Sue Hill is a WILDWORKS founding artist, who was born and educated in Cornwall. She has worked with many companies including Welfare State International, Emergency Exit Arts, Walk the Plank Theatre Ship, and the Royal National Theatre. In 1988 she joined Kneehigh theatre company, serving on their management team from 1994 – 2001 and helping to grow their distinctive style of theatre. From 2000 until 2006 she was Artistic Director for the Eden Project, developing their innovative interpretation strategy, commissioning artists, writers and performers to illuminate Eden’s ideas and messages. With her brother Pete Hill she has made many large-scale carnival images and earth sculptures, including the iconic Mudmaid in the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Imwen Eke is a digital artist, director and creator. With over twelve years immersive theatre and multidisciplinary arts industry experience which include SHUNT, Punchdrunk and residencies with Blast Theory and Bryony Kimmings. Her practice explores social gaming, digital and live interactive performance combined with contemporary narratives that engage new audiences outside of the conventions of traditional theatre. She is a LIFT Artist (London International Festival of Theatre) and creates work through her company New Party Rules. She is currently a resident of Pervasive Media Studios where she is developing “Blk Rooms” a new interactive participatory experience.
Pippa Taylor & Jony Easterby Pippa Taylor is an artist and musician based in mid Wales.A multi instrumentalist playing piano, viola and fiddle. She is also an accomplished woodcarver and painter who has created both public artworks and exhibited internationally. Jony Easterby is an artist, designer, maker, producer, director, performer, a passionate naturalist and plants-man.Using both digital and analogue media, Jony investigates the boundaries between raw elemental materials, sound technology, composition, landscape and architecture.
Kathy Hinde Kathy Hinde’s work grows from a partnership between nature and technology expressed through audio-visual installations and performances that combine sound, sculpture, image and light. Drawing on inspiration from behaviours and phenomena found in the natural world, she creates work that is generative; that evolves; that can be different each time it is experienced. Kathy aims to create work that gives rise to a poetic and reflective experience that enriches an appreciation of the everyday, inviting a heightened awareness of the world around us.
Jane Pitt is an interdisciplinary artist with a particular focus on sound & multi-sensory perception. Making work in response to sites as well as in active participation with the public in public spaces; on land, water and moving vehicles. Sura Medura will allow her to really get to grips, in a way that she wouldn’t at home, with interpreting place through it’s soundscape; exploring how a soundtrack, like a song, can carry and transmit our feeling for that place when played and sung. She is especially interested in connecting with women in the local fishing community.
Anne Milne is an award-winning Scottish filmmaker. Her film María’s Way was nominated for the European Film Award 2010, and won a BAFTA New Talent award as well as playing at numerous international film festivals, and picking up more awards. After being awarded a WorldView Multi Media Grant, she travelled to Nepal to shoot Himalayan Sisters which later won an editing award at the 2011 Underwire Festival. Since then she has been working on a number of commissioned films. Into Deep Space, a short film about the search for exo-planets was shown at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York and Dublin where it was awarded a Special Mention. In recent times she has been producing short documentaries with the Scottish Documentary Institute, the most recent Swan (2016) was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Short film and shortlisted for a Grierson Award. She has also been co-teaching documentary workshops with SDI/British Council in Libya, Pakistan, and Jordan. Anne is currently directing a film, Adventures in Dementia commissioned by STV and produced by Scottish Documentary Institute. It is due to be broadcast in 2019. She is also co-founder of DocKlub.
Jamie Wardrop is a Glasgow based freelance theatre maker and designer. He trained on the BA Acting Course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is self-taught in projection, sound, film, composing and 3d animation, as part of the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival 2019 Jamie created live visuals for Capercaillie, Carlos Núñez and the 20 piece Symphonic Ibiza playing Ibiza dance classics in the McEwan Hall. For the Hogmanay street party, he created a celebratory projection mapped live visuals on to the Bank of Scotland HQ on the mound. Other VJ credits for 2018 include Basement Jaxx, Forth Awards – Usher Hall, Rozalla, Amy MacDonald, Go West and many techno djs as part of his residency at SWG3, Glasgow.
Alice Cooper Alice is an Edinburgh-based theatre maker, actor and clown originally from Sydney, Australia. She makes work for all ages and is passionate about sustainability and making work that has the environment at its heart. Alice’s show, Waves (‘a miniaturist gem’ The Observer) has been presented extensively including to Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Auckland Arts Festival and New Zealand International.
Cocoloco. the discourse. Sura Medura. Blog 11.
