One Mile Away case study
Commissioner: Spread the Word
Project Budget: £14 000
• Fosters relationships with people, businesses and organisations within a 1 mile radius of STW
• Produces an outcome or product that celebrates the achievements of the residency
• Promotes the artistic aims, mission and values of Spread the Word
• Involves Spread the Word staff in creative engagement and writing
• Challenges existing conventions of what a residency is, or can be
• Establishes the beginnings of a good practice framework
Following an open call for a writer or collective to be in residence in and around Spread The Word’s office in Lambeth Walk for a 3 months, writer Kat Joyce and theatre Director Nathan Curry began their residency project ‘One Mile Away’ by making links with local groups, doing research into the history of the area whilst being based in the Spread the Word office. From February 09 onwards, Kat ran playwriting workshops, exploring relationships within the 1 mile radius around Spread the Word, and sharing playwriting techniques with groups including: volunteers at Vauxhall City Farm, older people at Waterloo Action Centre and Friends of Durning Library. A project website www.onemileaway.org showcased work produced during these workshops and offered new ways for people to contribute writing to the project. A facebook group and Twitter account also provided other means of interaction. From the material gathered, Kat developed and scripted a site responsive promenade play that drew together the disparate narratives encountered during her process. The final piece was performed 4 times, beginning in a disused shop unit in Elephant and Castle shopping centre. From this location the play began and unfolded, taking audience members on a walk of about a mile, incorporating the Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle, Newington Butts and West Square SE11 as settings for the performance. The play managed to seamlessly traverse time, jumping from the 1980’s to the present day, to 1996 to the Second World War and back again. The final piece attracted an audience of 136 and received several positive reviews in local and cultural press.
‘I thought the part of the show where we were led past the empty housing blocks was particularly strong - the backdrops to the scenes spoke volumes, and the scenes really animated otherwise invisible qualities to the spaces.’ James Hadley, Arts Council
I wanted to challenge myself to open my writing process. I felt extremely creatively challenged at certain points during the writing process, but feel that I overcame these challenges successfully, which I feel has made me a braver, more robust writer as a consequence.
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