ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

Full Report 31 Our approach The aim of the residency was to bring a way of working and story creation through movement to the care home. We wanted to use the methodology of storytelling used by New Adventures in this setting, in which the inspiration for the work would be from the lives of the residents. Photo: Stephen Daly The initial phase 20192020 At the start of the project, our then Resident Artist, Paul Smethurst ran workshops with residents and staff at St Fillans. As we got to know people and the home community, our vision formed: to bring a live theatre experience to St Fillans, building a stage outside in the front carpark. We planned to create a new dance piece, comprised of material, movement, and stories, gathered in workshops with the residents. Our aim was to create a blended performance, with an intergenerational cast made up of residents themselves, together with members of the local cast company of New Adventures’ touring production of Romeo and Juliet. In March 2020 this plan was put on hold as St Fillans and the country locked down. Overview: 2022 onwards Following the restrictions that came out of the pandemic and with a new project team we decided to create a dance film based on the lives of the care home residents so that it could be created even if there were restrictions around visiting the care home. We recruited three key artists to deliver the project. Emily Piercy and Alan Vincent are two of our lead dance artists and deliver workshops across our Take Part programme. Emily has been specialising in developing a dance workshop practice for working with people in care homes and living with dementia. Together with Alan, she would deliver the workshops. Anjali Mehra is a former dancer with the company and a choreographer and director. Anjali would work with Alan and Emily to curate and form the stories and experiences with the residents to create a dance film produced by our regular film collaborators, Tea Films. Anjali, Emily and Alan worked together, in consultation with St Fillans to plan ten workshops with residents that would give people a taster of a dance session. This would be set up like an informal, social tea dance and the residents responded well to the familiarity of it. We would then follow up with chats over tea, and with information from the staff and family members start to group together stories and experiences from the residents. Anjali then started to create a storyboard with what we learned about the residents. She looked for themes and settings that came up time and time again as well as ensuring that we brought the residents and their lives into the film. We moved on to the filming phase in October 2022. We shot in a number of locations in London and Essex, including at St Fillans.