The aim was to take people’s attention from thumb scrolling banality to essential artistic experience, albeit an unfashionable one – the book reading on the street. We were looking at the communicative power of acoustic sound and the musical intensity of many languages spoken at the same time. Our thesis was to capture people’s attention for a moment, a ‘street theatre time’ for the purpose of entertainment while the massed action readings provided the performative element. Our readers used English, Sinhalese, Czech, Albanian, Italian and French. The day turned out to be sumptuously beautiful. The chosen venue (a rampart in Galle Fort overlooking the sea) was apposite for the overall look and study of the sound. Dave House recorded the event with high-tech equipment (resulting mix coming soon). We did regret starting a little too early and missing the extraordinary magic hour before sunset over the sea because our drivers were a bit tetchy to get home before dark but it’s a minor quibble. The piece was highly regarded and a huge success from our point of view and from audience reaction. We can’t wait to continue the experiment elsewhere. A short video of the event is available here.
Helen Statman & Dave House
Sudu and Chinthaka
A guest reader
Fabrice Deperrois (reader & plinth art designer)
Neil asked how the reading performance was progressing? We’re looking at various options for plinths. We have nearly all our team (9) standing by (English, Scottish, French, Australian, Italian, Czech but we need Sri Lankans and we’re having trouble finding some. We gave a talk about our work at the Faculty Arts/performance and the students were very reticent to come forward with questions, opinions, anything really…
We thought we might do a performance in the Hikkaduwa Sunday market but there’s not even enough space to scratch one’s arse. We also thought we’d do it by the river where the turtles come in but after two recces we decided against because there were too many truculent Russian tourists.
We decided to do a recce in Galle. Luckily the first Test match was on. We sat for a little while on the Galle fort ramparts to watch for free opposite the Mahinda Rajapaksa pavilion. See if you can spot the ball in this pic. (p.s. England won.)
After fishing around many different sights we have decided to make our performance on the sea wall at the far end of the fort.
Here we can put 8 performers on decorated boxes 20 metres apart reading exuberantly to the sea. Passers-by can stop and listen at will. Watch this space…
We were obsessed by the 1st June, 1981 burning of the Jaffna library by Sinhalese rebels. This biblioclasm destroying about 100,000 rare Tamil texts, it is cited as being one of the trigger points of a horrible 26 year war ending in over 100,000 dead from both sides and a very bad taste in the mouth from the genocide in the last weeks of the war leading to the declaration of victory on 18th May, 2009.
Mission statement in 3 languages.
Our vision in 3 languages.
Thiruvalluvar. Poet born in 2nd century BC. The library saint. Many Tamil people we met said that they had no voice in Sri Lanka.
We are in Sri Lanka in political chaos – chairs and chilli powder throwing in Parliament. (We acknowledge it’s not as horrific as the grenade in 1987).
It has drawn our attention to the cult of personality, mass media propaganda and abuse of power. The idealised, heroic and worshipful image of Rajapaksa has brought us back to Dr YaYa and the desire to make some theatre around these subjects. Dr and Lady YaYa are inspired.
It’s an achingly beautiful place despite the racism, corruption, poverty, slow internet and poor cricket results.
Blog 8. Sura Medura. Jaffna
We were itching to go to Jaffna to research a different culture from our Sinhalese based Hikkaduwa life. We took a train from Colombo on a terrifically rickety track for 9 hours to Jaffna, capital of the Tamil north.
We crossed Ele- phant Pass, the route for the an- cient Probosci- des from India and site of seri- ous battles dur- ing the Tamil Tiger years.
This is the home of the gorgeous Palmyra palm, just as useful (100%) as the coconut palm and way more sexy.
Cows are are beautiful but sometimes need a treatment. Street life can be so wearing on the skin.
Can cows contract botulism from botox injections?
We checked out the Active Theatre Movement in trepidation for the possibility of a Lankan Ar- taudian revolution. Just think – Kathakali/Bollywood/Expressionist theatre… sadly, not a lot going on…
There are 2 long causeways (one new and smooth, the other, rutted and potholed) and a ferry to the Jaffna island, Nagadipa, where there is a Hindu temple and a rare in the north, Buddhist temple. Helen’s left foot flip-flop broke as she alighted the ferry. She walked 100 metres to the temple and there in front of her was an almost new left foot flip flop, just the one and the right (correct) foot… some would say “Miracle!” others “a nice coincidence”.
Nice temple. Ornate. Grand. Colourful. Comical. Comical, historical, tragical, pastoral.
This sort of sums up just about everything…
Exciting times Blog 7
This fisherman travels around 1,200 miles over 3 months to fill his frozen fish fridge. He’s fallen overboard in high seas off Africa and has a theory in which Indian Ocean trench we can find MH370.
We stayed a night with Colombo artists, CoCA Art, Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara. He repairs old amplifiers on the side. Hi Fi! and she’s Head of Visual Art at the British School (long hours, low pay). They live off the road in a gated cul-de-sac. One doesn’t hear noisy Colombo in this haven. They are the most delightful people/artists and they can’t get a visa to come to see us in London because of British travel restrictions…
Chinthaka’s 86 year old father still drives this 1938 Mercedes Benz. 80 years on the road and barely a tuk tuk screatch.
