Early morning trip up to Hackney with Tina, Paul and the Level 2 Applied Theatre students for their first look round Sutton House. Naomi met us and again gave a lot of time to explore and look round. It's going to be an interesting challenge trying to put the show in here and already logistics are become the primary concern.
There are two spaces large enough to house full company and audience. The charming central courtyard which is overlooked by every room of the house an provides a trapped oasis of calm away from the busy traffic on Homerton High Street and the fairly soulless Wenlock Barn, purpose built for performances - but the only place in the house to which the students didn't warm. Other spaces are perfect for intimate storytelling and shared experience but need careful management to enable accessibility and flow. An early plan might be to divide the stories, the space and the audience into three and then carousel round on a twenty minute cycle with business written to manage crossovers back in on of the larger spaces. It would mean everybody saw everything, but not necessarily in the same order. We could then just focus on three stories. The Knight's, the Miller's and The Wife of Bath's? Timing would be vital and we'd have to be great at improvising to fill in the inevitable gaps - but I can see a rough shape.
The students seemed very enthusiastic about the place and got on brilliantly with the National Trust staff. I can feel a really productive relationship building.
Afterwards we wandered down Mare Street to visit Artburst - a business set up by Amy, Tina's niece, which has one a hatful of awards for providing innovative arts and drama based projects in the East End and beyond. Amy and her colleague Penny have grafted for five years to make the company economically viable and generously spent the best part of an hour talking to the team about how to make a small business work. It was inspiring and invaluable advice.