In October 2016, we took a group of young people to see our production Invisible Army at Macrobert Arts Centre. For most of the group this was their first encounter with theatre. Artistic Director Victoria Beesley tells us more.

“Vickie, you keep saying that there are going to be actors performing when we go to see the show. What do you mean? Are they going to be on a screen?”

“No. It’s live. They’re going to be standing right in front of you.”

“Right in front of us?”

“Yeah.”

“So I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to?”

“Yeah.”

“What?! Seriously?”

“Yeah.”

“Wow!” Mind. Blown.

This is a genuine conversation I had with one of the young carers we had been working with to create Invisible Army. She couldn’t get over the fact that when she went to the theatre the actors were going to be performing live in the same space she was sitting in. She came back to me a couple more times just to check she’d understood me right.

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Thankfully, when she saw the show she was not disappointed. After the show she described the experience:

“It was mind blowing to see all the things we’d imagined actually happening in real life. You know when you have an idea and you see it play out in your head and then when you try and do it it doesn’t work? It was like that but everything did work! It was like every piece of the puzzle was getting joined. It was amazing!”

Phew.

I was lucky enough to be taken to the theatre as a child. It’s why I do my job now. But for a lot of young people going to the theatre isn’t part of their family or community tradition, or it’s too expensive, or it’s too intimidating to cross the threshold of a theatre for the first time. Taking our young carers group to the theatre was a completely brilliant experience. I saw first hand the joy, pride and excitement it evoked in them, I saw how it connected with their lives, their worries, their sense of humour, I saw it validate them and inspire them.

We really want to give more children and young people the opportunity to have this brilliant experience. We’ve launched our Take a Seat… campaign so we can take more children and young people to the theatre in 2018. Our young carers group wanted to send a message to anyone who might be thinking about donating:

“Going to the theatre is really cool. You get to see things you’ve imagined and thought about come to life right in front of your eyes. It’s exciting sitting there. If you can donate, do it. Theatre is so good. It will actually change a child’s life – especially kids who don’t normally get to go, who haven’t had an opportunity like we had.”

So if you can, donate this Christmas and together we can give the gift of a first trip to the theatre to children across Scotland. Visit our Justgiving page for more information.

Merry Christmas!

^VB

Our ‘Take a Seat..’ is about giving children and young people from these groups the opportunity to access the arts and enjoy a professional, high quality, theatre show.  ALL the money we raise will be spent on supporting children and young people to attend My Friend Selma in March 2018.
Terra Incognita is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SC043813).
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This December we’re running our Take a Seat… crowdfunding campaign. We want to raise enough money to take 100 children to the theatre in Spring 2018. Artistic Director Victoria Beesley tells us why.

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Victoria rehearsing My Friend Selma

When I was three I went to see a ballet performance by a local dance school. I climbed onto the stage and started dancing with the ballerinas. I’d just started ballet classes so I figured it was allowed. When I was five I went to see an amateur production of Grease. One of the performers pulled a mooney; I talked about his bottom for weeks. When I was nine I went to see Peter Pan at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. There was a rotating stage and a giant ball pool. It was magical. I can still see the stage and feel my sense of awe and excitement.

We want to offer 100 children the opportunity to experience the joy, magic and excitement of theatre that I felt all those years ago. We work with lots of children who, due to financial, logistical and cultural barriers, don’t get to go to theatre. Our Take a Seat… campaign is about removing these barriers. By working with local community groups, purchasing tickets and providing transport to venues, we saying to these young people, ‘Take a seat. This is for you. You’re welcome here.’

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Audience at a community venue performance of My Friend Selma

We’ll be bringing these young people to see our production My Friend Selma. In March 2018, we’re taking the show on the road for the fifth time. It’s the tale of a girl, a world turned upside down, a remarkable journey, loss, friendship, courage and conkers. It’s proved to be a hit with audiences so far and we’re hoping it can leave a lasting impression on the children benefiting from the Take a Seat… campaign.

“I would give this show 280,00,00 out of five.” – Erin, age 9

“The most amazing story I’ve ever heard.” – Georgia, age 10

So this Christmas, we’d love it if you could pull an extra £7 from your pocket and contribute to our Justgiving fundraising campaign. You’ll be buying a ticket and spreading a little bit of theatre magic.

Thanks very much.

VB

Visit our fundraising page at Justgiving and donate today.

Terra Incognita is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. (SC043813)

Our final group blog post is from Ceramicist Jen Smith who worked with The Women’s Creative Company.  If you missed the chance to view their work at South Block then read on for a teaser of where to see it next! 

