Mimbre also had some space to get involved in other projects. After supporting the initial research for the show in the NT studio, Emma Norin was pursued by National Theatre to take a role in the final production of The Light Princess as one of the acrobats controlling the floating princess – constantly keeping her feet off the ground. What a joy suddenly seeing Mimbre’s physical language coming through on the National’s main stage where Emma expertly kept Rosalie Craig twisting and turning! There’s still a chance to see the show with performances until the beginning of February!
In the meanwhile I spent a week with Mark Storor at the Roundhouse, doing research and development for Puffball together with a group of young LGBTQ people- using personal stories as starting points for beautiful, silly and poignant explorations – building up ideas and material for the show premièring this spring as part of CircusFest 2014. Go and see! I also took part in Gary Clarke’s Lustrum Aftermath – a fast, choreographic collaborative project with 15 other choreographers – an inspirational project which gave me lots of ideas and helped to expand my vocabulary as a choreographer and movement director.
Having toured festivals for 14 years, this was the year we put ourselves on the other side. It started with an idea from our lovely Education Officer Innogen Fryer wanting to bring all our different youth groups together in a celebration of their achievement. The Collective Movement Festival was such an inspiring community event with the help of all our young people and their parents – we thought we could make it bigger, and with a commission from Hackney Council, Mimbre Circus Central was created. A full festival day on the Narrow Way, Hackney Central on the last sunny day in September. And what a success – all that we had hoped for. If you have not seen it already, take 5 minutes to watch this video and get a feel for the day
Among all the success it was a hard year too. We wrote an endless amount of non-successful funding applications, the cuts from this government are really being felt in the arts world particularly in the community and youth work we do. We sadly had to close some of our classes during the last year and are working hard to get them set up again. We’ve done some big planning – with exciting plans for the next 5 years, but this was all considered against a backdrop of big cuts to the Arts Council and subsequent reductions in the funding for the National Portfolio, of which we’re proudly a part. The political decisions at the moment are having a massive impact on the sort of society we will end up living in, and if we want arts to be a right for everyone within our society we are going to have to fight for it!
I guess those are the main things. We did also get recognised as one of the UK’s Top 10 SME’s for Working Families, moved office, became a charity, recruited a brilliant board, secured the Compass Commission for our new production Bench, consulted for the Audience Agency to develop audience research for outdoor theatre, worked with Julie’s Bicycle to develop policies for green touring, gave a talk at ISAN’s biannual conference, presented ideas for our new production Time at Circa Festival in Auch (securing a residency at La Breche in support of the show) and at the Circus Now conference. We set up a regular acrobalance training group (including lovely performers from Mattress Circus and Joli Vyann), taught degree students at Circus Space and theatre students at Guildford School of Acting and auditioned new performers for Bench. And also raised some very small children in between…
In 2014 we are going straight into the rehearsal room and have some exciting projects coming up. Check the next blog post coming up, for our plans looking ahead…