Last week I was working concurrently at Artsadmin with emerging artists from MA courses at Goldsmith’s ,and Jamie McCarthy, and with the community group, and Ellie Sikorski at Mulberry School for Girls, on the theme of thankfulness to the body. It was fascinating to transfer ways of working from one place to the other, and to get new ideas. With both groups we created the outline of a person on the floor, (nicknamed Mavis) on whom to put our stories. With the group at Artsadmin, we had a big pile of lovely found objects, and people placed their little piece of text with an object. Then I asked them to bring more objects to represent the stories that they did not want to voice. The
atmosphere changed and the figure filled up with potent images. The group created short solo movement pieces of all the stories, told and untold, and then thought about how much or little they wanted the audience to know what the stories were about. Should they point and say “Uterus” ?, said one of the women. This balance between the told and the untold stories is also present in the community group. At the moment all the stories they are telling concern the extremities – head, hands, feet, neck. One of the volunteers spoke about
keeping her hands warm by sticking the under her thighs, and it suddenly felt as though the human territory had expanded. As facilitators I would guess we all feel more concern and feel more responsible within the community group – these are women from 14 to 80 odd who have only just met . They are not seasoned performers. We don’t want to push anybody to either tell or even visit what might be difficult moments that concern theri bodies. At the same time, I know that the moment at Artsadmin when ‘Mavis’ began to fill up with untold stories (that didn’t need to be voiced) , we deepened the process, and this is something we wanted in both groups.