Throughout the festival we’ll be asking the creatives involved to respond to pertinent questions surrounding our PLATFORM debates.
Today we ask George Mann, Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Ad Infinitum - (Associate Artists here at the Bush) who are presenting a sneek peek of IT'S A WONDEFUL LIFE to respond to the question;
How are we inspired to imagine a new way of theatre making?
Theatre wasn’t always so bound by ‘the text’.
There is a great history of theatre that comes from, and is ‘written’ by, the body. Such theatrical styles that emerged from the ‘physical’ like Commedia Del Arte and Mask, the tragic Greek Chorus, Mime, Buffon and many more value all of the tools that theatre has to offer, not only words. Some eliminate words entirely. Yet the predominant form of theatre making in the UK is born out of the pre-written script for which text is essential; indeed for some it is sacred. Other varieties of theatre as mentioned above exist largely on the fringes, or appear in the mainstream as exceptions to the rule, like masks such as those used in THE LION KING, or puppetry in the National Theatre’s WAR HORSE, for example.
I’m not saying theatre from text is bad. But as the accepted norm, it is extremely limiting.
At present, the theatre establishment is still struggling to embrace, profoundly, anything other than the ‘text-based’ norm. This resistance to the ‘other’ isn’t only creative, it manifests itself in programming choices too, with venues scared to book what they see as risky theatre for anything other than one night in a studio space.
Inspiring imaginations to find new ways of theatre making is about more than a workshop, public forum, brief passing fashion or one night stand –it’s about a long-term commitment to, and recognition of ‘new’ and ‘other’ forms of theatre. It’s about giving this type of theatre a platform equal to that of text-based theatre, so new audiences can begin to experience and appreciate it.
If we’re to truly inspire imaginations to think of new ways of theatre making, then we have to embrace all forms of theatre and value them equally in our cultural landscape.
More on Theatre Ad Infinitum....
Theatre Ad Infinitum is a multi-award-winning international ensemble based in London and Toronto that develops new and original theatre for multi-cultural audiences.
We all share a passion for innovative theatre making that speaks to a global community, and create performances that harness the universal language of the body. Drawing on our differences in culture, nationality, and language we produce a unique and engaging form of theatre unified by our commitment to the audience.
That you may be moved, challenged and inspired by our work is our first priority.
More on George Mann...
George Mann is a practitioner, actor, writer and director. George trained for two years at the École Internationale de Théatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris 2006 and graduated from Royal Holloway University of London with a degree in Theatre Studies in 2004. George formed Theatre Ad Infinitum in 2006, writing, directing and performing in Behind the Mirror at the Pleasance in Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe 2008. The company’s debut went on to receive critical acclaim, and Arts Council funding for a spring 2009 tour in the UK. George co-devised and co-wrote Odyssey, the company’s second piece that was a sell-out hit that continues to tour the globe. George received The Stage Best Solo Performer Award 2009 for his one man performance of Homer’s classic tale directed by Nir Paldi. George wrote, directed and performs in Translunar Paradise, Ad Infinitum’s fourth production and a multi-award winning sell out at the Edinburgh Festival 2011. The piece has picked up eight awards to date and is still touring around the world -Brazil, Colombia, Bosnia & Herzagovina, Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, Norway and all over the UK. His experience includes co-directing Peer Gynt with Ahuris Theatre in Japan; Musical Director, Composer, and Actor with Compagnie Act Theatre in France; running workshops for the National Youth Theatre, many schools and universities, and he is also a Visiting Acting Tutor at Rose Bruford Drama College. George has performed with compagnie Le Jacquerie and Plateform Théatre in Paris, France, and worked with Gardzienice Theatre Company lead by Wlodzimierz Staniewski in Poland.
It's A Wonderful Place by Theatre Ad Infinitum
Multi-award winning Theatre Ad Infinitum takes you on an explosive journey to Israel. It’s a Wonderful Place is the testimony of an Israeli living in the UK seeing the Holy Land from outside. Enraged by injustice, stupidity, human cruelty and decades of lies, Nir Paldi has decided there’s only one thing he can do: put on his favourite party dress, climb into killer heels and don his finest stockings in the search for hope.
With an international all-female chorus and a mix of cabaret, cross-gender performance, physical storytelling and live music, Theatre Ad Infinitum embarks on their most ambitious project to date.
DATES AND DETAILS. This Sneak Peek is performed alongside Chewing Gum Dreams on Monday 12 Nov, 7.30pm. Tickets £12 (£10 concessions).
If you can't catch It's a Wonderful Place here, see it at TARA ARTS or REDBRIDGE DRAMA CENTRE
Interested in this debate? Feel like contributing your thoughts? Join us at our Platform event
THE PROCESS IS GOD: NEW WAYS TO DEVELOP NEW PLAYS
A new generation of artist that defies definition is knocking at our doors; how are we inspired to imagine a new way of theatre making and how can literary departments adapt to new ways of developing new plays?
Speakers include Sabrina Mahfouz, James Wilson (chair), Theatre Ad Infinitum, Unlimited Theatre, Suzanne Bell and Matt Burman
Mon 12 Nov, 5-6.45pm
- Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are purely the opinions of the author and not that of Bush Theatre.*