An Audience With… is off to a flying start and a new chapter. We are ‘on the road’ and currently meeting in each others homes and dancing in the kitchen. Our new name for ourselves is “The Kitchenettes”! We are also working on a big funding application to enable the women, their lived experience and knowledge of Variety Theatre and physical embodied knowledge to become available as an archive of national significance. Watch this space! In the meantime we hope to make another podcast or two that involves some other dancers from the Variety Era. Will keep you posted on this. In the meantime enjoy this wee video clip of Marie Duthie and Libby Daye, in the kitchen of course !
There is always much to share and never enough time to share it but suffice to say it has been a busy, unexpected and good year. Unexpected because, unplanned opportunities emerged and all of them with good people. Here is one of them. It’s European. It’s with older folks. It had no auditions. It connected with stone and rock and time and millennia and movement and the body and hopes for the future. Here’s to all of us connecting and creating a better future. As James Hutton founder of modern geology said “The future is constantly being created in the present”. All the best everyone for 2020
It’s November already. Oh, how I love the dark days and the golden leaves that fall. A definate time for coorie-ing in and hopefully some catching up on what I now call ‘the back-log’ of the list of things to do and people to contact which seems to grow and grow and grow. Apologies if you are on the list but we do, we really do, all of us, work too much.
It’s been busy of course. And here is a wee snap-shot of JPP’s late summer and early Autumn.
September began with ‘Writing The Body’. A delicious and glorious piece of work with the National Galleires of Scotland responding to and immersing in the writings of Bridget Riley. Following an open call, 17 people, some brand new to dance and some experienced (I love a mixture) were able to commit to the process. They were great. We went deep and we went fast, making work in only 6 evening rehearsals for a sold out public sharing on 18th September. It was such a privelege to work with these dancers and with Bridget Riley’s work. Here are some rehearsal images
Next came ‘Don’t Look Back’, a 3 day workshop process with Amateo – a European network supporting and developing community and participatory arts. The focus was art and older people and how brilliant it was to be working with 14 older folks from 7 European Countries, sharing their wisdom and experience, physically and intellectually. Collaborating with fellow artist Luke Pell, 350million year old Arthur’s Seat and geologist James Hutton’s concept of deep-time were our focus. Along with film-maker Tao-Anas Le Thanh we, together, made the short film ‘The future is constantly being created in the present” to be released shortly. Here are a few photos in the meantime
Finally for Autumn was “Playing with Books” as part of The Toronto International Festival of Authors, working with Miriam Toews book ‘Talking Woman’ scripted by Linda McLean and directed by Orla O’Loughlin. We originally did this for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and The Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre with a cast of brilliant Scottish actors. This time we had equally brilliant Canadian actors and felt the spirit of all 16 with us in the room. It’s a really important book, a privilege to be part of and the world need these women’s voices. Some photos
So, we are in October already. It rains as I write this, and Edinburgh glistens. I’m unusual in that I love both the rain and the dark and always feel more settled and at home in these kinds of days. An introverts paradise is how I think of them. However time does fly, work continues to blossom and here is some info on the three shows I worked on way-back in August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe and The International Book Festival.
The Basque Showcase at Dance Base in the Edinburgh Fringe went well. Earlier in the year I spent a week with Proyecto Collectivo HQPC in Donostia-San Sebastian mentoring and supporting them in their preparations for Edinburgh. After 3 days of Fringe performances they went off renewed in the politics and practice of their work, having made connections and contacts that will support and sustain their future, and were also renewed in their sense of cultural identity and where and how it overlaps with other spaces and places. A wheelchair using choreographer, Maylis Arrabit, is a rare phenomenon indeed. Bravo to Dance Base’s Morag Deyes for programming this diversity in and amongst an already gloriously diverse programme of work. It was a pleasure to be a small part of it. Here we all are after the final rehearsal in San Sebastian
I also had the pleasure of witnessing musician Rowan Rheingan’s performance of “Dispatches on the Red Dress”. A few months earlier Rowan and dramaturg Liam Hurley had invited me to spend a couple of days working with Rowan on the movement and physicality of the newly-forming show. I’ve started to language this work as facilitating artists to become embodied and emboldened – to discover and bring to the surface the movement language that they are searching for, a language that already exists somewhere in the body but is as yet undiscovered, unknown and sometimes hiding itself from the limelight. Anyhow, this was Rowan’s first piece of gig-theatre and I’m delighted to say that this self-funded bold and passionate adventure went on to win a Scotsman Fringe First Award (and also nominations for The Carol Tambor ‘Best of Edinburgh’ Award and the Filipa Braganca Award for Best Emerging Female Artist.) Thanks to the wonderful Karine Polwart for connecting us.
