In September 2021 we were thrilled to spend a week at Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking, exploring how our different performance practices could inform and shape each other and the work that we want to make together, now and in the future.
Oli is primarily a dancer, singer and musician and I (Dan) work more in ‘traditional’ acting and comedy performance. Our hectic London lives don’t allow us the opportunity to see how our work could intersect – finding spaces to merge, seeing what works, and of equal importance; what doesn’t.
At Hawkwood you find yourself free from the distractions of city living; you can almost feel it lifted from your shoulders as you make your way up the Painswick Old Road. Our days are punctuated by the (delicious) meals which enrich our bodies, souls and ideas, but apart from that we are free. I cannot think of anywhere else, outside of childhood, where we are given such opportunity to play, create, provoke, dissect and explore.
Earlier this year I was very lucky to be awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice (DYCP) grant from Arts Council England. This gave me the ‘permission’ to approach Oli and put in a joint proposal to Hawkwood. We spent the week on an idea we had both been interested in; what can we learn from communal living from the squats in the 1970s, to improve life today? How can we free ourselves from capitalist notions of individualism within the framework of being millennials living in the private rented sector? Big questions to tackle, but a perfect, removed, space to take up the challenge. And how can our own different performance backgrounds marry up to shape our response to this?
While we were at Hawkwood we met other incredible artists from other fields. I know that this is always the case at Hawkwood; strangers are thrown together and become temporary communities. And this definitely happened for us, as we learnt from and laughed with the visual artist Conor McNally and associate Hugh Farrell.
Hawkwood is a special place which incubates and nurtures thought and ideas. It is a sanctuary and safe-space. It is a place to grow and build, and then return to your lives re-energised, re-mobilised and refreshed. We really hope to visit again soon.