ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence

Last Tuesday – Grapple time

Last Tuesday night, Rose and I were lone rangers at Shopfront but nevertheless, we used the time productively. Our aim was to return to basics and really grapple with each element of the show to get at the heart of what we’re trying to say. For Rose, it was a great opportunity to get her head round the project as whole. More importantly, it allowed her to begin to find her own interest in the project and approach it from a more personal place (and not just simply as “my” project). It was great to discuss the aspects of the show that excited her / she connected with but also the ideas which she felt distanced by. Personally, this process of Rose becoming more creatively involved in the project couldn’t come at a better time, as I was beginning to grow weary of pushing everything myself and being restricted by my own thinking. I found the night extremely refreshing and challenging, as I really had to think about my intentions and purpose. We brainstormed like a boss on butchers paper (if only I thought to take a photo!), which allowed me to find greater clarity in my ideas. I’ve listed a few of the major points below:


– Focus of future interviews with people with dementia – notion of PRESENCE and being PRESENT – creates contrast with my written text (i.e. “Rich Kids Blues” or RKB for short) which deals with OBSESSION with past unpleasure – our thinking is that we should focus predominantly on interviewees Margaret and Gordon and their present situation (i.e., relationship, joys, challenges etc)

– I think people with dementia are too often judged against their past selves. By focusing on the people they are today and their present relationships, I feel we can subvert common thinking and reveal the innate humanity of people with dementia.

– Rose is great at challenging ideas – big questions to ask – Why make this show? What’s our purpose? What questions are we interested in and what questions are unresolved? (If we already knew all the answers, then the piece would lack energy and immediacy)

– Some of my responses – to give a voice to the dementia community – to give a voice to my feelings (an inherently self-indulgent act but one which I feel is synonymous to theatre making and one which is acknowledged through my involvement in the performance of the piece)

– Necessity of pulling the RKB text apart to find the core ideas – explore on the floor with Rose and not simply from a textual/intellectual point of view with Matt


I best leave it at that. All in all, Tuesday was a great night and one which filled me with energy and enthusiasm.

Until next time,


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