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A City Full of Sunflowers

on Tue, 09/08/2015 - 19:07

By Amie (@spoonsparkle)

On a balcony in South London, the first sunflower comes in to bloom.  Quite unexpectedly.  Quite out of nowhere.  One day there was just a green clump of nothing.  The next?  A blooming spectacular sunflower.  The Sunflower Grower sits, and watches it while drinking a cup of tea.  And then another.  And then a coffee.  Before she knows it she has spent nearly and hour and a half just sitting under the sunflower (which is taller than her) thinking what a miracle it is.  

In an office in Bloomsbury a Publisher's Intern stirs his second coffee of the day thoughtfully, trying to shake his hangover, while checking over his to do list.  There are the ‘Yes’ emails to send.  And the ‘No’ emails to send.  He begins firing the standard rejection emails all across the UK.  Like any non-sociopath, he prefers to send the ‘Yesses’.  He hopes the No-Receivers will keep trying.  His phone lights up, he grabs it, just a message from his housemate.  He’s still waiting for that nice guy he met at his friends’ gallery opening last weekend to text him back.  He thought he might have heard from him by now. 

In the basement of an old apartment block in South London, a women practises her dance steps over and over, it is not the right floor for dancing.  It’s cold, and much too hard.  She does not yet get to choose where she practises those steps, over and over, - one day, she dreams she will.  After a full forty three and a half minutes of practising, she looks up through the window, thick with city dust, streaked where previous rains have trickled their pathways through. She looks up and sees a Sunflower on a balcony.  Just one, just on it’s own. Quite unexpectedly.  Quite out of no where.

The Grower considers it is time to go back to work.

Making Happenings

on Tue, 08/04/2015 - 05:50



That’s what we’re making. Not performances, not installations, not a show, but ‘Happenings.’ Something that happens, takes place, in a specific place. It happens and people happen to see it. Or happen not to. There will be four happenings.

It’s a journey, a return, we’re exploring. The return of the long finned eel to honour a new art work being unveiled at the opening of the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Our journey is bringing us from the coastal & estuary environment of Brighton, to the urban/suburbia of east Christchurch in Linwood, to the new high tech Bus Exchange in the heart of (the enduring rebuilding) city, to finally the heritage spot of the Arts Centre with its English stone buildings.

There are observations of space, connection to land and sea, people watching, environment absorbing, flocking, ensemble creating. We are a small chorus and our aim is to pull out the essence of each place, bring that into our bodies and voice and make something HAPPEN.

Last week we explored Linwood. We were set a task for the beginning of rehearsal. I was to begin on the corner of Tancred and Hereford Streets and make my way to the community centre where we were rehearsing. I arrived, parked by green Nissan Navara (I call him Lurch, proper farm truck but super reliable!) and began walking. I walked from Tancred St, down Hereford, across England St, toward Stanmore Rd, right into Stanmore Rd for one block to Worcester St where the Community Centre is there and the rest of the company. This is what I wrote (literally) as I walked;

Weatherboard, tin, white brick. Wide Street, could fit a lot more. Chirp chirp, whooshing cars a constant rumble. 32 should be 320, no zero, its missing. A caravan outside, white with a red panel.

My Heart Has Four Chambers

on Tue, 07/28/2015 - 02:02


At shaky isles open space AGM 2013. 
I said I'd make a piece. It would have no blood. And be not connected to my personal life. 
I've just performed my piece in Vienna at a 3 day conference on the connection between music and movement. 
My piece is a piece created in silence with heart beats breath a waltz. It contains in four sections life itself. Life in a heart beat. Life in a cycle. It's emotional rhythmic. There is flow.There are spirals.
There is form and there is freedom. Here is a map of my piece. 
So. Go and make your work. Let it unfurl. Say what you have in your heart. Find the time. Find the space. Find the energy. And that work will lead you somewhere.this piece led me to Vienna.  If you don't make that piece it will forever remain undone.

Backwards Not Forwards

on Tue, 07/21/2015 - 01:55

BY SARAH BROWNE (nee Robertson)

Rihanna released a new song a couple of weeks ago for the uplifting and joyful tune, “Bitch, Better Have My Money.” I hate this song. I think I might be a nana but when I first saw her perform it at an awards show on TV back in March, I thought it was noisy, grating and basically sh*te. And I like some awful music (I sincerely like some Milli Vanilli songs).

I never used to like Rihanna’s stuff but I would say mostly I think her songs are great. Big, sing loud fist pumping BANGING hits as hip kids would say. (I think. I’m sure. I’m a hip kid.)

This one…No.

And that’s without even considering the video.  There’s a big shitstorm on the internet about the 7 minute film for BBHMM. The production values seem high, Eric Roberts is involved (if it worked for Mariah…) and anything that suggests a return to a renaissance of the 1980s when music videos were more than just the singer bopping about, is a big thumbs up for me. But clearly this isn’t a thumbs up for me as otherwise it’s a pretty tired blog for me to write about some music video I like. This is about as thumbs downy as you can go.

