Jonathan Best, 26 January 2014

We talked about the pre-conditions to collaboration; having something that is shared

across collaborators. Some answer to the question ‘why are we here, together, today’.

Why work with music? The need to have an answer to that question!

A participant shared experience of fruitful, enjoyable collaboration over several year -

‘we are a good fit as a group’. The need to not force collaborations - collaborations are

usually discovered rather than engineered.

Another participant shared three distinct experiences: 1) working remotely, writing

music for a play, 2) composing and playing for a collaborative project, with distinct

limits in place r.e. involvement and areas of influence. Defined role parameters. 3) -

the most fun - was working as a composer and player on an equal footing within a

collaborative group of people all making the work.

We discussed experimental, laboratory-type collaborative relationships and the

difference between working together without an end point in sight - ie, there's no

requirement to produce a ‘thing’ by a certain date. OR - working with the stimulus of a

deadline and a show to make by a particular date. This type of stimulus can foster

creativity, bring focus - or, in some circumstances, can result in a new collaboration

becoming about ‘getting the show on’ too early in the process.

The role of the ‘outside eye’ in collaborative working: can be a distinct director role, or,

sometimes, members of a collaborative group can slip in and out of being the outside

eye. Maybe this is easier when collaborators are more experienced with each other.

We discussed how we might create a residency enabling composers/musicians and

theatre makers to discover new collaborative relationships, experiment with

co-working etc. How to create an environment that offers equality - with music and

theatre on equal footing, i.e. music isn't necessarily responding to theatre, or vice

versa. Initial ideas could be sound, or text, or movement or…anything.

Working with a theme can be interesting, but it also immediately places music in the

service of an idea make out of words.

Can a theatre making process begin with a musical idea?