Participation

(Im)Mobile Incitement

We should be on tour now with Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit. Today we would have been at Slung Low’s venue The Holbeck. Slung Low’s work during the pandemic has been a source of inspiration nationwide, and it’s hard to think of a better place for a piece of theatre that’s all about reclaiming the collective, progressive side of England’s chequered past. Hopefully we can be there in 2021.

Health and the preservation of life obviously come first so we’re happy to postpone. But one of the ironies of the situation is that the original version of Mobile Incitement, made well before the first case of Covid-19 was detected, was an outdoor show and naturally quite socially-distant. Not only our subject matter but our format are truly of our time! Still, we need to be confidently past the worst of the pandemic before we can tour. John Ball, during the Peasants’ Revolt, famously declared that “Now is the time”. But right now, no, it isn’t.

Congratulations Shamim!

Shamim Azad, one of the lead artists in our East storytelling project and a long-term Daedalus collaborator, has been recognised for her work with the local community during Covid, and we’re feeling very proud indeed! Here’s how The National Lottery describes the project:

The exhibition – titled, The National Lottery’s 2020 Portraits of the People – honours 13 of these artistic champions for making a significant difference to lifting people’s spirits this year, using some of the £30m raised by National Lottery players every week for good causes. The digital exhibition can be visited on the websites and social media of: The National Portrait Gallery, London, The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, The MAC in Belfast, IKON Gallery in Birmingham, Summerhall in Edinburgh, Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham, Ruthin Craft Centre in Ruthin, Wales, The Photographers’ Gallery in London and the British Film Institute (BFI), and the portraits will also be on display at BFI Southbank in London.

Click here or on the screengrab below for the full portrait and article on the National Lottery blog:

Big congratulations, Shamim, from all your Daedalus colleagues!

In the same room!

A couple of weeks ago, Sef, Shamim and Paul had their first planning session and rehearsal since the Spring lockdown. It was great to get started on the work we’ll be doing as a result of our crowdfunding campaign. It was great too be in the same room for the first time in many months…So we’d like, once again, to take this opportunity to thank our donors: thank you!

Once the project is fully underway we’ll be working online. Any further social distancing or lockdown measures won’t then be a problem. In fact, that’s the whole point of this project! But… the second lockdown has kind of caught us before we were quite ready for that. We are persevering, nonetheless, and hope to to share the first story with you soon.

There’s a lot more to look forward to. We’re very excited to be working with theatre-maker and BSL intepreter Laura Goulden. Poet Stephen Watts popped in to discuss a possible collaboration. And we’ll be putting out a call for community members to join us and be coached online in storytelling. So do please watch this space!

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

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.

‪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.

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!

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.

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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