The next and final August sojourn was to work with the ever amazing Linda McLean and Orla O’Loughin on Playing With Books, a partnership between the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Linda adapted Canadian author Miriam Toews’ novel ‘Talking Women’ into a stage play and together with 8 stellar Scottish actors, directed by Orla we worked together over 4 days to create a sold out public sharing of the work in the Spiegaltent at the Book Festival. The book is tough, harrowing and ultimately supremely hopeful. Based on true events, ‘Talking Women’ is a testament to women and their means and mechanisms of survival and contribution to the world. The author has given each of the women characters a deep and particular gestural and movement language which is why I was there, supporting the understanding and embodiement of its place in the overall work and in each of the characters. The world needs these women and I’m delighted to say that at the end of this month Linda, Orla and I are going to the Toronto International Festival of Authors to repeat the process and this time with 8 Canadian actors.
SO great to share this and to have been a small part of making it happen and bringing it into being, thanks to the brilliant Emmie McLuskey and 1973 – Archiving The Live. The traces of 40 years of practice continues to make unexpected connections
Truth be known I’m not so good at all this social media and putting things out in the world stuff. I’ve just this minute published a post from a few months back that I’ve only just realised had gone unpublished. I have a very brilliant web-site creator – Richard Cross of Controlx – who patiently teaches me the same things over and over again, and keeps hearing me say the words I’m going to be working on the web-site soon!
Anyhow I guess I’m working on it now, in this moment. What has struck me is the inconsistency in all the posts under works – the amount and type of information available, the quality of the images and all the work that is missing. I see this as a reflection of what resources were available at the time e.g. I have no digital photos prior to 2003 (although my iphoto library does register something as 1923!?) and hardly any photos at all prior to that. The images used are very poor quality screen grabs from film footage. My iphoto library also shows me that my first good(ish) phone camera arrived around 2009 when the volume of photos in my library becomes abundant.
Also affecting the amount and quality of information and imagery in each works post is the resources which surrounded each of the choreographies and projects. Often work with non-traditionally trained dancers is not particularly valued or well resourced so there is literally no budget for a photographer or photos. When I started working in Germany a lot around 2005 developing Community Dance with Royston Maldoom, Tamara McLorg, Mags Byrne and Suz Broughton our work was really valued and starting then I have an abundance of very gorgeous photographs of the work and the people in it – those glorious dancing people.
The question is – what to do with them all? I feel I owe it to the dancers and the work that they made to have their photographs live in the world somehow
It’s been a while. Truth be known I find it hard to keep up with all the social media outlets and as a natural introvert am never quite at ease writing and posting. But the folks and organizations I work with and collaborate with deserve it. So here’s a wee update on An Audience With…
An Audience With… at the Festival Theatre is going strong. These women, professional dancers from the Variety Era are strong and feisty! We dance regularly, teach tap class, run a workshop for a local care home and are working with the Festival Theatre on their archive – naming the performers in the photographs and bringing life to the acts in which they performed. Bear in mind Marie Duthie, Doreen Leighton-Ward, June Don-Murray and Betty Clarkson are aged between 86 and 98 and know, or performed in and with, many of the acts on the playbills that line the walls of the Festival Theatre. It’s exciting, heady stuff!
We also had a visit from Jackie Dennis, Scotland’s first pop-star, what a generous and gracious man he is, with many a story to tell. It was a pleasure to meet him
And we are looking for TAP SHOES – any size, style, colour, condition. If you’ve a pair going spare please hand them in to Festival Theatre STAGE DOOR or contact me directly. We want more folks to tap without fear and with joy and style !