Voicing my opinion on this video actually makes me a bit nervous as I’ve read some articles whereby the writer’s have said that this film is a commentary on the oppression of black women by white women and that white feminists just don’t get it.  I read that and was a bit like “Oh…crap, ok I don’t get it.”

The thing is though, I didn’t really see colour as a factor to how I perceived what was being said in this video. Personally I really struggled to see the empowering message of the video. I hope that my dislike and reaction to this video is not because I don’t appreciate the struggles that other women may have had because of their race.

'hashtag' exciting

on Tue, 07/14/2015 - 01:49


Something very ‘hashtag’ exciting has happened this year.

I have moved back to New Zealand. To the South Island of New Zealand. There are one million people in the whole of the South Island. I am currently staying on a small working farm of 40 acres. I look out my bedroom window in the morning and I see white peaks; the Southern Alps. In every other direction predominantly pine trees, a veggie garden, and the roof of the barn, sometimes the horses in the paddock. I cannot see our next door neighbour’s house unless it’s night and there is a light on in the distance. 

Until Feb this year I was living in London. I lived there for ten years and three months. That’s half my 20’s and half my 30’s. There are over 8.5 million people in London. I lived for significant periods during those ten years in; Walthamstow, Dalston, Stoke Newington, Greenwich and Camberwell. North and south of the river Thames, but always East. My favourite being South East. I would look out my window (my many bedroom windows over the years) and see; The White Hart pub, buses, red brick, Café Rouge, people, cars, but also parks and trees (London is very green), basement steps, people’s feet walking by, concrete, always another flat, buildings and people everywhere.

Now, here, in NZ…I sometimes see less than a handful of people in a day as opposed to hundreds in London. I drive now, don’t catch a train, a bus, or ride my bike into the city flying across Waterloo Brigde (I am 50km’s from the nearest city Christchurch). I go running through a pine forest that runs alongside a wide empty river instead of through the streets past tube stations and in cared for green parks. I watch the evening news most nights at roughly the same time and I never miss my dinner, or my breakfast.

Marilyn Monroe - Finishing the Film

on Tue, 07/07/2015 - 00:00


This month, I saw the film 'The Misfits' at the BFI. Filmed in 1960, The Misfits was directed by John Huston. It's cast list reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood - staring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. The Misfits is about a glamorous divorcee, Roslyn, (Monroe - que surprise) who falls for a Nevada cowboy, Gaylord, (Gable - que surprise). The film's script is by Arthur Miller - Monroe's husband at the time.

The film is however most 'notoriously' known more for what happened  - or didn't happen - off set than on. Director Huston gambled and drank, falling asleep on set during filming. Filming was delayed days due to Monroe's drug-enduced sleeping spells or refusal to come on set. At one stage, Huston closed down filming for two weeks and sent Monroe to hospital for detox. Reportedly, her marriage to Miller was failing at the time. Filming in the 42 degree heat of the Nevada desert took its toll on cast and crew.

I don't know that much about Monroe, this was the first of her films I've seen. It's perhaps an advantage to come to her work fresh. What I did see - throughout the film - was a woman being exploited - literally from every (camera) angle - for her body. It starts with the opening scene's in-lingerie I'm-just-getting-dressed shot; continues in many scenes in which Roslyn/Monroe nearly-falls-out-of-her-dress, numerous bum-shots and finally - the over-her-shoulder-and-down-her-cleveage-shot as Roslyn comforts a dying man on her lap. I'm not saying Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn't have valid issues but, baby, we have come SO far!

A lot has been written by biographers about Monroe's addiction and fragile mental health during filming.

Playing the Game

on Mon, 06/29/2015 - 20:21

By Connie Tancredi Brice Girvan

We do this is rehearsals sometimes. Our goal is also to have this degree of presence in a show too. Even a show that has a practiced element, i.e a script or choreography, this presence lets you discover in that honed structure. 
How it works:
You play the game. You listen, react. There's not a leader. You let the game show itself in the group or partnership. It can manifest in movement or sound. When you are warmed up words can come. That's how I've experienced playing the game, anyway. I'm sure there are lots of ways for it to manifest.
I find in playing the game a presence, an alertness that primes me to play and accept rather than the alertness readying me to run or collide or catch or throw. It's like "en garde" but the following action isn't to defend or oppose but join to then move together to where neither of you know.
Colours are brighter as my senses sharpen. I listen acutely ready to catch and hold and leap with the offer coming from the thing that is made by us. 
It's really lovely. It's exciting. It's being actively present. 
When I try to "be present" often it's like sitting by a stream and quieting my breath to hear better. Listening for a squirrel natter or a frog splash. It's calming and lessening my energy to feel the other energy around me, like sinking to the bottom of a body of water, resisting floating. That's one kind of "being present". 
Playing the game, the noise of my breath or the twitch of my finger is a welcome clue as to where we're going. 
When I yearn to connect better with someone 
which is the positive way of saying 
my eyes would rather roll
and my shoulders slump because

