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Takeover 2016 - What we got up to


It is always interesting when different artists from different backgrounds come together to collaborate on an artistic project, it opens up the spectrum of possibilities. In this case, Graham Hicks a freelance theatre practitioner and I worked with a range of young people to nurture their imaginations and creative desires to explore a building using a range of art forms.  This project in particular is heavily person centred and celebrates the individuals involved in the project.  Cheshire Dance and Action Transport worked with a group on 18-20 young people to TAKEOVER the space at Whitby Hall. It is process oriented, we did not need to create something but by the end of day one the young people had already started to shape their ideas in to short performance work.

It all starts with a sample of simple questions; how can we use each space? What is in each space? How can we alter the space? How can we shift the space? What can we present in this space?
The answers are complex, ambitious and extremely bizarre. An example of this we turned the glass lift in to an oven, using a red light, and the three gingerbread men- performed a movement piece in the compact space to show their ideas using movement and captions on text. This is why I love this work- because spaces can be used in different ways to transform! Different people respond to a site in different ways, and everyone has their own ideas for the space, their own interests and their own skill set. We filled one room with voice recordings- a lamp and a Dictaphone. It was Graham and I that needed to challenge and stretch their artistic input so that they could take on tasks that they would never be able to imagine. Lots of the people involved had never engaged in dance, drama, writing, singing and photography. The project allowed them all to experience something new. By the end of three days we had a multi- disciplinary performance that took the audience on a journey, had an interesting narrative and creative use of the space with different intentions.

The young people's ideas were brillian! Most of the young people has never danced and would not consider themselves to be a dancer, so we moved together in a variety of ways. We tried street dance, yoga, animalistic movement, moving in masks, we improvised dancing like we were at a party, we did childlike playful movement games, we used railings and walls to climb, to roll, to turn and fold and shift in space, they moved using props, they used the environment to make their own movements. They were dancing, and performing physical and theatrical movements.
I was very proud of all of the young people in this project, for giving everything a go, and making an ambitious and challenging piece of work that they performed to friends, family and the Action Transport and Cheshire Dance team. What an epic three days!

Design By Balance