Edinburgh Makars making merry
Challenge number 1 – finding the venue. With the help of Google maps I negotiated the roadworks and headed down in the direction of Leith (I was a pedestrian so it wasn’t too bad). When my phone announced “You have arrived at your destination” I knew I had to head down a small lane with cobblestones. Luckily Anthea was looking out for me, she took me through the blue door and up into 2 rooms – a kitchen with some enticing biscuits and cups that we would put to good use later on and a large rehearsal room. Furniture from various decades was placed around the edges of the room, photographs from recent productions were proudly displayed on the wall. It was a welcoming space with plenty of room for a workshop.
Edinburgh Makars have decided to have a club night on Mondays which they hope to theme in different ways. In addition to workshops they will hold play reading evenings and other similar activities. I really like this idea, often groups say to me that one of the things they want to do more of is to create a club environment bearing in mind not everyone is directly involved in each production. Many of the challenges the Makars face are common amongst groups I visit – having sufficient people who want to be involved in front of house, behind the scenes and as office bearers. In addition it is increasingly difficult to find affordable venues to perform in – audiences like the familiarity of a regular venue if possible. I had never considered this before – it is easy to assume that a city like Edinburgh is filled with suitable venues.
The group wanted to focus on physicality. This area is relatively new to me in terms of delivering workshops and I find I am continually learning each time I deliver it. The group fully engaged with every exercise we did – I checked in with them as we went through the evening as I had left allowed lots of space for feedback and discussion as we went through the evening and I was worried that the pace wasn’t quick enough. It seemed that the group appreciated the chance to mull things over and to think about how to use some of the things we experimented with not just how the techniques worked. Everyone felt that it had the potential to create a further dimension to characters and the more I work in this area the more convinced I am of the benefits.
Taking the spoken text out of the equation is very liberating rather than restricting and the group could pinpoint times when they think this approach would have helped them in previous productions. We talked about the fact that this could be difficult when time is short and it is important to be convinced that investing time into something new requires not only a degree of bravery but a belief that the benefits will make it worthwhile.
The time flew by and it was soon time for me to get the train back to Glasgow. I don’t think it will be too long before I am heading back to the Edinburgh Makars as we started talking about “what next” which is always a good sign.
Thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome. See you down the road.