Art in Sri Lanka has many forms. In Galle and Colombo there is a competitive art scene with some heavyweight work at the Biennale. Everywhere else has a distinctly folk art feel. For we smug, first world, flat white society, late modern practitioners it is hard to define artistic worth. We battle with our prejudice, racism, preconceived notions and definitions of objectivity daily…
We also struggle with alien custom like this Puberty Ceremony (pic and name on large photo book withheld). We met a wonderful Tamil family here six years ago. Now, two of the three girls proudly show us their puberty party pics involving complete adultification with visits from parents of boys for the purpose of arranged marriage. We of the atheistic west love the ethnic bizarre yet loathe the rigid religious ritual. One wants to be a doctor, the other, a lawyer. We pray that education and revolution will save these souls in the Hitchens/Dawkins model.
Talk about social mores. What did this poor individual do to deserve this? We thought Catholic Inquisition/hell punishment threats in James Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” was nasty but this Buddhist diorama takes the cake. Wewurukannala Vihara. Dikwella. (not made up).
This architectural dream. This Sura Medura. Quite Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ve been given the Mango room. We lean out on our balcony. We pick a mango. (The above tree is also a mango).
Seems a bit sexist but the Sura Medurian women are on the boat trip on Dodanduwa Lagoon too.
“That’ll teach her for being a bad mother.” Buddhist temple on an island in the lagoon.
Local and international hero, Matteo de Milano. The beard is false.
First weekend workshop with the fabulous Sri Lankan contingent – an Emotional Mapping exercise opened up our creative juice sluice.
We made Constellation Maps of our relationships in many forms….
We found time to play the exciting and competitive Film Game. The above team won.
Cocoloco coconut – Sura Medura blog 5
Performance 1. Sura Medura, 2018. “Coconuts fall only on bad people”
Dr YaYa sat under a coconut palm for a defined time in an attempt to explore the myth abounding in countries renowned for their coconut palms that the tree somehow has knowledge of a person’s moral history – i.e. whether a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person is sitting under it.
As a rationalist, Dr YaYa defied the above mentioned myth by purposefully imagining ‘bad’ thoughts or reliving any ‘bad’ moments in judgment that he might have made during his colourful life. He also hummed “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones. Dr YaYa had agreed with the”coconuts’ management” that in the event of an accident he would not pursue any legal matters arising from this performance.
Dr YaYa had considered the following re – falling coconut mortality.
The coconuts under which Dr YaYa sat had not been ‘cleaned’ i.e. cut and removed at the usual time at Dr YaYa’s request to ensure that the coconuts were ‘loaded and ready to drop’.
The speed of a coconut falling from above 5 metres could be around 50mph.
There are approximately 150 deaths each year from falling coconuts. This is a disputed statistic but the extrapolation from figures in some tropical countries appears to be consistent.
No coconuts fell on Dr YaYa’s head in the allotted time. However, one coconut did fall a week later. No one was harmed.
Do Coconuts fall only on bad people?
Dr YaYa dares nature’s whims
Dr YaYa receives an acolyte
Dr Yaya with a ‘rabbit’ coconut by Fabrice
Sura Medura Blog 4 – a dream in the process of awakening
Imagine one is constructed out of architectural and spatial properties of the site where one finds oneself: the daylight, the lush vegetation, the straight angled perspective, the smooth concrete floor, the flat white surfaces, the booming emptiness, the wooden window frames, the brutalist staircase. A homage to a tropical modernist Geoffrey Bawa masterwork surrounded by wildlife. Functional opulence. Do I mimic my context or am I an extension of it? Is this just a fancy game? No, it is rather a way of understanding oneself in a state of isolation. A form of forced holistic self-reflection. My inner externalization argues that it depends on the acknowledgement that you and I carry our environment within us.
This fantasy projection reverberates while attempting to navigate the traces stretched across remote territories of anticipation and inhibition. Contemplation and mind stretching, intimacy and dislocation, imagination and physical encounter – everything is possible. One could even find one’s elf.
Helen looking for her elf
SM Orientation 3
Nice spread at Chaminda’s place
Orientation 2nd day. Tsunami photo gallery.
The gallery consists of dozens of fading photos with curling edges. It’s a small community Tsunami Museum, aimed at educating and preserving the memories of the 2004 Tsunami. It’s informative and harrowing. And graphic.
Cocoloco – Sura Medura blog Orientation – Day 1
BLOG – SOME REMARKS – THE SRI LANKA TRIP
(3.11.2018, Dubai ARPT)
It’s almost seven o’clock in the morning and me sitting with a cup of coffee at the airport in Dubai waiting for my connection to Colombo feels a bit like a dream. Not only because it’s just 4 am in my home country but also because I didn’t have enough time to get used to the fact that I am actually going to participate in this project until I did really land here.
