Magnetic North Blog
Magnetic North is developing a new performance project based on the book Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland. The book explores the strong connections between folk tales and forests, and investigates our forest-dwelling roots. Our adaptation will use live music (particularly traditional/folk) and storytelling. The team working with Magnetic North’s Artistic Director Nicholas Bone is writer Martin O’Connor, songwriter Kirsty Law and three performers: Biff Smith, Kirsty Eila McIntyre and Claire Eliza Willoughby (you can read more about them at the end of this post).
We were due to begin work on the adaptation with a development week beginning today at Summerhall, but like everyone else we have had to re-think our plans very quickly. Half the team is based in Edinburgh, the other half in Glasgow. Once the advice about only undertaking essential travel was given, we realised that it wouldn’t be possible to all be in the same physical space. After talking to everyone, it was apparent that people still wanted to work, even if we couldn’t all be physically in the same place. So this morning, we’ll start an experiment in working together separately. The three Edinburgh artists all live within walking distance of Summerhall and will meet in a studio big enough to mean they can be in the same room while maintaining the suggested physical distance from each other. We will undertake tasks, including learning the song that Kirsty Law has written, and at times the other three will join us via a video-conferencing app. How will it work? We don’t know, but we will talk about it at the end of each day and see how we feel. It’ll be a learning experience, but we are all going to have to get used to doing things differently over the next few months.
We'd love to ask how we can support our network of artists in these strange times.
Independent artists are used to uncertainty, it goes with the territory, but at the moment it feels like the ground is shifting underneath us all. Isolation is something that all artists feel at times, but right now it feels more important than ever to consider what we can do to help each other. With this in mind, do you have any thoughts about how we might usefully facilitate connections over the next few weeks? There seem to be plenty of Facebook groups springing up, so it doesn’t seem worth adding to this burgeoning field but we could perhaps run regular group video chats, or have an ‘art-buddy’ scheme. You will certainly have better ideas, so please let us know what you want from us.
With best wishes from all of us at Magnetic North,
Nick, Verity, James and Caitlin.
We are developing a new performance project based on the book Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland. The book explores the strong connections between folk tales and forests, and investigates our forest-dwelling roots. Our adaptation will use live music (particularly traditional/folk) and storytelling. We are currently looking for three performers for a development week from 23-27 March 2020 in Edinburgh.
The breakdown is as follows:
1 musician/performer – this is primarily a musical role but will also involve some dialogue, so it needs someone who is confident with this as well as being a highly-skilled musician with experience of folk/traditional styles. Experience of working on arrangements, especially with songwriters, would be useful.
2 actor/musicians – confident theatre performers with experience of storytelling and strong musical skills (instrumental and/or vocal) and an understanding of folk/traditional music.
Experience of both devising and working with a playwright would be invaluable.
Fee of £500, plus travel or relocation (as appropriate) at ITC rates if based more than 25 miles from Edinburgh.
For more information about Magnetic North and its work, please visit magneticnorth.org.uk
There are paid opportunities for experienced artists, early-career artists, and performers to take part. It is open to artists and performers from any art form. Applicants from Scotland with experience of puppetry will also be able to apply to take part in the Scotland-Quebec Puppetry Exchange programme being run jointly by Magnetic North, Puppet Animation Scotland, and Casteliers, Montreal.
Experienced and early-career artists should download a PDF with full information, including links to the online application forms, here.
Performers should download a PDF with full information, including links to the online application forms, here.
The deadlines for applications are:
1pm (UK), 23rd September 2019 for experienced and early-career artists (including Scotland-Quebec Puppetry Exchange).
1pm (UK), 7th October 2019 for performers.
Space/Time is a paid creative retreat for experienced artists from all disciplines that asks the question “How does an artist keep developing?”
It aims to refresh participants through a stimulating examination of creativity. During the residency, we will explore how creativity can be nourished and how artists can continue challenging themselves to develop.
The residency combines facilitated dialogue - built around a series of self-generated questions - with time for individual reflection and work. It is led by Nicholas Bone and Alice McGrath.
The artists taking part are:
Cathy Forde is a writer from Glasgow. She has written many books for children and young adults and her plays have been produced by National Theatre of Scotland, A Play Pie Pint at Oran Mor and by BBC Radio. She also works extensively as a mentor and creative writing tutor.
Daniel Padden is a composer and musician making music and sound for theatre, screen and live performance. His work has included film, orchestral scores, children's theatre, tape collages, vocal improvisation and experimental rock music. He has recently created and co-directed 'WhirlyGig', a theatre piece for families exploring the absurd conventions of musicianship and performance.
Alyson Hallett is an award-winning poet and her latest pamphlet Toots was shortlisted for the Michael Marks and Callum MacDonald Memorial Awards. She has also published fiction and drama and has collaborated with visual artists, musicians, dancers and sculptors. She lives in Somerset and curates The Migration Habits of Stones, a poetry and public art project
Rob Young trained in theatre design, spent 13 years in photographic archives and 20 more as an award-winning writer, working for the UK’s top TV, film and theatre companies. He is currently working on a project about children with chronic, complex pain and his new play opens at Buxton Opera House in January 2020.
Emma Jayne Park
Emma Jayne Park works under the creative handle Cultured Mongrel as a dancer, theatre maker, collaborator and micro-activist. She is obsessed with finding ways to ask better questions. From creating dance with young dancers in rural community spaces to working as a movement director in established mid-scale theatres, her politics always underline her practice with a focus on creating healthy working spaces, questioning hierarchies, collaborative working and aspiring to positive social change. Her research focuses on bridging the gap between ideology and practice, exploring themes including identity, communication, failure, re-authorship and creative ownership.
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