We're into the last leg before Christmas now and are beginning to turn our thoughts to 2010. I've been to a couple of meetings with Ham House to begin to put in plans for their 400th birthday party on May 15th. It looks as if we're going for a large scale participatory event - perhaps involving up to 3,000 people. At the centre of the event would be a communal singing of anthems, backed by local choirs. Our job will be to organise and host the event. Provide the pre and post-show entertainment and ensure everything is done safely. In my head it's just going to be about having fun and really enjoying what is a very, very special place.
I've also managed to catch up with Stef O'Driscoll and start putting in place some early plans for a research trip to Bosnia in February as preparation for a production of Miljenko Jerkovic's Sarajevo Marlbro short stories, which we want to create probably next Summer. We've made contact with some theatre directors in the capital and hopefully can look to shape up work for one of the city's annual theatre festivals.
Matt, Trevor and I also had a meeting with Laura who works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She's been given some money by the Bill Gates foundation to develop a Theatre in Education project around Malaria in the Cameroon. The money is substantial, but the focus seems - as perhaps is inevitable from a medical perspective - to be on cure rather than prevention. The missing link for us is to consider the issue from the position of the victims or potential victims. What are the obstacles, including the emotional obstacles, that stop effective immunisation? Doctors, chemists and researchers are fantastic at developing the drugs and calculating how to eliminate the disease. What storytellers and play makers are equally wonderful at is revealing, through narrative, the psychological and socio-economic contradictions that mark the experience of living in the wake and fear of the disease. Laura's going to come back to us in the new year with a proposal. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.