So, at last I’m giving some priority to sitting down and reacquainting my self with the website. I hope to be working on it over the next few months, up-dating its content, trimming it down and thinking about its point and purpose in these times of overload and need to be known on-line. I think for me the website is a way of acknowledging and recognizing the people, the partnerships, and the collaborations that I have met and worked with over the years. And perhaps it is a way of knowing the shoulders we stand on. I do know that if the website exists at all then for me, it will have to be detailed, accurate, nuanced and personal. Talking of shoulders we stand on here’s a video of An Audience With… Variety Era Dancers Doreen Leighton-Ward and Marie Duthie, aged 86 and 95 respectively. I am privileged to know and work with these women. We recently had well over 3,000 views for a slightly longer version of this video on twitter (@janicemparker ) and are quite overwhelmed at the response to one of our regular Monday gatherings at Edinburgh’s, Festival Theatre. Enjoy!
Firstly we at JPP want to thank everyone for their support and concern – overwhelming in the best of ways and very, very appreciated. Thank you. We are currently reflecting on and working out what no longer being an RFO means for us and our way of working. We will keep you posted as we develop and change.
A wee word from Janice:
Thanks folks for all your support and good wishes – they really help and mean a lot! It is certainly a tumultuous time and I feel saddened, shocked, perplexed and concerned. I am not talking about me specifically or us at JPP here, though we are certainly in the mix, I am talking about the bigger picture of our cultural landscape, our sustainability, the simplicity, complexity and suitability of funding structures for all kinds of artists, our diversity, our development and how we move forward from this point. I will be, and am, addressing this on many levels.
There are questions to be asked and actions to be taken.
We are an incredible nation of vibrant heart-full, diverse, intelligent, responsible and very accountable artists, with a worldwide reputation in participatory arts, disability-led arts, children’s theatre and work with older people. I am really proud to be part of that landscape, culture and heritage. We need to work together to nurture, maintain and continue to develop this. Lets do it…..
I am also delighted at all the good news held within the 2018-2021 RFO ‘portfolio’ – Go for it ! x
We are delighted to share these presentations from our two Saltire Society Bursary artists – Aby Watson and Julia McGhee. What’s been exciting for us is to witness how both artists, as a result of the bursary, have moved into unexpected places and directions and have also developed the participatory and community aspects of their practice. Dance and people – nice!
The bursary finished at the end of 2017 and we wish both Aby & Julia much luck for the future. Look out for them!
We are at capacity for our three shows of ‘An Audience With…‘ at the Empire Rooms at Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Janice, June, Doreen, Marie, Daisy and Katie are ready to dance (and chat!) on 21, 26 & 28 October. Read all about the project here.
We are looking for new members to join our Board of Directors.
We welcome applications from individuals with a variety of experiences and backgrounds in:
– dance world;
– small arts organisations and their strategic development;
– artistic participatory practice;
– marginalised and under-represented communities;
– D/deaf and disabled people.
In November 2015 Janice began work on a mentoring project in Barcelona aimed at supporting the professional development of local disabled dancers in choreographic practice. The project is led by British Council Spain.
Janice reflects on the project in this extract from Disability Arts International: “The politics of my practice lies in the area of ‘who and what is not yet valued, why is it not and what are we missing because of this?’ When the British Council invited me to lead this nine-day workshop aimed at supporting the professional development of local disabled dancers in choreographic practice, I thought this was right up my street… the start of a new revolution, new voices and visions, investment in the next generation of innovative, provocative dance-makers, aiming for excellence… I could go on.
“Ten dancers signed up. We began with questions about choreography. We talked about the politics of disability-led dance and where it sits in the world currently and historically. And we looked at each person’s kernel of an idea as the start of an enquiry, as an investigation and as a deep desire to make and create dance. It was a process, not of training as such, but one of sharing and exchange, a dialogue and collaboration that unfolds, where the emergent choreographers were authors from the start.
“The vocabulary, because of the bodies creating it, was deliciously diverse and innovative. I witnessed people work deeply and thoroughly into their own movement possibility. Some of that vocabulary was breathtaking and hugely exciting. Some of it was funny, or politically pointed. My belief is that dance needs these new vocabularies. We need innovation in form and function. Art is not and never has been in its essence, something that has stood still. Diversity and difference in body types, languages and vocabularies of movement, and in life experience bring with it the potential for deep innovation, radical challenge and a development of current contemporary practice.