I’m calling myself a wacter.

on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 18:48

(A creative love letter to my teacher and collaborators)

By Emma Bentley



I have written this article in between rehearsals for my play ‘To She or Not to She’ that I am taking to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. It is my first piece of solo performance and writing. This article is written for Amie Taylor from Shakey Isles Theatre, whom have helped me develop the show through their writing night in March. I guess it is me attempting to dissect how I came to writing and why, and how I am finding it. 



It’s funny how you spend the majority of three years, on your feet, doing spinal rolls, cartwheels (on your good and bad side), thinking in laban efforts, pretending to be various other people, squeezing into a variety of costumes, having a go at many things you’re probably quite bad at (or at least you’re never going to be REALLY good at) such as singing and dancing. In summary, making a complete and utter fool out of yourself on a daily basis. 


Then you graduate. You collect your scroll. You shake Paul McCartney’s hand. You may have even got a 1st. Your mum and dad look proud. You think ‘Wow.’ Finally. Must be doing something right. 


And then you start all over again. Old town maybe. Perhaps even where you where you were brought up. You figure out how you now belong there again. Or you decide to go to a new place. A city. London. 

First thing to do is find a place to live and get a job. A money job that is not an acting one. You need something stable(ish) to be able to pay the rent and you don’t want to live on baked beans. You wanna get a gym membership.


Now you don’t get to do much acting at all. And you spend more time thinking about a five plate clear than even considering doing a spinal roll.

Don't Grow Up

on Tue, 06/16/2015 - 11:51

BY SARAH BROWNE (nee Robertson)

I don’t know many kids. It also feels like I was a kid a very long time ago. A scary long time ago. I don’t know what it’s like now to be a child or even how their minds work. I do think that children think differently to adults. This is how I perceive it as a grown up, looking at kids and trying to imagine / remember what the world was like when I was young. There’s a freedom in kids that grown ups lose. At least this is in the case of kids who are allowed to have a childhood; who can be silly and joyful and run amok; before the world can be placed upon their shoulders to weigh them down and make them grey.

So clearly at the grand old age of 34 years, 11 months and about 15 days as this blog comes to pass (or thereabouts depending on when it’s published) my childhood days are over. My shoulders are appropriately hunched, my skin with the occasional (ahem…or frequent) wrinkle and little silver hairs appear with increasing frequency in my auburn hair like lazy spies, all too visible.  The jig is most certainly up. But (ahh yes...the but!) this morning as I stood out on the balcony at the hotel where I’m staying, looking at the sparkling Adriatic ocean and listening to that beautiful sound of waves crashing on rocks, I realized the key to so much of the joyful and amazing moments in our lives as adults is when we have that childlike wonder. There is so much we learn as kids that we discard as adults. I will take a moment here to say I know some of you grown ups out there never let go of them. You totally get it.  For those of you who feel like you completely lost any of that childlike abandon, akin to how you used to feel on a swing at a playground, I say go play on the swing now.

But Enough About me...

on Tue, 05/26/2015 - 01:58

BY Sani Muliaumasealii

I’m about to;  re - Produce Kava Girls (origins festival London June 12 -14), co - create the GAFA Arts Collective Fun Palace:  StOP-HIT (Oct 3) an opera and sport day taking a stand against domestic abuse, I am co -writing R’Otello (Oct 2&3) - the rugby opera - also part of our Fun Palace, R’Otello an adaptation of Otello, Carmen and Tosca set at the rugby world cup (our fun palace is to raise funds and awareness for victims of domestic abuse). 

It’s all been my every moment. Literally.

I’m very boring during these work periods - I can be often found in a daydream- like state; stopping mid-sentence to adjust a lighting cue in my head or resenting being at a social engagement when I could be rolling around on the floor divining a unique way to deliver a line.

I find I do the Lion’s share of the work from pitching ideas to would be investors (which is getting easier) to making the cafe for everyone: I do have surplus energy in these highly active times but sometimes I crave the solace found in channel hopping or spending quality time with my duvet. My learning curve is steep and I ascend with a mix of terror and aplomb. I grapple with the concept that ‘no man is an island’ and even though I feel like my borders are open, in practise, it sometimes is not the case!  A work in progress. 

Reviving a piece is very rewarding. This is true for Kava Girls. It can also be sobering. I’m often faced with many moments of ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ to ‘if it ain’t broken why am I changing it?’ Then I change it. Then un-change then change it again - and so on and so forth.

Props and costumes are like old friends they emit a history, and tell a warm familiar story.