Monday, 21 December 2009

Bielva Bound

Sunday 13th December 2009

Following another successful day at Ham House on Saturday, nine 2nd and 3rd year students Zoe, Hannah, Jennie, Charlotte, Danny, Jess, Hayley, Sem, Sophie have flown with me down to Spain for a week working with Spiral in the small village of Bielva, high in the Cantabrian mountains. We're joining the company for the last week of rehearsal, the culmination of a project that Carol, in particular, has been developing since October. A play written and performed by the villagers themselves. Time seems to have flown since August, when Carol was fleshing out the idea and it's hard to believe just a few short weeks later here we are to see, and to support if we can, the final work.

After a trouble free flight, we're met at the airport in Santander and ferried back to the Nansa valley by the team: Chris, Marta and Carol. Unusually so close to the coast, snow has fallen and the streets are icy, but as we climb in darkness slowly up the mountain road you can sense the beauty of the place. A Casa rural has been found for the students and a huge pot of spaghetti bolognese is rustled up, wine is poured and a fire stoked to welcome them. Spiral have never knowing underfed anybody!

Over dinner we all quickly make friends and Chris briefs us a little on the week ahead. In the mornings we'll carry out our own workshops, contextualising both this project and the purposes using theatre for community engagement in Spain. After siesta we'll head for rehearsals to watch the different threads of the play pull together, ready for the final performance on Saturday. Hopefully the week will also help us to think ahead and generate some ideas for the production work both year groups will take on next semester. The work in Bielva so far has been confined to weekends, but now with us all present and correct it's time to move up a gear. Finally we can eat no more and so stuffed, tired and expectant we fall into bed.

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