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As a ceramicist, I usually start a piece of work with a clear image in my mind of what it will be, right down the curve of a handle or the flashes of colour across the surface; this project was entirely different and liberatingly so.

Coming into an established group as welcoming, enthusiastic,  and outspoken as the Women’s Creative Company has been a total joy. It was clear very early on from our discussions and clay maquettes that there were several ideas that we wanted to communicate through our statue so talk turned to the best methods of using all of these sources without confusing our message.

I proposed a collaged surface which allows separate images to find new context through placement and association. We workshopped ideas by making test collages and reflected on how the meanings developed in ways we could use on our statue.

Through this organic method of working we found a shared voice and it became clear to have a woman in a wheelchair who represents every woman. Her feet are her roots with historical imagery of slavery and the suffrage movement, the plants and leaves growing there are wilting and stifled.

Her torso is collaged with photos of the many women who deserve statues in Glasgow surrounded with blooming flowers, their names embroidered alongside them – a nod to the textile industry in the Merchant City and to ‘women’s work’.

Her face lists the many professions and achievements of the women she represents alongside common derogatory words women often have to endure on their way to those respected positions. Her face is purposefully looking to somewhere in the distance, an acknowledgment that there is still somewhere more to go.

It is a celebration of what women have achieved and have yet to achieve; as colourful, glorious and diverse as the wonderful women who helped to make her.

Our statue will also be used as part of the Merchant City Festival performance by A Moment’s Peace Theatre working with Terra Inconita Arts so you can get a closer look there!

Jen

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Date & Times for Hidden Footprints at Merchant City Festival

  • SAT 29 JUL 201712.00PM – 1.00PM
  • SAT 29 JUL 20172.30PM – 3.30PM
  • SAT 29 JUL 20174.30PM – 5.30PM
  • SUN 30 JUL 201712.00PM – 1.00PM
  • SUN 30 JUL 20172.30PM – 3.30PM
  • SUN 30 JUL 20174.30PM – 5.30PM

We return to Govan Community Project this week to hear from Artist and Illustrator Alice Dansey Wright.  She fills us in on the progress the group have made in such a short space of time!  

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Rosie and I have been working with two groups within Govan Community Project- the Homework Group for kids on a Monday night and the Men’s Group on a Friday night. Both groups meet in the community flat in Cardonald, which is a normal flat that has been converted in to a series of community rooms and a kitchen. The Men’s group meet to play football, make new friends and eat a meal together. The group has a facilitator who is helped by two local volunteers- a university student and an S5 pupil.

Over the course of two 2-hour workshops with the men’s group we met four men in addition to the facilitator and volunteers. The men keep in touch using a WhatsApp group and the atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly, centered around the preparing, cooking and sharing of a meal (which Rosie and I were lucky enough to get a plate of too). Due to the relaxed atmosphere, slower pace and language ability of the group we were able to introduce the project in a more developed way which started with us discussing images and information about a series of existing Glasgow statues.

IMG_3342The men shared their insights and knowledge about Glasgow and overall were in agreement that representation of different cultures in public sculpture is important, alongside information about Glasgow’s industrial past such as the ship building trade. We also discussed protest, rebellion and activism – looking at the rallies, talks and gatherings around George Square and La Pasionaria, the statue of communist politician Dolores Ibarruri which commemorates the 534 British volunteers who joined the fight against Franco’s regime in the Spanish Civil War. The slogan ‘People Make Glasgow’ was brought up as one of the men had seen it all over the city and didn’t understand what it was for/what it meant. After discussing this we felt that the slogan reflected our ideas for the As I See It project well.

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The men were invited to develop a series of symbols that represented them as well as symbols that could represent Glasgow (which was a slight development on what we did with the Homework group). Despite some protestations about not being able to draw all of the group produced interesting drawings that were subsequently turned in to blocks and symbols for the statue making activity.

On the 2nd of June we held our big workshop/making day at Kinning Park Complex. Along with volunteers and staff from GCP both the men’s group and the kids from the Homework Group came together to collaboratively block print and paint a selection of t-shirts and a large piece of fabric which will be turned into our statue.

Alice

As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.

It’s time to hear from Charlotte Duffy Scott – a cardboard artist who has been working with a group of visually impaired adults who meet regularly as part of the wider As I See It project.  Lets see what they have been up to!