“For me, what was particular about Barcelona, was the sheer number of disabled dancers attending the workshop, along with their confidence in and awareness of the landscape of their own bodies. They are hungry and on fire, ready to go further into choreographic practice and thinking, and to take risks. There is also real potential, and interest, within the city and its cultural organisations to further develop the existing infrastructure, resources and opportunities for these emerging choreographers to continue on their journey. Through sharing practice, politics and experience we can do this on an international level and on a local level at the same time, building partnerships and working collaboratively together.”
You can read the full article from Disability Arts International, here.
We are thrilled at the news that ‘One Way Or Another’ by one of our Saltire Awardees, Aby Watson, has just been announced as one of this year’s Unlimited Emerging Artist Commissions. Congratulations to Aby, and we look forward to what’s to come next. We are so glad to be able to support her on her journey.
Aby Watson, one of our Saltire Society Bursary recipients, is currently on the search for fellow dyspraxic performers to take part in her new work called ‘One way or another’. There’s more information about the project and the call out at the link:
Influential feminist artist Suzanne Lacy visited Scotland in 2007, and invited sixteen artists, theorists and curators to form an intense, unique learning space entitled Working in Public. Records of this gathering found in Janice’s archive are the starting point of a discussion between Adele Patrick (GWL), Janice and other Working in Public participants about creative legacies and feminist archiving, as Glasgow Women’s Library celebrates its 25th anniversary.
In January, Janice was joined by our Makar Jackie Kay, at City Art Centre (Edinburgh), to discuss Janice’s archival exhibition 1973, and Jackie’s own archive and on knowing the present in objects of the past…
Don’t forget, our exhibition 1973 – Archiving The Live opens this Wed 18th January at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre. Come and peruse Janice’s collection of 44 years’ worth of memorabilia in the 5th Floor Gallery. Engage in some great chat with Janice about what the archive means to her, and to you, whilst enjoying stunning views of the Forth. If you can’t join us in Edinburgh, then catch us at Glasgow Women’s Library 30 Jan – 11 Feb.
City Art Centre (5th Floor)
18/19/20/22/25/26 Jan 2017 / 11am-4.30pm
Glasgow Women’s Library
30 Jan – 11 Feb 2017 / 11am–4pm (Sat 12pm-4pm, Closed Sun)
This performative exhibition of Janice’s personal collection of 44 years charts her practice through time and social history. What began as a memory aid now has a touch of the collector’s obsession about it.
1973 exists as a catalyst and generator of questions, reflections and exchange. Janice and collaborator Luke Pell will invite thinkers, doers and dance-makers to join them over four weeks in two different cities and spaces.
1973 will be constantly active, convivial and performative, hosting a think-tank, conversations and dancing. It is open to the public throughout each day – you are warmly invited to drop by anytime, or join us at one of our special events.
The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, with movement direction by Janice, is selling out at the McKittrick Hotel in New York, and has been listed in the New York Times Top 5 shows this season. Brilliant news for a brilliant cast and crew!
We are delighted to announce that last night we awarded TWO winners of our first Dance Artist Development Bursary in partnership with The Saltire Society. Thanks to match funding from JPP, both Aby Watson and Julia McGhee are proud recipients. Aby was there at the Saltire Awards at Oran Mor to receive her award with Janice.
‘You Said You Liked The Dancing’ made with folks from Town Break Stirling was screened to start off Scottish Care’s conference today in Glasgow. What a lovely thing – we hope the conference is a good day of deep and inspired thinking and sharing for everyone involved.
The Celtic Connections 2017 programme has just been announced, including Karine Polwart’s beautiful Wind Resistance, which features movement direction by Janice. It’s another packed programme with acts from across the globe: http://www.celticconnections.com/
Janice is delighted to be celebrating with Platform today for their EPIC Celebration Day, marking the end of their 10th birthday celebrations.
