We need your help

We had to stop everything at the beginning of lockdown, including our fundraising. We applied for emergency funding but didn’t get it. We’re holding fire on our touring show Mobile Incitement. But, with so many people isolated by coronavirus and its knock-on effects, this is absolutely the right time for our storytelling project, East.

The whole East project is about bringing people together, creating links between different communities, and sharing stories and songs. It’s about friendship, sharing and multiculturalism, and the way songs and stories can help us deal with what the world throws at us. It’s not on a huge scale and may not sound grand – it certainly doesn’t seem to appeal much to major funders – but we believe it’s very valuable work. East London is home to an extraordinarily diverse range of people, but many folks don’t really know others outside their own communities, at least not socially. It’s also a place where wealth and poverty, privilege and marginalisation, and indeed tolerance and bigotry, sit side by side. And it’s a place facing many threats and challenges that would benefit from greater solidarity and co-operation. The need to build bridges, share experiences and learn from others is clear. We think that the exchange of stories and songs, and, more importantly, the learning and re-telling of each other’s stories and songs, is a richly rewarding way to address this need.

But, although lockdown is easing, our normal format – bringing people together around a table with food and singing and stories – is still a long way from being viable. So we’ve come up with a plan to move the project online. Some of it is straightforward, such as adding to our online archive so as to make more material available in the absence of live events, but some is more exploratory. We’re not exactly sure how best to reconfigure our gatherings but we have lots of ideas to try, and by the end of this project we’ll be able to take our work forward in new ways that will be valuable even when live events are possible again. “Resilience” is a word that is perhaps overused at the moment, but that’s exactly what this particular stage in the life of East is about.

We’ve launched a crowdfunding appeal to make all this happen. It only seems right for a project so embedded in our communities to be supported by our communities. Please take a look at our video and then click through to our crowdfunding page.

Our promo video for the new online East

If you can give, please do. But whether or not you donate, do please spread the word. It may sound like a cliche, but it really does make a difference!

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/eaststorytellingonline

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COVID-19 Contingency Plan for Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit

We hope you’re all well and staying safe.

We’ve had to reschedule our activities, and we really only have one active project at the moment: Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit, which was to start touring in June, with a second leg in the autumn.

We’re working on the basis that we should still prepare for autumn activities, while being ready to move them to if we have to. To this end, we’ve come up with a plan based on two priorities: to protect the health and safety of everyone we work with, artists, venues stuff, the public and all, and to maximise opportunities to provide paid work for artists during this emergency by moving as much of our activity online as possible. (We’re only funded on a project-by-project basis so have no funds to pay artists outside of project work.)

You can read our statement here. It will be updated as the situation develops. We also welcome any advice, because we’re just finding our way through this strange new territory, just like everyone else! You can always get in touch with us by via email or social media.

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Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

We’re looking forward to a great event in Tower Hamlets. We were asked to provide some live musical support for A’ Team Arts 40th Anniversary – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. And it’s all happening tomorrow afternoon!

A’ Team Arts runs a range of Youth Arts programmes across Tower Hamlets, and we worked with them last year on the Silk River project. This year, as with Silk River, we’re getting our long-term collaborators The Black Smock Band involved. And, also as before, the project involves various sites across the borough.

This time, however, the focus is on estates, a nod to the early days of ‘A’ Team Arts. There’s dance, parkour, puppetry, physical theatre (created by a practitioner from Frantic Assembly) and music, and it’s held together by two themes; one is the described by the title Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, and the other is the environmental crisis we face.

Come down and join us. We’ll be starting from Shandy Park at 2pm. There’s more info here: http://www.towerhamletsarts.org.uk/?cid=70475.

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Remembering Sam Greenland

In June we lost someone who was not just a friend of Daedalus but instrumental in its beginnings. Paul Burgess writes:

“Sam was involved back when we were a student company, most memorably starting what would become a regular series of trips to the Edinburgh Fringe. He not only had the idea that we should take our site-specific production of the mediaeval morality play Everyman from Brasenose College Chapel to a church in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, he made it happen. He put in the hard work and produced it. I remember the exact moment he suggested it, in the living room of his rented second-year accommodation in Oxford. But it was typical of Sam not only to come up with brilliant and (as it seemed at the time) bonkers ideas but to give generously of his time and intelligence to make them happen.