My sleepy mind is full of thoughts, which circulate around the project itself, its contents, its sense as well as around the idea of all my new colleagues, the new and unknown environment of the country that I am about to spend the next six weeks in, these all mix with the people I left behind, the country and the mondaine reality that occupied my mind until now.
I somehow find it quite useful to examine my current idea of what to project might look like and how it will actually function so that I can store my state of mind for future comparison with the reality of the project as it will develop in the close future.
I am still very hesitant about my part of this whole thing. As I normally work as some kind of catalyst of projects, which is partly the content of my position as a dramaturge, it shows to be quite difficult for me to become more involved in a thing that I do not know how to catalyse yet. Yet I am full of some expectations of the result, which in my fantasies is a site-specific very reactive and seductive piece of art. Theatre that will rise from our direct experience with Sri Lankan spirit, genius loci as well as genius populi so to speak.
But I am also used to be the one who searches for information and helps the director to choose from the materials available for the topic ort he form. Yet here I am also helpless, for I do not know much about the topic yet, neither the form, because those are all things to be discovered during the process of creation.
I find myself in a state of readyness to explore and express my emotions and associations with places and situations that are about to come and to connect them to the others experiences and emotional processes as I have just come back from my psychoanalytical training which will probably very distinctively influence my whole stay in Sri Lanka and my viewpoint on our work.
I am very eager to explore the ways that Sri Lankan people experience their lives, what is important to them and how their worldview is being established. For that I have grown more and more secure in using the exploration of tales, stories and child bringing up. One of my main interest lies in the way mother-father roles establish and work and what it means to be a mother in Sri Lanka, what it means to be a wife, daughter or and also what it means to be an artist. I am aware of the fact that it will be very difficult to explore and understand these concepts in such a short period of time that we have for doing so yet I do believe in the power of art and self-experience that could at less open the door to this problem and maybe even enable us to enter.
Hikkaduwa, 4.11. 14:18
After having had a wonderful evening with my new colleagues and mates I had a wonderful morning swim in the ocean – learning my first lesson: never swim with your sunglasses on, the first wave coming is going to ease you of those. I can relate to this moment also on a symbolic level – I cannot claim all my preconceptions are gone, but I could maybe say that this moment symbolically made me more open and more aware of me being actually here and what it means to me.
I realised that I am about to join this amazing group of people dealing with issues that interest us all, trying to figure out the arguments that we all have for or against some problem. And they are going to be very personal. I now fully feel that this kind of work is what I love but also what is very difficult for me and can even be harmful and I am constantly thinking how do I stay in this personally and emotionally and authentically involved without being harmed or without going to bed with unavoidable thoughts. As if I couldn’t stay in this and out of it at the same time. This ambiguity seems to be a big task for me here. Finding a way to work and to create without being destroyed by it.
And as a matter of fact, the topic we all agreed to explore is boundaries, which perfectly fits my mind set – what kind of boundaries and borders we build? do we protect them? How? Where do these boundaries come from? Wy do we need them? How do they serve us and how do we serve them?
These and many others are the questions to be explicated and “unpacked” to quote one the local artists.
SUN BEACH HOTEL 5.11. 16:46
A PHOTO POEM
Catching drops of ideas,
breaking branches of prejudices,
an owlet moth of direction,
network of concepts.
A portal to the residency.
A wondering brick elephant.
Today’s visit of the residency space was lead by my need to tidy up my ideas which was found in all the wonderful natural as well as human-made artefacts. All the little scene I encountered with turned into abstract tasks which in the following days I shall make more tangible. At the moment I find the idea of being in the state of a wondering elephant very inspiring.
Aneta Fodorová is an emerging dramaturge based in Prague, Czech Republic. Her philosophical and psychoanalytical educational background with the mixture of physical and alternative poetic theatre has lead her to found new theatre company MAREATE, which she runs with her colleague and close friend Lucie Palonciová. Her most recent work as dramaturge includes a collaboration with Czech alternative theatre company Chemical Theatre. The topics that her interests now revolve around are; humanity and aggression, uniqueness, creativity as a medication and most recently the exploration of what the modern hero looks like.
Trained in academic writing, Fodorová has always had passion for creative writing, exploring, subverting the formal narrative. Trained as a dancer at a local art school she then continued her physical performance training with Loco:motion Company, Prague. From the position of a performer she quite consciously moved to the position of dramaturge and script writer.
Fodorová developed her writing skills with the help of Czech actor and director Jan Lepšík. Alongside collaborating with Chemical Theatre and running her new company Fodorová also writes short historical stories for children and teaches psychology.