The day will feature the première of a specially commissioned film documenting the tenth year in the life of Platform by Geraldine Heaney, live performance of the composition When We Grow Younger created by Malcolm Lindsay in collaboration with pupils from Sunnyside Primary, talks by Matthew Ward and David McCluskey from Sense Scotland, Rhiana Laws, Janice Parker and our recent artist in residence Deirdre Nelson. We are also delighted to announce that Joanna Ostrom and Chris Sonnex from Good Chance Calais Project will present a film followed by a presentation. The day will end with a special performance of Rules of the Dancefloor – perfect for all ages.
“Happy 10th anniversary Platform – what great work and a great programme!”
This Thursday Janice is at Cove Park for an evening of dance themed short films selected by herself and young dancers from Cove & Kilcreggan Youth Cafe. The Dance Film Night is for 11-18 year olds in Argyll & Bute with a passion for all and any dance, whether you’re a performer or not. The films will be introduced by the dancers, who will invite you to share and discuss your thoughts on the films.
This Friday at Cove Park, Argyll & Bute, Janice is hosting a free dance and movement workshop for anyone over 50. The workshop is built around her archive of 43 years of creating dance with people (her archive will be on display during the day) and is for all abilities (participants will dance seated and standing) and levels of experience, from first timers to professional dancers. Spread the word!
Just ONE WEEK LEFT to apply for our brand new dance bursary, created in partnership with The Saltire Society. The recipient will be awarded £2,500, plus a membership to the Saltire Society and regular support from Janice Parker Projects.
This week, Janice is in Malmo, Sweden for dance festival Forever DANCE, where she is leading a workshop for dance teachers, dancers and people working within health and medicine. More information on their fabulous website:
On Thursday we had a wonderful time at Scotland’s Dementia Awards in Glasgow, where we were runners up in the ‘Best Dementia Friendly Community Initiative’ category for our Forget Me Not Project with Festival City Theatre Trust. More information about this brilliant project soon…
Janice Parker Projects are delighted to announce their new Dance Artist Development Bursary in partnership with The Saltire Society.
As part of The Saltire Society’s ‘Inspiring Scotland” programme and 80th Anniversary celebrations, Janice Parker Projects are thrilled to be offering, for the first time, a Dance Artist Development Bursary to support an emerging artist who puts people, place and collaboration at the centre of their work. The bursary recipient will be awarded £2,500, enabling them to undertake a project over the course of a year. In addition, the artist will be offered a one-year membership to the Saltire Society and regular support from Janice Parker Projects.
Janice Parker Projects are known for their passion for and commitment to diversity in dance. They want to work with dance artists who are different, who are inspired by people, place and collaboration, to put forward proposals on how they would use this bursary to develop their practice and contribute to the current and future ecology of dance. The artist will have the opportunity to develop a project of their own in response to this call out, with support from Janice Parker Projects over the course of the year. The award will be made to an emerging dance artist, of any age, who offers an imaginative and searching enquiry and can demonstrate how the award and working with Janice Parker Projects can benefit their artistic development.
Janice returned to Romania in May 2016 to rehearse a new disability-led community choreography called ‘Everybody Dance’ in the Casa de Cultura in Fagaras, with Pete Ayres, Kirsteen Mair, Anke Böttcher, and film-maker Martin Clark
“Working in Sercaia and Fagaras I’m so impressed by the huge passion, enthusiasm and energy of the dancers. We had so many different people dancing – well over 200! So great to collaborate with. Fabulous! I look forward to sharing this in Scotland.”
Board of Directors,
Janice Parker Projects CIC
We welcome applications from individuals with a variety of experiences and backgrounds in:
An interest in arts & equalities.
– A maximum of 6 meetings’ a year (minimum 4) in Edinburgh for 2-3 hours at a time.
– Papers will be sent approx. seven days in advance to give Directors the chance to review.
– Occasional email conversations between meetings if an important area needs actioned (recruitment, funding news, etc).
– An occasional phone call where specific advice is needed on an area that the Director has specialist experience/knowledge of.
Application: please download the JPP Board JD here (next deadline is 30 April 2016).
Following her visit to Barcelona with the British Council and Institute de Teatre, Janice went on to visit Holland Dance’s DanceAble conference in The Hague.
Janice said of her travels:
“Everyone is pushing for more and better recognition for disabled dancers. It was great to meet so many enlightened colleagues, and to see so much exciting, quality work. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute.”