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Working with the As I See It group challenged the way I thought about not just the act of making but the role and responsibility public art has to be truly accessible to everyone in the public. Sight still is the most depended upon sense when it comes to experiencing and consuming a lot of art; statues, paintings, sculptures, video installation – so much of it relies on a foundation of seeing what’s there in front of you but also the presumption that every one who looks at it will be able to see it in the same way as the artist did. We class so much as ‘visual art’ with little thought as to what means to those who are visually impaired.

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The piece we have created is collaborative in a way that I didn’t know was possible, the entire process has been an act of sharing and borrowing skills, views, experiences and opinions from one another in order to create something that, hopefully, can be appreciated through sound, or through touch, or through far away sight or close up sight. In each different way that it can be experienced a different story is told but with a shared foundation in expressing a different point of view.

IMG_20170503_151740Emmanuel has made the most intricate model of a plane. It is small but incredibly detailed and the viewer can see through the windows to the rows of tiny chairs inside, the propellers even spin when you blow on them.  My hands made this piece however it is entirely Emmanuel’s – each week he has described to me every single element he envisions from how many wheels it should have to the specific wingspan it needed. He drew imaginary lines with his fingers for where every cut and every join had to be. He told me off when it felt as though I hadn’t done exactly hat he had asked. We’ve made something together but he is the artist and I was a tool to achieve the image he had in his head.

On first meeting this group all told me of how they’d never made anything out of cardboard before and I replied that we were in the same boat because I’d never made anything without relying on my sight so we could learn together and make our own ways of doing things and representing things. And we truly have.

Charlotte

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As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.

This week’s blog is from Artist & Illustrator Rosemary Cunningham.  Rosemary is working with our Artistic Director Victoria Beesley to create a statue with young carers from Glasgow South West Carers Centre. 

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Six weeks isn’t a long time to create a new statue for Glasgow, especially with young people who have so many ideas and energy! Every session begins with drama exercises which Vickie leads, it warms everyone up and breaks down some of the shyness we begin with each week.

The whole process of the statue grew from the idea of heroes. Who are they? What do they look like? What are the things that make them special? In week one we built our own heroes from paper. In week two we began to identify certain traits that we wanted our own statue to have:

Powerful

Love

Safe

Interactive

Fun

Inspirational

Unique

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Using mind mapping to eke out initial thoughts and ideas, we used drawing as a way of communicating ideas and concepts and certain themes began to emerge; heart shapes, stars, pets, nature, hugging arms. A major turning point was the idea that everyone is a hero in their own way, so the statue has to be for everyone. We played with enjoyably messy materials like bouncy foam, using it to make large scale silly models that were fun to play with. Our job became trying to work out how to encourage people to empathise with us and interact with our heroic words – so it became an igloo (unique in Glasgow)! Outside, a hard shell for protection (powerful and safe) and inside, a soft, (fun) bouncy world with activities and diversions (interactive, inspirational). The idea is that anyone inside the cocoon is escaping the stressful world and getting a virtual hug from the interior (love).

By week 5 we were making our own igloo structures from card and decorating them to fit our needs. By amalgamating the ideas that emerged – which were already converging – our cocoon was beginning to take shape. It will be an eight-sided natural wood structure with a sunshine roof, with cushions, grass and a space to explore and feel rested inside. In this last week I have been trying to make the structure itself so that I can bring it to them for decorating and final ideas. I’m so excited that it’s taken shape so quickly and clearly for them and I’m keen that the final outcome is as much their work as possible. Using birch plywood – and getting in some extra design help from Hamish Bigg – we’re cutting the wood and hopefully it will slot together easily and it can stand up as a hero for anyone feeling stressed.

Rosemary

As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.

This week’s blog is from Drama Artist Rosie Reid.  Roise is working with Artist and Illustrator Alice Dansey Wright to create a statue with refugees in Govan.  Over to Rosie….

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Girls having fun at the Homework club with paint!

We have been invited into the Homework Club at the Govan Community Project as part of Terra Incognita’s project As I See It: Missing Statues. The Homework Club takes place from 4pm-6pmevery Monday and Wednesday at a ground floor flat, where most of the young residents of the block come down to help one another with their homework. There is lots of peer learning and activities going on and when we first arrived, Alice and I were swept away by the energy and community spirit within the club. 

We have been asking the young people a lot of questions, like what represents you? What are your ingredients? What makes you who you are? Through printmaking we have been creating our own symbols that represent who we are and what we care about. The group have been enjoying getting their hands dirty and pretending to be statues. The next time we meet we will be making our statue together. Creating an umbrella for which all of our symbols and all of our identities will be brought together.

Rosie

As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.