We’re getting on a bit now, and over the years we’ve managed to build up a lot of knowledge about what we do. And we want to share that. We’re passionate about the value of this work and are always happy to help others develop projects, either through running workshops to get you up and running, or in giving talks to stimulate interest. And if you just want to have us along to work with you for a few hours to see how we all get on then this is the place to start.
Andy Barrett has written nearly forty community plays, the majority of which have been for Excavate. He was introduced to the community play as a teenager, performing in three plays in the early eighties created by Ann Jellicoe and the Colway Community Theatre Trust, in many ways the birthplace of the modern idea of what a community play is. He is currently carrying out doctoral research on the heritage and memory based community play.
Alongside his work for Excavate he has also written shows for a wide range of theatre companies and for BBC Radio, including the Sony award winning Lily’s Years and The Perfect Wood, featuring Geoffrey Palmer and Stephanie Cole. Michael Billington praised his version of the early Ibsen play The League of Youth, and The Times chose his ‘cloning meets country and western musical’ Dolly as one of the five best plays of 2010.
Andy is able to offer talks and run workshops on many aspects of writing for community theatre, producing site-specific work, and creating shows that work around notions of heritage.
What exactly is site-specific theatre? What are its challenges and what are its rewards? How do you shape a narrative to embrace the space in which it is played? How can performers be heard? What kind of risk assessments are necessary? Where do you get power to the middle of nowhere to light the performers?
With over fifteen years of producing work in some of the most challenging, evocative and unusual spaces imaginable we are able to offer talks and workshops that look at the demands of site specific work.
If this is something that you or your organisation are particularly interested in developing then we can design a workshop or residency with you (anything from a day to a week) to create a site specific work which will help you develop the necessary skills and knowledge to create larger projects in the future.
Arts and heritage are becoming ever more intertwined. But there are many issues around this work, especially around the merging of fact and fiction. How do you go about gathering research material? What are the ethics of doing audio recorded interviews and creating texts based on people’s memories? What is the best way to preserve what may end up being a substantial body of research that may have uses in the future? What kind of digital archives can be created from this work?
Over the years Excavate have developed a way of working that has lead to the creation of a vast pool of knowledge and information about the history and identity of communities. And increasingly we have found ways to share this using other forms than live performance (although this is always at the heart of what we do). This has included the making of films, websites, audio recordings, books and smartphone apps.
We are able to offer talks or design workshops based on these issues which may help you or your organisation to realise the potential of using heritage as the base for an arts project, as well as to explore the ways to get the most out of such a project.
Members of our team turn up at your venue with props, costumes, music and paint and from then on who knows what will happen. Working with participants of any age this energetic workshop leads to the making of a performance for an invited or an unsuspecting audience.
We are happy to tailor this workshop to your needs – the number and age of participants, the venue in which you would like to work, and what you want to happen at the end of our time together. If you want to know more then please get in touch.
This highly successful workshop allows for up to fifteen participants to work intensively over a day to create a site specific audio installation. We identify and record sounds from the immediate locale, work with audacity to layer these into an evocative soundscape, write and add text to create an intimate audio performance for an audience of one (at a time), and then set up a public performance space for passers-by to listen to the work that has been made. This workshop explores the ways in which we ignore what is going on around us; about how we rarely truly listen to the specific sounds of the places where we live and work; and about how engaging with a stranger for a few minutes can be a magical experience. It’s a workshop that always leads to interesting encounters and conversations, and the creation of often very surprising work.
Creating a piece of site specific theatre is exciting. A team of people have to work together to ensure that things go exactly as planned. And there are always, always unexpected issues to deal with. A sound system mysteriously stops working. An actor trips over and sprains their ankle in the warm up (this has never happened, but you get the idea). It starts to rain.
Working over a period of anything from two to five days (it can be longer if you wish) Excavate will work with your team to create a unique performance. You can choose the location, or we will. It will require long hours of work, a large degree of multi-tasking, and the ability to run around shouting excitedly into a walkie talkie.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Excavate can work with you to design a team building activity then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org