What an amazing process the early development of I LOVE YOU BABY has been.
The super-objective was to explore process and audience engagement for an innovative piece of work which will play out to crossover audiences on the middle scale.
A new play embracing digital technology, diverse audiences, major roles for actors with Downs Syndrome and the exploration of a new rehearsal room methodology which means every actor (whatever their differences) can work with equality.
A full development draft was written of a 2 hour long, 3 act, comedy (which luckily did make people laugh and want to know what happens next). Outreach workshops were modelled and delivered to dozens of people where learning the dance and singing the song proved big hits.
A day and a half’s rehearsal resulted in 50 minutes of off book up on its feet (seat of pants but flying) performance by a total of 7 terrific actors. Two scratch performances played to mixed, critical and appreciative houses in the round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and at the Lowry.
The mini residency at the Stephen Joseph Theatre was immersive, dynamic and terrifically exciting. This piece of film gives an impression of the work to that point and that first performance process:
Creative team members designer Pip Leckenby, digital projection designer Mic Pool and composer Loz Kaye filled audiences in on their ideas to bring the eventual production to life and cast logged their impressions of the work and process below:
Thousands of views, hits, likes and digital engagements were had across the globe for this blog, films, attendant posts, native content and its satellites and interest in the work continues to grow.
The possibilities for next steps in the works’ development, both real and virtual are many and interesting, and all involve working in new ways with many different kinds of artists and people to engage people in a human story and eventually to a theatrical event.
I’m taking a breather to assimilate the learnings and this blog will be back in the New Year when the next stage in the journey will begin.
In the meantime many thanks the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Chris Monks, Cheryl Govan and the Outreach department, Matt Eames at the Lowry, all actors engaged to this process, the creative team and especially to Lynda Hornsby, Dark Horse theatre and the ensemble for being fantastic project partners and an exceptional company to work with.
Thank you Arts Council for the Grants for the Arts funding which allowed this project to happen and to the Peggy Ramsay Foundation for the support of the writing process (Its a frustrating fact that playwrights have to shut the door and sit still for a period of time in order to be able to produce work).
The project was a huge success and enforces the need and desire for full representation of learning disabled characters and actors on stages across the UK.
This work is important, inspiring for everyone who comes into contact with it and is where tomorrows theatre needs to be.
It’s only just begun.