“The whole thing was hard work, as Edinburgh Fringe on a budget always is, but also a success. The performances, in St Mark’s Unitarian Church, were moving and atmospheric, with music echoing from the organ loft above the audience. Apart from some teething problems during the first few shows, things went pretty smoothly. We managed to find some old photos from the trip to help us remember.

“More recently, in fact only this year, Sam had been talking to us with typical generosity about becoming a trustee. Having decided it was too impractical, since he now lived the other side of the world, we had started to think about what other role we could find or create so he could pick up again, after many years, his role in shaping the company. But we lost this amazing, kind person who touched so many lives before it could happen,

“What a terrible loss, felt by such a huge amount of people from all around the world.”

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‪Tomorrow is Boishakhi Mela 2019! ‬

East 3 (Shamim Azad, Sef Townsend, Paul Burgess) will be sharing stories and songs in the Family Zone as part of our East Storytelling project with BSK. 1pm, 4pm and 5:30pm. Plus there’s so much else happening, of course! Its a huge event, and we know it’s going be a great day!

More info here: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/mela

Hope to see you there! Weavers Fields in Bethnal Green.

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The East 3 return…

Our collaboration with Bangladeshi literature group Bishwo Shahitto Kendro continues. The leaders of our East Storytelling Project will be performing as East 3 at this year’s Boishaki Mela in Weavers Fields, Bethnal Green on Sunday 30 June, and Great Day Out in Victoria Park on 3rd August – details to come.

East 3 are internationally renowned storytellers Shamim Azad and Sef Townsend, supported by musician and theatre-maker Paul Burgess, pictured below at last year’s Mela.

In other news, with several London venues and a Latitude Festival performance behind us, we’re now tour-booking for our gig-theatre/art/protest piece Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Rightous Mobile Incitement Unit. (You can call it Mobile Incitement for short, by the way.) We’re mainly looking 2020 but dates later this year are possible too. Get in touch if you want us!

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Trustees needed!

Daedalus Theatre Company is seeking new trustees to expand its board. We’re a London-based charitable organisation making socially-engaged, innovative performances and participatory events, often focusing on local communities.

Being a trustee is a voluntary role, involving four meetings a year plus giving occasional advice and guidance. We’re looking for people from a range of backgrounds to join us and help us grow. We are specially interested in people with knowledge of fundraising and marketing, and with links to Tower Hamlets, but are also keen to hear from anyone with enthusiasm for the kind of work we do and an interest in how we might develop as a company. If you’d like to know more, or to express your interest in this role, please contact Paul using the form below.

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Photos: Mobile Incitement at Latitude

Andy and Payam took some great photos of our performance at Latitude.  Here’s a selection. You can see more here.

Project details are all here.

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Thanks, Latitude!

In the van, left to right: Sarah Jeanpierre, Payam Torabi and Rhiannon Kelly. In front of the van, left to right: Andy Bannister, Martin MacFadyen, Matt Beattie, Dan Cox and Paul Burgess.

Well, that was amazing. Huge thanks to Latitude Festival  for giving us, along with our project partners Rua Arts and The Black Smock Band, the chance to bring Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit (aka ) to the festival. Thanks also to Ovalhouse, who commissioned it in the first place, and to Queen Mary University of London who supported the development of our participation programme. Last but not least, thanks to all the lovely people who joined us in the Faraway Forest and shared their experiences and knowledge. Ye noble Diggers all, stand up now!

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#MobileIncitement

A raucous folk gig, a community-centred political gathering and a bold reclamation of England’s radical history… It’s…

GERRARD WINSTANLEY’S
TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS
MOBILE INCITEMENT UNIT

Made with Rua Arts and The Black Smock Band, Mobile Incitement (as we call it for short – #mobileincitement on social media) was commissioned by Ovalhouse and shown at Brixton City Festival. Its participation programme was then developed at Queen Mary uni, prior to a show at Poplar Union. It’s then at Latitude Festival before touring late 2018 into 2019. Get in touch to book us or find out more or, if you’ve seen it, give us your feedback: www.daedalustheatre.co.uk

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