I want to make a magical little place, does anybody want to help (ps it will probably involve circus and boats)

Convener(s): Francesca Hyde

Participants: David, rachel, sophie, amelia and Fran


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

3 ideas for session –

  1. practical session on how to make this particular magical place.
  2. Discuss What makes a magical place magical?
  3. Go and make a magical little place

Gave background of 'collect if and thens' circus boat, why it was a magical experience – how can you make this experience a place.

Talk about responding to different environments.

David introduced us to his school. He has the keys to a school, and its used as a community centre outside of school hours.

What experiences have we have had of magical places and what did we like about them?

  • Being comfortable
  • Being looked after
  • cushions and blankets
    • Amelia gave example of an outdoor show she did where she gave people a cup of tea – people said it was the best cup of tea they'd ever had.
  • Putting he audience at ease.
  • A doormat makes people feel at home
    • Lots of these things are about making people feel welcome and at home.

A really likes when people really overdo the effort and there's craft involved

- Made to feel special, like this is for you

We spent a lot of time about making non-trad theatre spaces magical, someone raised the point, why arent we talking about creating a magical space within a theatre.

- In the theatre, you have absolute control to make an all encompassing magical space.

- Outdoor, you have the abillity to re-imagine public spaces and feel ownership over them.

- Trying to make a wood in a theatre can be much more interesting and creative than just placing people in the wood.

- You need to respect the place you are entering in site specific; wht the space is, who uses it, why you are there too often 'exploited' for gimmicks

Most people there were concerned with using non-trad spaces, and involving the community

- Communities are part of the magic

Gifts are magical, like the tea, like Coneys show 'a small town anywhere' where they gave wine at the end.

If you give people a space, you need to be clear with the signposting about what you want people to do in it, otherwise they can feel lost (not in a good way)

Helping people re-imagine spaces. Kid in a cardboard box analogy – at first its just a box when you look at it. Showing its potential.

No Fit State circus – some people really liked the atmosphere created, it felt all encompassing and dangerous. Others thought it didn't feel dangerous (as maybe more used to circus) and a bit stressful to be moved around so much, shouted at by stewards.

What do you take for granted.

At the ballet, at first its amazing, at the end, you don't care about the guy thats jumping so high and turning so many times because your used to it, youve seen everyone on the stage do it.

Something about the set up of a big show, and costumes that make you less surprised by the action on stage – the fact that people are doing amazing things with their bodies.

Example of 2 men doing wheel of death in suits.

RE No fit state, they advertised by driving a big bus around edinburgh, you thought, who are these poeople  who've arrived and live in this bus and do circus, I really want to know them, to hang out with them.

Same with the boat, people really intrigued about who these people are and what are they doing in our place. Really curious and interested to get to know them.

Good to be open, and provide opportunities to meet the people in the community, be there so people can talk to you, ask questions.

People want to make connections and do nice things, often aren't in a place where they can do that.

Its nice when thats not forced, people are given space and are able to think of their own ideas about nice things they can do.

Example of someone making a show, and one of the mums cooked a big pot of food and brought it down to them for their rehearsal.

Count the favours that people have done for them.

On the boat, we couldnt believe how generouse people were, people brought us food and drink when they saw us rehearsing, gave us materials we might need, lights for the show so we could do it at night, a homeless man donated his whole days takings, helped paint the rig/make the stage etc.

More typical 'fairy magic' can distance you from a performance

Talked a lot about children (perhaps because the subject was 'magical place')

Children think of everything as magic because they haven't yet learned whats possible and whats not.

Kids (and adults) love to be able to 'have a go', if theyve seen people on stage do something exciting, or theyve seen an inviting object thats crying to be played with

Example of 'the forest' kids show where it rains conkers at the end, and the kids can go on stage at the end and help put the conkers back in a bowl.

Gives people a shared job/skill that means they have an important role in your show which is empowering.

Someone made a kids show – this felt like it gave license to play more. As R&D they made adventures for each other. Looked at what could be really exciting.

Museum of Stratford has an exhibition of magical places at the moment (unfortunately it was closed at that point, so couldnt go as part of the session)

D talked about dissillusionment with artists unimagination when it came to creating something in the school environment.

The administrative barrier of buildings seems to have infiltrated into the people who are making the art.

School is such a non-magical seeming place – connotations of hating school.

What would you want to do in a school? All of the things you werent allowed to do when you were at school?

Talked about R's pop-up dining room, peoples expectations of what a disused office building will look like, and going against that, making it really special. Small ideas are really well received – like tea-lights.

Talked about theatre workshops, rehaearsals in disused spaces, the story behind these places adds to the magic...has the world moved beyond this, is this dbeing forgotten about?

Example of 'Spinny Hollow' theatre in the woods, and 'walk the plank' show on a sail boat.

Frustration with all of the people who stand in the way of you and your audience when you work at a venue.

If you're offereing space in 'free spaces', importance of making sure that people dont think you are just a 'space provider', but you are entering into a creative contract. (Firehouse)

Talked about how are creativity is valued = can we make a shift